A Short Story of Lying

A young man had been hiking through a forest until sunset when he began to realize that he was lost. The constant unfamiliar scenery led him to presume that he was not heading toward the trail’s exit.

Suddenly, he saw another hiker approaching him. When the figure reached him, it turned out to be himself! Confused, but too focused on being lost, the young man did not take serious notice of this identity puzzle and asked the twin which direction to head. The twin responded, “You should head East.”

So the young man headed East for almost an hour until he realized he was more lost than in his previous state. Straightaway, another twin version of himself then approached. When the young man asked for directions, the twin responded, “I’m not sure. I’m lost myself.” The young man and the twin laughed and talked for about an hour.

Still lost, the young man headed onward. A third twin approached: “You should go North. The North Star is a compass you fool!” The young man obliged, only to get further lost since he did not know the location of the exit in relation to the North Star.

The sky grew dark. A fourth twin approached: “This is a great workout, isn’t it? The women love leg muscles, aye-aye.” Though tired, the young man reasoned that since he’d gone this far he might work out a little more.

After climbing more hills, the very first twin who had approached him earlier, returned. “Still lost? Friend, the answer was inside of you all along. You are intelligent enough to do this on your own!”

This spiked the young man with motivation. A light bulb popped in his head as he realized he now knew where to go. He sprinted towards that direction.

The young man collapsed as he saw that he’d just ended up at a dead end waterfall.

Suddenly, another hiker approached him. However, this hiker was different. He walked with a limp and was not even dressed for hiking. When the hiker came near, the young man realized that he did look like a twin – only a much older version.

The elderly twin spoke, “Young man, here is why you’ve gotten so lost: If there is one thing you can be sure of, it is that you should not be the main guide of your life. In your life, you have lied to yourself more than anyone else has ever lied to you. The more you try to be your own leader, the more you will end up lost. You cannot save yourself. When a man understands more and more clearly the evil that is in him and how limited he is, then he’s learning. A moderately bad man knows he is NOT very good: a thoroughly bad man thinks he is ALL right. Man is flawed. As for God, He makes the way perfect. He lights the lamp in the darkness in order for you to see. Listen to Him.

The young man arose. His heart realigned. He mind set straight. His humbled soul ready to listen. Ready for the light.

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A Paralyzing Light

It was only a lifetime ago when I saw the glare.

Truthfully, it was a moment ago when I saw the glare.

It shone upon me, presumptuous in nature and foreign in existence,

with a demanding pull which stretched the room from end to end.

Its tangible touch caused the depths of my soul to tingle;

Moreover, its abstract unfamiliarity overpowered my emotions.

My gut-reaction was to close my eyes, as a child splashing in ocean waves.

The others in the room had the same reaction.

Not one of us moved. Not even one.

We wanted to change … from being lukewarm.

We were urged to follow the archetypal Light.

Urged to live as the Light designed.

.

The whispers of the shadows were permeated with darkness.

They were poison by nature but delectably delicious in taste –

with a subtle push that my soul could barely detect.

The deceptive push brought about an alluring temptation to my flesh.

Eventually, I allowed the whispers to take control of my mind.

My focus began swaying away from the promising light.

The others in the room had the same disposition,

I could see that everyone was emotionless. Paralyzed.

Not one of us moving. Not even when the church service ended.

Remnants of Revelation 3:16 echoed as The Light waned and Darkness silenced.

We, the Laodiceans, were left to choose –

Warned to choose.

Urged to choose the joyful light,

but drawing closer and closer toward the alluring darkness.

A Pedophile’s Story in Heaven

It is the best of times. Although, in this place here, there actually is no such thing as time – There is only timeless eternity. Everyone is so filled with life and joy that tears could continually flow from our eyes – Albeit, there are no tears here. The perfection of the sun shines so brightly that there is not a single shadow created from the luminous light. Still, there actually is no sun here. We have the luxury of having the glory of God as our sun!

I rested in one of my favorite places: it has this title because I enjoy laying beside the tigers and the deer as they peacefully play together. This place is also my favorite because sometimes I can watch my daughter play football with other people. She was my daughter back on earth, but here she is ultimately and objectively seen as God’s daughter. Nonetheless, I still pleasure in proudly watching her play (especially as the quarterback). She always wanted to play with her older brothers back on earth, but was not strong nor fast enough to keep up. Here in the Kingdom, there is a removal of the physical advantages of the sexes. We all have powerful, heavenly ageless bodies.

On the last play of the game my daughter threw a bomb pass about 200 yards into the arms of her friend Josh who made a spectacular diving touchdown catch. My favorite part of his catch was that his impact did not even harm the grass underneath him. The grass here is unlike the weak, fragile earthly grass. In this place we see the true grass that God intended for creation, before The Fall. This grass is so firm that it cannot bent nor can be pulled from the ground itself! The beauty of the heavenly grass blades is greater than the grandeur of any waterfall back on earth. Goodness, it is impossible to fairly describe the epic waterfalls here in The Kingdom.

Josh and my daughter glided toward me in merriment. “Dad, did you see that catch! Josh here gets the MVP again. Show off” She jokingly pushed Josh’s arm. The young looking man just smiled and shook off the praise.

“Hey it’s almost time for the next banquet feast,” exclaimed Josh, with a sudden jolt of excitement. “If we leave now we can make the opening story given today”

The three of us headed over to the banquet feast. At the beginning of each banquet someone tells the crowd their story of how Jesus saved them back on earth. No story is ever too small. No story ever leaves us short of satiated praise of what God freely did for us. Afterwards we feast and drink in laughter.

One of the angels signaled for today’s speaker to come in front of the podium. The speaker spoke in a strong, educated English accent:

“Hello family. My name is Henry. I was once a university professor and happily married to a woman of 15 years. Neither of us knew Christ or even gave thought to him. On weekends my neighbors began asking me to watch over their adolescent son. The son was mentally disabled and helplessly mute. For 10 years I would periodically watch him. For 10 years I would sexual abuse this child. I rarely gave time to feel guilt or shame. Neither was I ever caught in my wrong doing. Eventually I earned another teaching job and we moved away. My marriage began to disintegrate and we eventually divorced.

I was left to myself. My life grew darker. A close friend begged that I should look to the Lord, but I despised the frivolity of the religious teachings that I learned in my youth. Regardless, my life reached the point where I was sinning at such a varsity level that I thought that there was no way that God could ever love me. Therefore, I dove headfirst into my sinning further and further. Until all I saw was the mirage of Hell itself.

In my 60th year, a homeless man stopped me as I walked to the store. I begrudgingly gave him a few seconds of my time. Instead of asking me for money, he went on unexpected rant about how Jesus had recently ‘saved him’. I wanted to walk away…however, his speech was curiously robust. Normally, I relate to intellectual dexterity yet he spoke with pure visceral emotion. For the first time in my life, I had heard. I heard. That day I bought a Bible and read until my eyelids were numb. I wrestled with the Lord and finally gave my life to Christ. I was infinitely lost and Jesus’ mercy grabbed me by the waist.

I prayed that God would show me my next steps. The following Sunday I joined a church family. The very next day the doctor informed me that I was diagnosed with Stage 4 brain cancer with only three months to live. After crying for hours, the Spirit reminded me that my life was already not my own anymore – but rather, it was in God’s all along. My burdens lifted from that simple truth and led me to live the last three months of my life for Christ. When my new church family heard my full story, praise for God erupted. There was a major revival in the city and everyone was coming to Christ! What I, in my past life, intended for harm….God used for good. I now see that my past life was a mirage. What I saw as blurry darkness, I now clearly see the beauty of God’s redemption.

♪ ♪ ♪ I will forever praise him. The rhythms of his grace are extravagant. You are God. You are Good. You are Jesus ♫ ♫”

The Professor then signaled for someone else to rise. Everyone turned to see Josh, my daughter’s MVP wide receiver, stand up.

“This is Josh,” pronounced the Professor. “He is the young boy that I molested for ten years. His suffered greatly on earth. Nevertheless, God graciously saved both his life and mine. We are eternally grateful”.

Josh, who was once mentally disabled and mute…who lived a life of deformity – was no longer bound in that inescapable box. He now lives in holy paradise. His new body was from God.  He radiates God’s glory along with the rest of us. We all simultaneously rejoiced to God.

To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory forever and ever!!

The Beautifully Hated DNA of a Christian Bigot

Our society is blessed by it. Our society is cursed by it. The very existence of it saves lives. The very existence of it kills. Oh, the ebbs and flows of social media. It has the power to uplift a person and, with the same token, to inflict pain. A few weeks ago, I was spontaneously unfriended by a girl that I was Facebook friends with for one month. When I found out, I was flabbergasted… Flabbergasted.

My first inclination was to suspect that it was a glitch or a mistake, so I requested to be her friend again, ha. That attempt yielded zero results. Weeks later, I finally saw her at a social dance. Without hesitation I innocently asked her why on earth she unfriended me (awkwardness does not affect me). Initially, she was stunned that I had approach her to bring it up. After 10 seconds of silence, she admitted that she deleted me because I was a Christian and she did not want any arguing on her Facebook page. Reason being – she is very liberal, both politically and socially. Additionally, she has a fairly outspoken Facebook page where she posts links and has discussions on trending topics of interest. From my perspective, it is fine that she does that and I have complimented her before on her intellectual endeavors. [In fact, for quality discussions you should encourage people of dissimilar beliefs to comment; but I digress].

However, the question still stands … why did she delete me as a Facebook friend? I was totally nice to her beforehand whenever we were together. Never did I show intolerance. An interesting fact is that in the month that we’d been Facebook friends I was practically absent from Facebook. There was barely a hint given to her to conclude that I was anything more than a typical lukewarm Christian. Therefore, what has happened that caused her to automatically delete me from her social media web when she found out that I was a Christian?

The sad state that our society has grown toward is a state that perceives Christians as hateful bigots. There is now a natural tendency for the public to presume that the very air that Christians breathe at church on Sundays is fuel for us to spew out hate towards anyone who does not follow our holy stance. In reality, that idea is far from the truth. Christians are simply given an awareness of something that is outside this world and we are inwardly transformed to think in a manner that is different from this world (Romans 12:2). Here are four everyday examples that the psychological state of a “Christian bigot” can somewhat be analogous to:

1)   There are women in this world that have experienced the tragedy of sexual abuse. Either directly or indirectly. Many of whom dive into the calling of spreading awareness of sex trafficking, prostitution, child abuse, and rape to the masses. They post links of news articles, volunteer, raise money, etc. The oddity of all this is that most people have a tendency to ignore their cries. For example, we know that each of those types of sexual abuses are tragic, however, how much have we donated to an organization for that cause? When was the last time we volunteered and or even read an article? To be honest, anytime an advocate comes out for those causes, I kind of view them as crazy and as a burden to listen to. The term “ignorance is bliss” has its merit. Those women have gained a deep, tangible awareness of sexual abuse and it has caused them to view the true significance of it in our society. Contrarily, most of us have not gained that same viewpoint and live everyday life as if sexual abuse is not rampant. Which of us are correct? We can say the same thing about people fighting for world hunger, war, genocides, political deception, violence, and other topics.

2)   Extrovert versus introvert comparisons can be enjoyable. Being an introvert, I have realized that extroverts generally view most social events very differently than I view them. Sometimes I can explain to an extrovert that I would prefer to stay in, alone, and watch Netflix. Even with that explanation, because they do not have the same mental DNA/perspective, they cannot necessarily relate to my inclination. And vice versa.

3)   I used to call my parents the Devil #1 and Devil #2 when I was younger. They would discipline me at times and not buy me whatever I wanted. Exactly, devils. As I grew older I realized that their weird viewpoint that was so different from mine was actually in my favor.

4)   Police officers often get a bad reputation. They are called out for profiling and stereotyping. They see hideous activities on a daily basis and get harassed for their inclinations. But looking at their inclination from a hypothetical example– lets say we visibly see that redheaded Irish people are scratching mothers all around the world. Today, you’re leaving your mother’s house and a redheaded Irish person passes you going towards your mother’s house. Are you really not going to turn back around, just in case? Not trying to offend anyone. I’m an African American and any time I walk past an occupied vehicle in a grocery store parking lot, I hear the person “suddenly” lock their doors. The hurt from that sounds hurts each time. But based on statistical evidence, can I completely blame them for their precautions? Police officers have the insurmountable duty to protect us. They have experiences that different from ours and generally want for us to be safe.

With all that said, are Christians being bigots or are they simply burdened with seeing something from a totally different perspective? I think about the girl who unfriended often. I pray that we do become legitimate friends. My friendship with her, however, would not terminate on that. One thing I can say to her in context to her reason for deleting me is that I do, indeed, wish for Jesus to save her. I hope for her. I hope for us. May the world understand that Christians are given a new heart and mind that gives them a perspective on many topics that are different than most Non-Christians. There is a certain way that God designed the world to flow and for people to live. This way leads to eternal joy in our life and in the Lord (Psalm 16:11, John 17:3, John 10:10). We as Christians yearn for everyone to be saved and to seek the face of Christ (Luke 15:7, 1 Timothy 2:4). It sounds weird. But to the Christian, it sounds beautiful and glorious!

There was the Young Man, Drowning in the Sink…

There was the young man, drowning in the sink. Everyone says that it was because of gravity that he was drowning. Unfortunately, they were right. His older brother looked on as he helplessly stood just a few feet away. The gravity of sin pulled the young man deeper and deeper into the waters until his fight for breath was as meaningless as a caged bird.

With civility, Sin initially used his charm to lead the young man to the sink. The older brother did not scruple to attempt to take his brother away from Sin’s grip. However, little did the older brother know, Sin had a grip on him as well. Soon enough the older brother grew passive and was frozen in place. So much so..….that he was powerless to help. Complications were more layered than tiramisu. All hope was lost for the brothers. Sin rejoiced as he was winning the war.

Things were not always this way. There was once a time when things were pure and life seemed innocuous. Is this not the human experience: that in one moment everything can be so beautiful and right, and then in one fellow swoop (a phone call, an accident, one conversation) there becomes all this weight laid on your soul. All of a sudden your soul cannot breathe because the gravity of sin is too much to bear. Sometimes the change is quick. Sometimes the change is slow-moving, With the great wisdom of Sin, most of the time the latter method is the case. One minute you’re on a raft close to shore and the next minute, without realizing, the waves have drifted you out into the sea. Whether it’s sin, loss, betrayal, hate, or whether it’s being overwhelmed; you then cry out for God’s nearness and help, but the only voice you hear is darkness. Or maybe the devil himself. Or sometimes worse…. you hear nothing at all. Maybe, nothing at all. Such scary times there.

 

The young man hadn’t noticed his far drift until it was too late. He was not lying in a sink – to the contrary, he was drowning in the ocean waters. His death was imminent. On the other side, the older brother’s passiveness caused his ability to save his brother to be nonexistent. The young man finally gives up. His lungs begin to fill with water. His heartbeat slows down. His skin coloring grows dark. His heart beats its last beat. His older brother, still looking on, drops to his knees in gloomy defeat.

 

Suddenly, with all hope lost and with Sin and death close to victorious reign, Love interrupts. The loving Narrator of the story interjects Himself. The omnipotent Narrator who knew the characters before writing the story, who created the story, and who knows how it ends as He types away … suddenly appears. For He is the only one who can save the brothers. He is the perfect one that loves both idiotic brothers and can shift them back onto the path he designed them to walk long before the story began. For what the brothers were powerless to do because they were weakened by their flesh, the Narrator freely did – Even as the brothers did not deserve to be saved. The narrator turns a hopeless story into a story of good news! Odd thing is, the Narrator could have corrected things a long time ago but chose to wait. Why? That is something for us to wrestle with until we meet Him face to face. We do know that He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him: “What have you done?”

The book of Hebrews says that Jesus endured all that loss and betrayal. It describes that he also suffered a brutal death. It claims that He endured those things so that He can empathize with us and say, “I know how these hard times feel”. Luckily Jesus the Empathizer is also Jesus the Narrator who is in control of the entire story. There is a warm blanket to our soul in knowing that our Narrator intimately knows us, loves us, and has the ultimate power to save us.


What an almighty and glorious narrator that would be.

AMA: Attractive Mothers Anonymous

All mothers, with the exception of my mother, are gorgeous. It is a universal truth, more or less, that the elegance of a mother blinds the retinas of angels. Beauty buoyantly flows over the earth and retires downward onto the hearty lap of a mother. In similar tone, but in slight contrast … my mother is one gorgeous hot tamale!! My Karen. “Kal-Kal” – as her high school cohorts used to call her. For the record, that’s such a weird nickname for someone that won Homecoming Queen. But of course, it was the 70’s and everything was weird (The Rocky movies were so cheesy).

My mother would flourish if she grew up in this generation. She would probably have over a thousand followers on Twitter. On her birthday, a plethora of her girl friends would post Instagram photos of her on their own accounts just to give my mother birthday love. She would post new Facebook statuses and hundreds of people would “Like” it. She would experience greater educational advances, career opportunities, breakthrough technology, medical advances, and better movies. She could get on eHarmony and fall in love with my dad all over again. My bet is that Kal-Kal would have gone to a fancy university, hopefully Clemson University. In a cliché but simple tagline ….. “My mother would rule the world”.

 

When recently bringing this revelation up to my mother, she insisted that she would still prefer to have grown up in the time period of the 1970’s. She claims that today’s society has a deeper level of superficiality, narcissism, violence, and materialism. After I reiterated the powerful opportunities that she would be gaining, she still stood with the 1970’s. Her mother – my grandmother – was asked a similar question. Growing up in the 1930’s versus the 1970’s; It is obvious of the lack of opportunities that faced my grandmother. She even went on to say that her family was poor and everyone around them was poor. However, even as she is sill tangibly reminiscent of all she went through, she prefers to grow up again in her own time period. Her reasons were because the young people of the 70’s were more superficial, focused on completion, and craving material.

One may argue that past generations tends to romanticize theirs and criticize the ones after it. Here is the thing about that: My grandmother would have to be a fool to attempt to romanticize being a female AND living in the pre-civil rights era. What most of the older generations (religious or nonreligious) are trying to say is that everything – material, careers, economy, powers, fashion, money, music, tastes, health, family, friends – fades away. Life is hard and difficult and no one controls it. No one controls it. Therefore there is no sense in craving to live in an alternative generation. It cannot be escaped.

What matters is the soul. What matters is the direction the soul is pointing. A soul that points inward is useless. What matters is community that you can grow in Christ-like love with. For my mom to focus on having a thin, teenage body and being Homecoming Queen again would be a wasteful goal. What my mother, grandmother and Bible are inexplicitly stating is this:

Want to conquer social media?  It is insatiable and a psychological hindrance.

Want to escape violence?  There will always be evil.

Want a higher paying job?  Money doesn’t bring eternal joy.

Want to do hot yoga & the Paleo diet?  Your body will still inevitably betray you.

Love music?  Songs become repetitive; i.e. Pharell’s hit song “Happy”

Want more friends?  Friends will eventually let you down.

Want a spouse?  A chunk of marriage is tough and stressful.

Want to be single?  A chunk of singleness is lonely and stressful.

Ageing

To be clear, it is not that any of those things are bad. It is more so that Life has taught them that their body is the only body they’ll ever have. Their mind is the only mind they’ll ever have. Externals fade. Therefore, for the believer, the end goal is the kingdom of Heaven and eternity with Jesus. Everything else – good or bad – fall to the waist side. Life is short and our time on earth is like dwindling grass … we must realize that we do not have enough time to focus on externals (James 4:14, Psalm 103:15-16, 1 Corin. 7:29-31). Only then can we begin to attain real joy! A merriment that makes the world see Jesus in us.

The Bible will say that individual “generations” are not the problem, but that the problem is the sinfulness of man (Mark 7:20-23, Romans 3:10-12). Knowingly so, no matter when or where we live … there will always be man present. The wise people see that the world is sinful and they themselves are guilty as well. The sooner we throw ourselves onto the grace and mercy of Christ the sooner we are transformed into correctly seeing that all that we have and all that we have been given in a very very different light. Whatever season you are in, be thankful and be ALL there. We should be weary to place our hope in fleeting success, material, or physical appearance. This concept is reflective of 1 Corinthians 10:31 which can be re-worded into this context by saying, “Whether you live in the 1930s, 1970s, 2000s, or 1400s, do life to the glory of God.”

I’m traveling home for the Independence Day. I will get to see me precocious 4 year-old nephew for the first time in almost 5 months. I’m beyond excited. He is my best friend. So there will be a ton of hugging and laughter. He’s into Spiderman now so I bought him a cool Spiderman toy to make him like me even more, haha. A time is coming when he’s not going to see me as the coolest person in the world anymore. A time is coming when I’m going to look at his generation with an odd look on my face thinking, “Good gosh this new generation is too superficial and materialistic.” Ooh the misconceptions of sin. Touche Satan. Thank God for the scriptures and the revelation of Christ. #boom