Posts made in September, 2013

Sinning in my Anger

Posted by on Sep 30, 2013 in Faith, Hope, and Love

In his letter to the Ephesians (4:26), Paul admonishes his Christian brethren as follows: “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger.”

Recently, this is one of my greatest consistent failures as a follower of Christ. Paul is very clear that anger in and of itself is not wrong; in fact, certain instances should stir our anger. We should be angry at injustice, at our own sin, and at the devil’s working contempt into humanity for its own creator. These realities should anger us.

But then we should have patience. Gentleness. Meekness. Self-control. Kindness. Goodness. We should bear with one another, forgiving each other. Constantly. Consistently. Earnestly. This is the response to which we are called.

“Be angry and do not sin.” But I do. Oh how I do. Wrath, slander, malice, yes, even obscene talk pour from me, defiling me, in my righteous anger, despite the fact that I have Colossians 3 etched on my heart, and I know it specifically states that these things ought not be a part of the Christian’s behavior.

I am loathe to admit this, but I can do nothing else. How I sin in my anger. Sometimes with the aforementioned displays of malcontentedness, other times with the whispered slight or thoughtless contempt-ladened jeer.

It’s a strange thing to your sin so well, even as you seek to overcome it. I feel my blood boil, and I think, “be angry and do not sin…bear with another, forgiving each other. Just as the Lord forgave you so you also must forgive. Let the peace of Christ rule in your heart…be kind, one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, even as the Lord for Christ’s sake has forgiven you. You must put these away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.” And as the verses meld and resound in the passages of my mind, I so often, all too often, hold to that which is evil, and fail to grasp what is good.

I bring all this up because that’s how living life loving Christ looks. We go day-to-day, defeating one sin and storing up verses in our heart, even as another sin burrows into our soul and those same verses come to our aid. We brandish them as a sword not against the world but our own broken hearts. It is a war within us, that is against ourselves, our old selves, our selves without Christ.

I have no real admonition to you tonight. I have no advice. Tonight I come, in earnest, to confess that I have fallen to sinning in my anger, and I am in need of our Savior’s tender renewal, and his Spirit’s calming breath.

I wonder if any of you need it also. I wonder if I was finally led to type this post because one of you reading it sees yourself in my plight. I am praying for you. Be encouraged. Conviction is the evidence of the Spirit’s voice being heard, of your openness to his restorative grace. Listen. Accept. Confess. Repent. I’m right there with you, before the throne of grace on my knees, needing my Savior.

I hope that this post in some way encouraged you, if in no other way to assure you, that you are not the only sinner of your kind. We are all led to seeking forgiveness and healing, again and again and again. My hope is that the Spirit will work in my heart, so that I offer it to others also.

C

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Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Inclusion of this translation does not imply endorsement of this author’s thoughts by the copyright holders. 

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Satellite Kite: A Recommendation

Posted by on Sep 27, 2013 in Reviews & Recommendations

Approximately one year ago, I discovered a link to Beautiful Euloogy’s debut album, Satellite Kite, by happenstance. I have no idea how I found it, and I would not have gotten it were it not free.

How fortunate I was on both counts.

Beautiful Eulogy is a group formed of various artists from Humble Beast Records, and while each individual in the band has his own style, the union of the three musicians creates a wholly new and greater result. I’m not aware of the relationship dynamics of the members nor of their history with music or one another, but I know that together, the members produced a very well produced, interesting album containing a multitude of enjoyable tracks as well as some great food for thought.

Their songs range from the fun and loose “Take it Easy” to the solemn “Anchor” with a diverse mix of instrumentals and experimental cuts in between these. I keep returning to their album and select tracks constantly, albeit at different times and for different reasons, but the message and the music resonate with me. I guessing it may do the same for some of you (at least those into the rap-hip-hop-electronics-hous-trance-dance-pop-instrumental scene).

Check out one of their recording sessions in the below video, as it will give you a flavor of their work.

Now that you too are convinced of their skill and virtue, here are your options to acquire Beautiful Eulogy’s first album:

Download the Album for free on Noisetrade

OR BUY IT AT AMAZON

Because I’m nice, I’m also gonna share this vid from Satellite Kite:

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Brain Drain and Missing a Beat

Posted by on Sep 25, 2013 in Writer's Diary

I have a confession to make. My writing has suffered greatly since taking my job. I just don’t have the brain-power to dedicate to the craft. I try to spend 30-50 minutes on it at lunch, 4 days a week, plus a day on the weekend or an evening when I get it, but really, if I’m honest, I have been slacking. My brain just doesn’t seem to have the capacity. At least not at the keyboard. I can sit in front of a piece of paper and go-go-go with notes-upon-copious-notes on this outline, these characters, or that idea, but sitting at the keyboard and doing the work, well, let’s just say that the bulk of that brainpower is going straight to the blog.

I’m tired. I know it. I’m tired, and it takes a toll on me to keep plugging away at, well, whatever. I’m just spent by the time I try to dedicate time to the craft. Even as I type this, I can feel my eyes getting heavy and my mind fading, reaching for things in the background to distract it, trying to go lax on its pumping out new ideas.

And still I’m here, my fingers dancing across the dimly lit alphabet, as my eyes watch words of black find a home against a white wall, proving to me that I’m still doing it. I haven’t quit. Not yet. There’s hope in that. Hope, and a desperate exhaustion. Even now, I feel like I am reaching for sentences just to bulk up this post.

And that “dancing” my fingers are doing. It’s not Fred Astaire. No. It’s more like last-man-swaying-at-the-end-of-the-wedding-reception, the type of dancing performed by a person whose body says stop but their heart keeps their limbs limping, not in a great rhythm but enough of one to feel like the music hasn’t stopped. And I will tell you this–he’s enjoying himself, even if he’s ready to stumble back to his chair and take a nap. He’s still trying to catch himself from falling or giving into slumber, just for one more song. One more.

Here’s hoping that as I get over the initial 90-day learning curve my brain starts to get some of its power back. I have my doubts, but we’ll all see how things pan out come November when NaNoWriMo starts. That’s gonna be a doozy.

Thanks for hanging in with me despite my incoherent and exhausted ramblings these days. I know Monday was specifically free and loose, but I dug it. Will try to keep pace with the blog schedule and keep ’em coming.
C

 

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Imagining the End as the Beginning

Posted by on Sep 23, 2013 in Faith, Hope, and Love

Can you imagine it? Arriving in heaven. When the day comes, and our broken eyes with their dim sight cease to look upon a damaged world but rather unimagined beauty, a reality beyond our present reckoning.

I have.
I have.

I imagine it will feel like present waking. The few moments when consciousness grows and casts aside the wistful happenings of our vivid dreams. Of course, our lives will be the fading thing–our regrets, our pain, and our disappointments.  A life’s worth of hurt will be washed away by a flood of new reality.

And then I’ll see Him.

Him.

The one to whom I called in the darkness. The one to whom I owe my life. The one to whom I’ve come to rest. He’ll invite me to sit on a bench of stone amidst a garden of cloud and wonder. He’ll smile at me to assure me it’s real. It’s truly happened. I’ve arrived. I’m alive, about to begin an eternal journey, one for which I was destined since before time began.

But before I leap into my new life unending, he bids me come to sit and speak.

I have no words. I have no lips. I need neither. My soul speaks freely by an unknown means. Without the confines of language and caution, I communicate unbound. Tears–in whatever form they take–flow in rapturous joy and unrestrained worship.

In truth, I cannot believe I’m here. I cannot fathom that the time has come. It seemed long–the wait til now, yet I cannot remember the stuff of it, just the longing finally met, the satisfaction of “well done”.

I must be standing. He bids me sit. And when I do, he touches me, however souls make contact there. It’s a gesture of welcome and further assurance, blessed assurance, Jesus is mine. And so had he has been for many years, though I failed so oft to love him well. He stood beside, remaining long, abiding while I looked away or sidestepped right or left his side. He remained, ever true. Never failing, ever sure.

And I now I’m here. No sin to chide me, to pull me hither or entice.

Tis he and I alone for a time, before We join his Holy host. All I can think to say is “sorry”, to beg forgiveness for crimes forgotten, to seek absolution I’ve already received. He stops me quickly, rebukes me gently, no longer need I bear such thoughts. My faith was sure. My hope is secured. One end has come but borne a bright new beginning.
Then I will break in a new sort of way, when the truth of his presence finally strikes to the full. And I fall to my knees, no thought beyond gratitude, no expression beyond thanks and thanks again and still more.

Millennia pass as this outpouring comes, a surging flood of all I have–my longing, my praise, and all my love. And when I pause–but for an instant–a voice speaks gently into me, and I know it is time for the glorious journey, for my life to appear as it been held in waiting, ever-sinless, restored in full.

The gates beyond the garden open; widely swing the doors of grace. I pass through them to infinite pleasures, seeing glory all my days…
Can you imagine it? 

I have. 

Do you ever try? Why not? Give yourself a moment to be captivated by hope, then live life with the knowledge something far greater is coming–something beyond finite imagination. Something divine, without hindrance or barrier. Something so pure it cannot be known now. 
 
That is future for those in Christ. That is the truth for those in his hands. And that is the reason to live well and love better, because all that is coming will surpass all that’s been.
 
May The Lord see you all to His side, in his kingdom, and for his glory, 
 
Amen.
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The Man with The Money Glasses

Posted by on Sep 20, 2013 in RandoMusings

He stepped onto the bus with a stilted swagger–not the kind that’s truly felt but the kind that wants to be felt, the kind of swagger that says, “Check me out, I’m something” (which ironically is the opposite of real swagger). He was short and thin but tried to look larger by wearing an oversized shirt and low-hanging shorts. The youth was clearly ready to face the day. His bag and his bus fare were ready when we stopped, and he entered with a skip in his step.

None of this, however, would have been unique–many men, myself include, have strut our thinly-disguised sense of insecurity with such lying body language and dress (for guys with my build, it’s wearing a shirt one size too small to make your muscles look bulging). No, the main feature of this rider were his specialized. Mainly because they weren’t really.

He wore a pair of novelty glasses with large, opaque faux-holographic dollar signs for the lenses, like one might see someone wear in a music video or to some party as a joke. How he saw beyond them I can only guess, by looking either above or below the s-shaped slope, I suppose. But that didn’t matter, for he didn’t want to see past them anyway.

I learned this when the bus driver asked him about them, “Got the dollar shades on today, huh?”
“That’s right,” the rider said. “gotta keep my eyes on my money and not on those fools.”
“I know that’s right.”

The man in the eyewear continued past me and made his way further back on the bus, and while his back was turned the driver rose and shook his head about the recent encounter (all the while wearing a smirk on his face). I heard the man in the shades speak loudly about something, but I didn’t look back or try to decipher it.

I just thought about the great irony I’d witnessed, and how immensely human it was. Yep, keep your eye on your money at the cost of seeing everything else, especially “those fools” whoever they may be. And frankly, it’s not the man himself for whom I felt saddened but for all of us who looked at him with contempt, all the while being a living example of his unintended statement, so focused on our jobs and careers at the expense of our lives happening away from our offices, or our checking Facebook and Twitter for comments and feedback even while real human beings are sitting on the bus beside us. After a few moments of reflection, I almost felt more embarrassed for myself than the man. Funny how that works.

I kinda love when real-life events play out like a short story. Makes the commute interesting and gives something about which to write before the weekend, but more than that it reminds that Lord is always telling stories, some less subtle than others but all steeped in truth. He’s creative like that.

Thanks for reading and have a good one,
C

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