Posts Tagged ‘Christianity’

Thankful

Posted: November 24, 2011 in Deep Thoughts
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According to my “Webster’s Third New International Dictionary”, the very definition of “thankful” is:

‘not expressing or feeling gratitude’

My bad, that’s thankless. Ah, here we are!

‘conscious of benefit received and kindly disposed toward the benefactor’

Much better. Although it’s hard to wade through that. So let’s examine this, eh?

“Conscious of benefit.” Conscious meaning aware of, benefit meaning something good happening. So we can take this to mean that when one is thankful, they are aware of good stuff happening. The next word being received, we can take this to mean that being thankful means that one is aware of good stuff happening to themselves.

“Kindly disposed toward the benefactor.”

I take this to mean that not only should one be aware of the good stuff happening to them, but also of a pleasant manner towards the one causing the good stuff to happen to them.

My benefactor is God.

He is the one who has strengthened me through times of trial, through times of loneliness, pain, and fear. The benefit He has given me has been His Word, and the God-breathed truth inside of it.

And what is my response?

Well, I should be thankful. But the issue at hand is that I’m not always conscious of the benefit my benefactor has given me. There are definitely times in which I realize, “WOW. That was totally God answering prayer,” or, “WOW. God really knows what He’s doing, eh?” or whatever the circumstances. But not always do I realize this, and in fact all of us are prone to boast in ourselves, focusing on what we’ve done throughout the year, what we’ve accomplised all by ourselves, because boy, I am really able to do that on my own!

Newsflash: Nope.

God’s the One who keeps me breathing. God’s the One who keeps those electrical impulses in my brain sparking. God’s the One who keeps my heart pumping oxygen-rich blood to the various organs of my body, without which I would fall over and be dead before I hit the ground.

So what am I thankful for this Thanksgiving?

Life. The fact that God actually has decided to make us. The wonderful curiosities He built into us, and all the crazy creatures that He planted in their own special spots. Bees. As much as I don’t like ’em, they keep our flowers pollinated. Without ’em (they don’t even deserve a full “them”), you can just forget about roses, petunias, carnations, tulips, daffodils, sunflowers, etc. God knew that, and from those flowers the bees create a wonderful sweet and sticky substance known as honey. He knew that too.

And then after Creation, came the fall of humanity. Sinful natured all.

Years after, untold years after, there came a man from Nazareth. He wasn’t really accepted there. He had some quite radical ideas.

He was no ordinary man. Fully man, and fully God, Jesus Christ came down from heaven on high to sacrifice Himself for humanity, to appease the Lord one final time. To defeat sin, upon the cross.

Make that two things that I’m thankful for.

And yes, there’s more. I am also thankful for my family, without whom I would be lost and confused, and my wonderful friends, without whom I would be lonely and bored. Yeah, you! That’s right! Stand up, take a bow, give yourself a hand!

Happy Thanksgiving all. Rest in the comfort of our Lord.

So, summer is slowly drawing to a close. As I did last year, I like to write about what has happened to me personally during this summer. I was struck with the idea that there are certain songs that I listen to that were describing me and my attitude towards everything during certain highlights (and lowlights) of the summer. So enjoy listening to this interactive and retrospective 3 month journey. All lyrics are provided. And it will be quite obvious to you by the end, what musician I really like.

It begins at the very end of the school year, when I received some absolutely crushing news.

I can still see the light/at the end of the tunnel shine/through the dark times/even when I lose my mind

But it feels like no one/in the world is listening/and I can’t ever seem/to make the right decisions

I walk around in the same haze/I’m still caught in my same ways/I’m losing time in these strange days/but somehow I always know/the right things to say

I don’t know what time it is/or who’s the one to blame for this/Do I believe what I can’t see/And how do you know/which way the wind blows

Cause I can feel it all around/I’m lost between the sound/And just when I think/I know, there she goes

[Chorus]
Goodbye for now/Goodbye for now/So long

Goodbye for now (I’m not the type to say I told you so)/Goodbye for now/So long (I think the hardest part of holding on is letting it go)

When will we sing/A new song/A new song

We’re still smilin’ as the day goes by/and how come nobody/ever knows the reasons why/Bury you deep so far/you can’t see

If you’re like me/who wears a broken/heart on your sleeve

Pains and struggles that/you know so well/Either time don’t/It can’t or it just won’t tell

I’m not the type to say/I told you so/I think the hardest part/of holding on is letting it go

I don’t know what time it is/or who’s the one to blame for this/Do I believe what I can’t see/And how do you know/which way the wind blows

Cause I can feel it all around/I’m lost between the sound/And just when I think I know/there she goes

Goodbye for now/Goodbye for now/So long

Goodbye for now (I’m not the type to say I told you so)/Goodbye for now/So long (I think the hardest part of holding on is letting it go)

[Repeat]
When will we sing/A new song/A new song

And you can sing until/there’s no song left (song left)/And I can scream until/the world goes deaf (goes deaf)

For every other word/left unsaid you should/have took the time to/read the sign and/see what it meant

In some ways everybody/feels alone so if the/burden is mine then/I can carry my own

If joy really comes/in the morning time/then I’m gonna sit back/and wait until the/next sunrise…(fade)

Goodbye for now/Goodbye for now/So long

Goodbye for now (I’m no the type to say I told you so)/Goodbye for now/So long (I think the hardest part of holding on is letting it go)

[Repeat 3x]
When will we sing/A new song/A new song

When will we sing (When will we sing)/A new song/A new song

(Away)
[Repeat 3x]
(I runaway)

For a few days, this news saw me shaken and unsure of what to do. Literally, I was walking dead. Shocked and broken, I could barely exist. I looked forward to night, as sleep would bring me a comforting 8-10 hours of refuge from my pain.

This is a live version of “The Way Home”, a song by Neal Morse.

Running from a destiny I wasn’t sure was mine/I chose a life of obscurity and I left my dreams behind/I traded my ambitions for the safe and simple life/But lately I feel far away and inside I feel like

I Can’t find my way home/Can’t find my way home/And if I stay here too long now/I may never find that place where I feel like I belong/Can’t find my way home

Seeking out fulfillment in a tiny plastic jar/There isn’t much to go around when you don’t know who you are/And I know that I’m a child of God but He seems so far away/And it doesn’t seem to help me much when I kneel down to pray

Can’t find my way home/Can’t find my way home/And if I stay here too long now/I may never find that place where I feel like I belong/I know that when I find it I’ll have known it all along/I feel like a dark cold night that’s reaching for the dawn

Can’t find my way home/Show me the way home/Cause if I stay here too long now/I may never find that place where I feel like I belong/Show me the way home/Show me the way home/Lord show me the way home/I know somehow I’ll find that place where I feel like I belong/Show me the way home

My outlook lifted a bit, although I was still quite disturbed and quite afraid of the future.

It’s hard to have strength when there’s nothing to eat/And it’s hard to eat when you don’t have the teeth/And how, when you lose the one thing you love/There’s nothing below and there’s nothing above.

Well I’ve been going through changes/I’ve been going through changes/I’ve been going through changes/With nothing at all.

It’s hard to accept what you don’t understand/And it’s hard to launch without knowing how to land/And how, when it burns, you can’t change a thing/You can soften the blow, but you can’t stop the sting

And I’ve been going through changes/I’ve been going through changes/I’ve been going through changes/With nothing at all/With nothing at all/With nothing at all

Well I am still yours even if you’re not mine/I stare at the floor and I study the lines/I took my place in the back of the crowd/Baby I couldn’t see, but at least it was loud./At least it was loud.

And I’ve been going through changes/I’ve been going through changes/I’ve been going through changes/And I know that I needed changes/But not this, cause this is not painless/No, this is not painless

With nothing at all

I was still very much hanging in the balance. It was like walking a tightrope, easily slipping into despair at times, but putting on a brave face and “Chin up, chest out!” This song really describes that period and the final realization of my double face.

I’ve got to climb to the top/Never stop til I reach it/Til I feel that I’m good and that I’m in control/Of life and my thought/When I’m not I still preach it/Cause they’re all gonna see if I start to fall or lose control/I’m losing control of this

I’ve been balancing on suspended pianos/And trying to appear composed/It makes the loudest noise when they begin to crash/With eyes on me I force a laugh/You come to me and set me free

Cross my arms across my chest/This is not a gift I can accept/But I appreciate the sentiment/I worked too hard for righteousness/To just lay down while You hand me this/And put my faith in something You call grace/From You

I’ve been lost inside a cave without a lantern/At every sound I start to run/Feel my way around the dark without a pattern/If I would wait You’d come/To rescue me and show the way

Cross my arms across my chest/This is not a gift I can accept/But I appreciate the sentiment/I worked too hard for righteousness/To just lay down while You hand me this/And put my faith in something You call grace/From You

Son, you’re trying to earn/What is far beyond you/Son, you’re trying to earn/What is freely given Every time that you try to just reduce/This to a give and take/You spit in my face/And tell Me that this blood was shed in vain

After that, my outlook lifted. I took a hard look at how I was going through the motions of the day and life and decided to dismantle and repair, as this song goes. (Lyrics in the video)

I really recognized how God is my strength, my sword, and my shield. How life can change in the blink of an eye, or with a few words your world can be turned upside down.

Life like a razor can shave you clean/Or it cuts in a moment and leaves you to bleed/And in fear you have settled for what you have found/You’re safe, you’re comfortable, but you’re stuck on the ground

Fly high, fly straight through the open sky/Give up everything you have for what you could never buy/It’s time, if you seek you can’t help but find/What you give up you’ll gain, you will be lifted high

What is holding you, is holding you down/You might have to take off that rock-and-roll crown/But what you think is your identity is not really you/Let it go keep breaking till we break on through

And fly high, fly straight through the open sky/Give up everything you have for what you could never buy/It’s time, if you seek you can’t help but find/What you give up you’ll gain, Jesus will lift you high/Fly high

Fly high, fly straight through the open sky/Give up everything you know for what you could never buy/It’s time, if you seek you can’t help but find/And what you give up you’ll gain, Jesus will lift you high

Fly high, fly straight through the open sky/Give up everything that you have for what you could never buy/It’s time, if you seek you can’t help but find/Just give it all up and you’ll gain, Jesus will lift you high/Fly high/Fly high

MADE ALIVE AGAIN:

From a world that’s never ending/From a sky beyond the skies/A child is born/And love is made alive

Like a flaw that seeks perfection/With a will that will survive/A child is born/And love is made alive

WIND AT MY BACK

And you are the wind at my back/You give what I lack/You’re the jewel in my hand/You’re like rain, you’re like rain/You’re like rain now

And my soul has been kissed/Just because you exist/You’re the gold that is free/You’re the groom on one knee

You’re the wind at my back/You give what I lack/You’re the jewel in my hand/You’re like rain on dry land

You’re the focus the beam/You’re realities dream/You’re the blue in my black/You’re the wind at my back

You are the wind at my back/You give what I lack/You’re the jewel in my hand/You’re like rain on dry land

You’re the flow that I feel/The illusion so real/You’re the ocean the tide/You’re the door open wide

And my soul has been kissed/Just because you exist/You’re the gold that is free/You’re the groom on one knee

You’re the focus the beam/You’re realities dream/You’re the blue in my black/You’re the wind at my back

You’re the wish that I make/You’re the prize I might take/You’re the dream that’s a fact/You’re the wind at my back

You’re the flow that I feel/The illusion so real/You’re the ocean the tide/You’re the door open wide And my soul has been kissed/Just because you exist/You’re the blue in my black/You’re the wind at my back

As a 16 year old boy who is in the process of becoming a man, I believe that these previous 3 months  were a real trial sent by God. Through it, I believe I have become more focused on Him. I have realized that while certain things in this world are nice, they will never compare in equal amounts to the Almighty God in heaven. What I do, and I call all young men and women to do as well, is place my full trust in God alone, that He will shepherd me, as He has, and to focus on Him as the true source of light in the darkness that we face. Thank you for journeying with me. Thanks to the person who asked the question of “so, how’s ur summer been?” that got me started on this. Thanks to Mom and Dad; Mom especially helped me through those first troubled days. Dad for our “interesting” talk while standing a quarter mile out in the ocean.

Parer par haar Buir.

Progress is a funny thing. At first, it can seem like you’re moving on, finally making that leap. Then you realize that instead of moving forward, you’ve slid backward, further and further, until finally you’re using archaic means, instead of the brand new machine that is easier to use, plus faster. (And it’s only yours for 3 payments of $39.95!)

Recently I’ve found that I’ve been caught between two worlds. One is a world that projects laughter, good times, and friends, yet after that layer sucks you into a world of darkness, where you become splintered, butchered, and devoured. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not using nice terms here. Conflicted. Unsure.

As Mr. Spock and/or Tuvok would say, “It is illogical.”

What about the other world? The world of truth, where nobody hides behind a false image. Behind something they are not. A deception. A farce, thrown up to avoid putting their true identity into play. This world, however, seeks to put its true image up as the first thing you see, which is truth and light and holiness. After further thought, which sounds more appealing? The bottomless chasm of no return? Or the place where you don’t want to go back to where you came from, because this new place is so perfect and holy.

In football, referees will sometimes review plays and go “under the hood.” Why? So that they can ascertain the truth about what happened on the previous play. Did he fumble the ball or not? Was his body touching the ground? Did he have 2 feet in bounds?

“After further review, Jesus Christ DID die on the cross. His heart stopped beating, his brain stopped functioning. And after further review, He did rise on the third day.” Amazing.

Being on the fence is not fun. For one thing, it hurts your butt after a while. Secondly, sooner or later you are going to have to make a choice. Why not make the choice now? Life or death? Darkness or light? Good or evil? Righteousness or lawlessness? Which one? Am I making the right choice? Am I choosing correctly? Is my faith enough that I can believe in something I can’t see? Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” We can’t see the wind. But we know it is there.

Who Has Seen the Wind?

by Christina Rossetti

Who has seen the wind?
Neither I nor you:
But when the leaves hang trembling,
The wind is passing through.

Who has seen the wind?
Neither you nor I:
But when the trees bow down their heads,
The wind is passing by.
Spot on. And even if you can’t see God, you can feel Him. There is a lightness in the air, almost as if the air weighs less than it did a second ago, all because He is there. When evil is present, you can feel the oppression, the burden, the being weighed down. And it is painful. To you and to others around you who must feel you.
Hurt yourself, and you slowly hurt others.
So. After all that, where do you end? How do you wrap it up?
You must make a choice. A clear choice. Where do you stand?
I stand on the truth that is presented in the Bible, and the promises God has given through His word, and through Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who, in the ultimate self-sacrifice and self-humiliation, died on the cross, so that we might be saved  from our wretched, total, depraved, and almost inescapable sinful nature.
Not a pretty sight, is it? But you saw the ‘almost’, right? Guess Who made that an almost?
I know where I’m standing. And when Satan comes to call, to butcher me, in whatever way shape or form, be it through any event in my daily life, I know what I say. Andrew Schwab of Project 86 puts it clearly in their song, The Butcher.
Because there is no weapon
There is no blade
You wonder why I’m not afraid?
There is no weapon
There is no blade
You’ll never kill Him that lives inside of me.
This man came to me he was looking for action
Pulling a blade to my neck
He said, “Call me the butcher cause that’s my trade
And you know that I’ve come to collect.” I said “Hit me now
And we’ll see where it leads
Cut me out if you think I will bleed
Strike me down If you think you’re a man
Cause I know that you don’t understand”

Because there is no weapon
There is no blade
You wonder why I’m not afraid?
There is no weapon
There is no blade
You’ll never kill Him that lives inside of me.

He looked into my eyes, all he saw was conviction
Dropping the blade to the earth
I said, “How could you think that I’d ever retreat?
You know that I’m already dead.”

I said “Hit me now
and we’ll see where it leads
Cut me out if you think I will bleed
Strike me down If you think you’re a man
Cause I know that you don’t understand”

Because there is no weapon
There is no blade
You wonder why I’m not afraid?
There is no weapon
There is no blade
I’ve erased all of my fear of the grave

There is no weapon
There is no blade
You wonder why I’m not afraid?
There is no weapon
There is no blade
You’ll never kill Him that lives inside of me.

Because there is no weapon
There is no blade
You wonder why I’m not afraid?
There is no weapon
There is no blade
I’ve erased all of my fear of the grave

There is no weapon
There is no blade
You wonder why I’m not afraid?
There is no weapon
There is no blade
You’ll never kill Him that lives inside of me.

I couldn’t think of a title for this post, which is why I left it at that. I know why though. It is because God is so awe inspiringly big, so huge, so all-encompassing, so mind boggling powerful and eternal, that any name I choose to give Him is insufficient. It would be earthly. He is Holy, Holy, Holy.

I know where I stand.