The Battle

originally published Oct 19, 2016  (it’s been a year already, crazy)

Image result for starless beach

It wasn’t a good night. Alone again. Alone  with my thoughts. Alone with my doubts. Alone with my past regrets. That’s when I realized I wasn’t alone. Something, or someone was there with me. I could feel it. I would rather face off against Freddie Krueger.

I could feel it before I could see it. I looked around but I was the only one here.  Fear crept in.  The only sound was the sound of my too loud beating heart. Evil lurked. Looking for a place to land. It only needed a small opening and it waited patiently.  I wasn’t going to let it in, but it waited. Evil is patient, waiting for its opportunity.

I fought the invisible evil.  It wasn’t going to win. Doubts would sink in. At times I believed the lies. I was stronger than this. I had a power inside of me. I often forgot about this power. I often forgot about the strength it gave me. I wasn’t going to forget this time.  I also knew I couldn’t do it alone.  I yelled out to God.

The evil was gone. A peace overcame me. I stopped shaking. My heart calmed. I wasn’t naive though. I knew the evil would be back. It doesn’t give up easily.  More importantly, I knew neither did God.

Image result for ephesians 5 8

I had to get out of the house.

I liked walking on the beach. The wind coming off the ocean, the smell of it. The way the moon and stars shined their light off the waves.  I could walk for miles. It was relaxing but there were no stars to light my way tonight. Only the light of a full moon, and it didn’t seem to be as bright as it should have been.

I walked along the beach. Even the waves didn’t sound the same. Like they were whispering to me.  There was definitely a thickness in the air.

Something just didn’t feel right. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Was something in the house with me? Was it just my imagination? I couldn’t quite shake the feeling.

That’s when I saw him. Well, I guess I should say it. I couldn’t quite make out the form in the darkness but something was definitely there. He, or it, was hiding in the darkness under the pier.

My heart was starting to beat fast. Stop it, I said to myself. This is just your imagination acting up. There is nothing to fear.

I was getting closer to the pier.  Maybe 30 feet away. I took a deep breath. My mind was playing tennis. Volley to the left, it’s going to be okay. Volley to the right, be prepared. It’s going to be you or him. Volley left, volley right. That’s when he stepped out and I could see it in his eyes. Volley right it is.

I had no weapon. Or at least I thought I had no weapon. God, be with me. I heard the scream, I saw the light.  That’s when I fell to the ground.

Did someone sneak up behind me and hit me in the head? What was that light? I quickly did a self check and realized I wasn’t hurt. I  looked up looking for the man but he was nowhere to be found. What just happened?

Add that to my list of weird things happening tonight. The list would be getting longer.

I know what you are thinking. I should turn around and just go back home. Lock myself in my room and say goodnight.  I could not do that.  I should’ve done that but something was telling me to keep moving forward.

Image result for we are the light of the world

 

I heard the screams.  I ran to them. I know you are yelling for me to run away from them. I was thinking the same thing!  I couldn’t do it. I am not a hero but I had to see if there was anything I could do.

They were huddled together at the dead end of a one way street. The look of terror on their faces is something I can never forget. They were looking upward. I followed their eyes and then I saw them. There had to be at least twenty, maybe more, of them. The legion of demons were hideous. They were attacking relentlessly.  They disgusted me.

At one time or another they were all a part of my life.  I am a sinner and I knew them all by name. There was greed, lust, fear, addiction, hopelessness, negative, pride, envy. I knew them well. There was also wrath, sloth, doubt, low self-esteem, failure, sorrow, gossip and hate. Many more I will not name  but they were all following their leader Baal. I was actually surprised to see him. They usually let their minions do the work and don’t show their faces. With him here, I knew this was going to be a long battle.

That’s when I saw the glow. I looked down and I was shining like a light. I wasn’t alone. I looked around and there were many others with me. We had been brought together for this moment. We are the light of the world and now was the time to defeat the darkness.

We lit up the dark night. Many of the demons ran when they saw the light. Many others chose to fight. The light was their enemy. The truth was their adversary. Hope was their opponent. We were their prosecutors.

After a long, bloody, hard fought battle we were victorious.  There was sadness in our victory. We lost some friends in the battle but they will forever be remembered as heroes. We will fight the good fight. Where there are demons, so will we be. We will honor the truth and defend it with our lives.

They will be back.  We will be here when they return.

We are the light of the world and we will shine victorious.

Image result for we are the light of the world

Good Fight by Unspoken – 

Soldier On by Sidewalk Prophets – 

Never Burn Out by Stars Go Dim –

Same Power by Jeremy Camp – 

Independence Day by Union Of Sinners and Saints – 

Soldiers by Martin Smith – 

Onward Christian Soldiers by Petra – 

I’m Just Another Soldier by The Five Blind Boys Of Mississippi – 

Children Of The Light by Lecrae – 

Where The Light Is by Dan Bremnes – 

I’ll Be The Light by Colton Dixon – 

Immortal

Image result for fighting in illness

We rejoiced in another battle won. We have fought many over the last few months but this one was not only of joy but sorrow.  We lost many good men today, and I take the blame.  I am their leader and I did not lead well today. Something was wrong with me.

Looking back on my lifetime, I have fought many battles and I have never, not ever, not even once been nicked, scratched, cut or anything. I have walked away from all those battles unscathed. I have had men die, but they were far and few between. I have fought battles alone and never lost.  The enemy could not touch me.

Some say God must have His hand on me. Some say that I am extremely lucky.  I don’t believe in luck.

I have walked into cities that were destroyed by the black plague and I did not get sick. I have walked into small villages that were so decrepit that stray dogs would not even live there.  In fact, I have never been sick a day in my life. Not a cough, not a fever,  not even a single sniffle.

That all changed three days ago.

A few of my men and I were relaxing and drinking a few at the local bar. We parted ways and I started to go down an alley I had walked down hundreds of times. Immediately, the hairs on my arms and neck stood up. Something didn’t feel right. I drew my sword, prepared for battle. Two demons jumped from the shadows. I easily disposed of the first one. As I faced off against the second one, a thought came into my head. One that I never had before.

You can not win this one.

It came and was gone just as fast but it stopped me in my tracks. And in that second of delay, the demon swung his arm. I ducked but his long fingernails grazed my arm.  I came back at it with an uppercut and then my sword sliced through his neck.  His headless body fell at my feet and I was victorious again.

It was then I noticed I had been cut. My arm was bleeding.  For the first time in my life, I felt pain.

I fell asleep that night and woke in a cold sweat. Nightmares came to me and I could not escape them. I could not fall back asleep. My heart was beating out of my chest and my head was on fire. I tried to get out of bed but my legs would not cooperate. I fell to the floor. I stayed there until the morning light.

Morning came and it was like nothing had happened. I picked myself up off the floor. My heart was beating normal, the fever gone.  My strength was back.  I wondered if it had all been a nightmare. My imagination was running wild.

It was Wednesday. Drill day.  Every Wednesday when we were not in battle, my men and I had drill day. We went through the basic fundamentals of battle. Defense, offense, blocks, attacks, etc.  We also did obstacle runs and uphill runs to make us stronger, to have more endurance than our enemy.  I ran circles around my men. No one could ever keep up.  But today, I had nothing. Halfway through I dropped to my knees, out of breath. Out of energy.  What the heck?  My men teased me until they saw my face. I was pale as a ghost. I fell on my back and grabbed my cut arm. It felt like it was on fire. My heart was racing. My men picked me up and we walked back to town. What was going on?

Then I heard the voice again, you can not win this one.

You don’t know who I am,  I conquer everything and everyone, I replied to no one.

The next day we were attacked like we had never been attacked. So many demons. The battle lasted for two days and I made many mistakes. I could not think straight. I could not lead my men, I had no strength to do so.  I should’ve put my second in command to the front, to lead, but I was too proud. I kept telling myself I can get through this like I have so many other battles.  But this wasn’t like any other battle.  We won but we lost a lot of men.  A lot of good men and it’s all on me.

The fevers kept coming, my head was on fire.  My heart beat irregularly. I couldn’t catch my breath if I walked more than a minute. Yet, I was too stubborn to see the sorceress or the doctor.  Only weak people go to them. But yet, I could not shake what was happening to me.

You can not win this one.

I was getting sick of this voice. But I was getting more worried about the shape I was in. My people needed me, my town needed me. I had to give up and seek help. I could not do this on my own.  I went to the doctor and all their fancy machines, medicine, and spells. I listened closely, the rest of my life depended on what they told me I had to do.

I am slowly getting better, but I have let others lead my men to battle. I have taken a step back so I can take a few steps forward. It is a long road to recovery, but the doctors say I will make it.

I have come to realize that I am only a mortal man. A man who knows I can only be immortal when I pass this from this life to meet my maker.

Image result for fighting in illness

As I was writing part of this, I was listening to the new Building 429 cd and this song came on. Funny how God works.

Joy Unspeakable by Building 429- 

Soul’s Anthem ( It Is Well) by Tori Kelly – 

Miracle Or Not by Alisa Turner – 

More Than Gonna Make It by Alisa Turner – 

Long Year by Jackie Lee – 

 

 

Where Are You?

I walked through this town I love so much and couldn’t believe my eyes. Everywhere I looked the city was in ruins. Every corner had something else wrong. Every block I walked all I saw was confusion. I went into my favorite store and had to take a step back. Something wasn’t right.

The buildings were still there. The architecture as beautiful as ever. It was the people. They were all walking around like robots. No one smiled. They all had the same blank stare. What happened to them? It’s like they were all….lost.

I smiled at a child. She smiled back. The mom looked at me like I was trying to kidnap her child. I smiled at her also but only received a glare in return.

I pulled out my phone to see if I missed some news on what is going on. I looked on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram but nothing. All I saw were pictures of people smiling. Posts about how great their lives were. Tweets about how happy they are. I looked up over my phone and didn’t see that.

I decided to reach out to the 87,654 friends/followers I have on social media. No one responded. I was getting concerned so I decided to text the 70 people in my contact list that I never call and talk to. Again, no one responded.

I decided to go get a hamburger and some fries and try to figure out what is happening. After I ate, I didn’t feel so well. Come to find out the hamburger I ate was laced with steroids and synthetic hormones that has caused hormonal cancer rates to rise. Then I found out this is banned in Europe, Japan, Australia and China but yet we serve it in my town.

I then decided to get something to drink. I couldn’t decide between Coke, Pepsi or Gatorade. I looked on the label and noticed all of them contained brominated vegetable oil. From my science days I knew bromine was used as a flame retardant. This builds up in our bodies and can cause nerve damage, memory loss, and other issues. This has also been banned in over 100 countries, including Europe and Japan but here it is in my town. I then found out that bromine is used in some of the breads I eat.

I see young children running around the streets like they don’t have a care. I see them getting what they want, doing what they want, taking what they want. Weren’t they taught to earn what they get? Weren’t they taught that sometimes waiting for something is better than getting it instantly? Where are the parents?

I stood on the corner and yelled as loud as I could “God, help me!” I knew God was here somewhere but I could not find Him. The corner across from me had people yelling “God does not exist. He is not here and never has been. There is no God.” I yelled right back. “My God is here. He does exists. He has always been here.” Next thing I know I am being told I can’t talk about God here. I protested and asked why can they say there is no God but I can’t say there is. I was told because they have the right of religious freedom.

It was time for me to take a walk. Try to clear my head. What was happening here?

God, are you there? Why are you allowing this to happen? Why is my town turning into this? Why are people hurting inside but pretend they are okay? Why are people doing wrong and don’t even act like it bothers them? Why, God, are you letting this happen?

God, where are you?

I ran and ran as far as I could. When I stopped I saw the most amazing bright light. I had never seen anything like it. A breeze picked up and I heard, “where are you?” I looked around but didn’t see anyone. Then I heard it again, “where are you?”

Then that voice said “I have searched for you. I have called out to you. I have rescued you from the depths of sin many times. I have forgiven you. Why do you hide in shame from me? Why do you run from me? Why do you only question me in the worst times of your life? Why do you not think of me in the best times? What is this you have done?  Why are you here in this place? Who told you I wasn’t here? Who told you I didn’t love you?”

Then the bright light disappeared and was replaced with a mirror. I looked in the mirror and saw my reflection. I then only had one question to ask myself.

Where are you?

Never Alone by Barlow Girl – 

Don’t Let Go by Josh Wilson – 

Not To Us by Nichole Nordeman – 

I Question You by Lily Messer (and me) – 

In My Room by Thousand Foot Krutch – 

Revelation by Third Day – 

If I Could Talk To God by Alice Peacock – 

Beer With Jesus by Thomas Rhett – 

If I Talk To God by The Last Goodnight – 

God Of This City by Chris Tomlin – 

God Can You Hear Me by Tait – 

The Opening Act of Spring by Frank Turner – 

The Haunted House

Animated Haunted House animated house gif halloween haunted

I have been in the house many times since the first time. The first time was when I was eight years old. I was being teased, called a chicken, and all those things kids say to each other. Triple dog dare. You can’t turn down a triple dog dare. It was the first time I opened the door. I only looked inside for a second but that was enough.  The door had been opened and my future was doomed.

I soon started visiting the house more than I would like to admit. Always by myself of course. I couldn’t let my friends know what I was doing. Each time I went in I would find a new room to explore. It was fascinating at first. All these new things I was finding meant I was also learning more about myself. I thought I was being brave. Anytime something would happen to me I would run to the solitude of the house. Only in the day time though. Never at night.

At night you could always find me in my own house. Safe, warm and comfortable. My parents loved me and I felt safe in my house. Of course you could say as many times as I was visiting the so-called haunted house that it became my home away from home. My place to go to be alone and collect my thoughts. Leave some of my thoughts there. Come out a new person, but I left a part of me in that house each time I went.

It wasn’t long before I was sneaking out of my home and going to my haunted house at night. I couldn’t help it. I loved being the only one there. The only one that knew I was spending so much time there was me. I loved that sometimes when I went there would be a new room or two to explore. I never questioned how they got there. Part of the mystery of a haunted house I thought.

I started to withdraw from my friends so I could spend more time there. I could explore my house for hours on end, always something new but I could also go back and remember. Remember the who, what, why,  where and when of the first time I opened this door or that door. Remember when I was so scared I slammed that door closed, only to peek back in a few weeks later. No door was ever sealed shut. I could visit anytime I would visit the house.

The problem came when I couldn’t resist the house anymore. It just kept luring me in. Like it was calling out to me. Come on in, it is safe here. You don’t need anyone else. Just you and your thoughts, that’s all you need. No one will hurt you in here.

Comfort. I found comfort in that house. I should’ve bought the place and moved in. Saved me from going there all the time. It was on one of these trips that I met someone. A man like I had never met before. He told me to stop going to the haunted house. There is nothing there for me. How did he know was my first thought? My second thought was who cares who he is. This was my world and my house and he was just an intruder. Another person out to get me.

A couple days later I was going back to the house and there he was. Sitting on the front steps. The same steps I first went up when I was eight, except they didn’t look so scary anymore. They almost looked warm and inviting. Anyway, back to my guest. There he was. “How did you get here,” I asked. “I’ve been watching you for years,” he said. What kind of person is this?  I then bluntly told him to leave. He wasn’t welcome here. He told me he couldn’t do that. He was here to help me leave this place, leave it for good.

No way. This is my place. My home. He had no right to ask me to leave it.

But he got me thinking. In my experience, that is never a good thing. I would rather just go to my house and leave my thoughts in one of the rooms.

I walked on by him and he got up and followed me in. “Look at your prison,” he said. “My prison? This is my house,” I corrected him.  “No”, he said, “I have a much better house for you. Want to see it?”

“Not really sure,” I said, “I like this place.”

“Here take my hand and I will show you,” he said. I don’t know why but I reached out for his hand and….all the doors opened. All the doors in my house flew open and everything that was in them came pouring out.

I screamed, “let me go!!” I pulled my hand away and ran. This wasn’t my house. How did all these things get in here? Why was he letting them all out? I tried to shut the doors but they would not close. I fell to my knees and let them overtake me. But they didn’t touch me. They all poured into him. He took them all. All my good and all my bad. All my pretty and all my ugly. They all poured into him.

I watched, mesmerized. It seemed like it lasted for hours but it couldn’t have been more than a few seconds. How could I let all this stuff in my house? I watched as everything flew out. Things I forgot I put in the rooms. Things that kept me a prisoner in my house. Fear, lots of rooms full of fear. Anxiety, worry, hurt all leaving my house. Negative thoughts and lies I believed to numb the pain all gone. Depression, shame, guilt- all gone. Anger and hate, see you later. Regrets, doubts about who I am, lies, distrust, unforgiveness, all gone.

You might ask what was left but you already know. Love was left. A love that told me I didn’t need to live in this house. A love that told me I was forgiven. A love that showed me who I am. A love that told me to unlock those doors and throw away the key. A love that told me my house isn’t haunted. A love that told me I could’ve left that house anytime I wanted. A love that told me I never had to build that house.

Mansion by NF – 

My Own Prison by Creed – 

Empire In My Mind by The Wallflowers – 

Demons by Imagine Dragons – 

Baptize My Mind by Jon Foreman – 

Change Your Mind by Sister Hazel – 

Keep Your Mind Wide Open by Annasophia Robb – 

Outta My Mind by Anthem Lights – 

Voices by Sumerlin – 

March Out Of The Darkness by Papa Roach – 

Out Of Mind by Queensryche – 

Where Are You?

I walked through this town I love so much and couldn’t believe my eyes. Everywhere I looked the city was in ruins. Every corner had something else wrong. Every block I walked all I saw was confusion. I went into my favorite store and had to take a step back. Something wasn’t right.

The buildings were still there. The architecture as beautiful as ever. It was the people. They were all walking around like robots. No one smiled. They all had the same blank stare. What happened to them? It’s like they were all….lost.

I smiled at a child. She smiled back. The mom looked at me like I was trying to kidnap her child. I smiled at her also but only received a glare in return.

I pulled out my phone to see if I missed some news on what is going on. I looked on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram but nothing. All I saw were pictures of people smiling. Posts about how great their lives were. Tweets about how happy they are. I looked up over my phone and didn’t see that.

I decided to reach out to the 87,654 friends/followers I have on social media. No one responded. I was getting concerned so I decided to text the 70 people in my contact list that I never call and talk to. Again, no one responded.

I decided to go get a hamburger and some fries and try to figure out what is happening. After I ate, I didn’t feel so well. Come to find out the hamburger I ate was laced with steroids and synthetic hormones that has caused hormonal cancer rates to rise. Then I found out this is banned in Europe, Japan, Australia and China but yet we serve it in my town.

I then decided to get something to drink. I couldn’t decide between Coke, Pepsi or Gatorade. I looked on the label and noticed all of them contained brominated vegetable oil. From my science days I knew bromine was used as a flame retardant. This builds up in our bodies and can cause nerve damage, memory loss, and other issues. This has also been banned in over 100 countries, including Europe and Japan but here it is in my town. I then found out that bromine is used in some of the breads I eat.

I see young children running around the streets like they don’t have a care. I see them getting what they want, doing what they want, taking what they want. Weren’t they taught to earn what they get? Weren’t they taught that sometimes waiting for something is better than getting it instantly? Where are the parents?

I stood on the corner and yelled as loud as I could “God, help me!” I knew God was here somewhere but I could not find Him. The corner across from me had people yelling “God does not exist. He is not here and never has been. There is no God.” I yelled right back. “My God is here. He does exists. He has always been here.” Next thing I know I am being told I can’t talk about God here. I protested and asked why can they say there is no God but I can’t say there is. I was told because they have the right of religious freedom.

It was time for me to take a walk. Try to clear my head. What was happening here?

God, are you there? Why are you allowing this to happen? Why is my town turning into this? Why are people hurting inside but pretend they are okay? Why are people doing wrong and don’t even act like it bothers them? Why, God, are you letting this happen?

God, where are you?

I ran and ran as far as I could. When I stopped I saw the most amazing bright light. I had never seen anything like it. A breeze picked up and I heard, “where are you?” I looked around but didn’t see anyone. Then I heard it again, “where are you?”

Then that voice said “I have searched for you. I have called out to you. I have rescued you from the depths of sin many times. I have forgiven you. Why do you hide in shame from me? Why do you run from me? Why do you only question me in the worst times of your life? Why do you not think of me in the best times? What is this you have done?  Why are you here in this place? Who told you I wasn’t here? Who told you I didn’t love you?”

Then the bright light disappeared and was replaced with a mirror. I looked in the mirror and saw my reflection. I then only had one question to ask myself.

Where are you?

Never Alone by Barlow Girl – 

Don’t Let Go by Josh Wilson – 

Not To Us by Nichole Nordeman – 

I Question You by Lily Messer (and me) – 

In My Room by Thousand Foot Krutch – 

Revelation by Third Day – 

If I Could Talk To God by Alice Peacock – 

Beer With Jesus by Thomas Rhett – 

If I Talk To God by The Last Goodnight – 

God Of This City by Chris Tomlin – 

God Can You Hear Me by Tait – 

The Opening Act of Spring by Frank Turner – 

The Haunted House

Animated Haunted House animated house gif halloween haunted

I have been in the house many times since the first time. The first time was when I was eight years old. I was being teased, called a chicken, and all those things kids say to each other. Triple dog dare. You can’t turn down a triple dog dare. It was the first time I opened the door. I only looked inside for a second but that was enough.  The door had been opened and my future was doomed.

I soon started visiting the house more than I would like to admit. Always by myself of course. I couldn’t let my friends know what I was doing. Each time I went in I would find a new room to explore. It was fascinating at first. All these new things I was finding meant I was also learning more about myself. I thought I was being brave. Anytime something would happen to me I would run to the solitude of the house. Only in the day time though. Never at night.

At night you could always find me in my own house. Safe, warm and comfortable. My parents loved me and I felt safe in my house. Of course you could say as many times as I was visiting the so-called haunted house that it became my home away from home. My place to go to be alone and collect my thoughts. Leave some of my thoughts there. Come out a new person, but I left a part of me in that house each time I went.

It wasn’t long before I was sneaking out of my home and going to my haunted house at night. I couldn’t help it. I loved being the only one there. The only one that knew I was spending so much time there was me. I loved that sometimes when I went there would be a new room or two to explore. I never questioned how they got there. Part of the mystery of a haunted house I thought.

I started to withdraw from my friends so I could spend more time there. I could explore my house for hours on end, always something new but I could also go back and remember. Remember the who, what, why,  where and when of the first time I opened this door or that door. Remember when I was so scared I slammed that door closed, only to peek back in a few weeks later. No door was ever sealed shut. I could visit anytime I would visit the house.

The problem came when I couldn’t resist the house anymore. It just kept luring me in. Like it was calling out to me. Come on in, it is safe here. You don’t need anyone else. Just you and your thoughts, that’s all you need. No one will hurt you in here.

Comfort. I found comfort in that house. I should’ve bought the place and moved in. Saved me from going there all the time. It was on one of these trips that I met someone. A man like I had never met before. He told me to stop going to the haunted house. There is nothing there for me. How did he know was my first thought? My second thought was who cares who he is. This was my world and my house and he was just an intruder. Another person out to get me.

A couple days later I was going back to the house and there he was. Sitting on the front steps. The same steps I first went up when I was eight, except they didn’t look so scary anymore. They almost looked warm and inviting. Anyway, back to my guest. There he was. “How did you get here,” I asked. “I’ve been watching you for years,” he said. What kind of person is this?  I then bluntly told him to leave. He wasn’t welcome here. He told me he couldn’t do that. He was here to help me leave this place, leave it for good.

No way. This is my place. My home. He had no right to ask me to leave it.

But he got me thinking. In my experience, that is never a good thing. I would rather just go to my house and leave my thoughts in one of the rooms.

I walked on by him and he got up and followed me in. “Look at your prison,” he said. “My prison? This is my house,” I corrected him.  “No”, he said, “I have a much better house for you. Want to see it?”

“Not really sure,” I said, “I like this place.”

“Here take my hand and I will show you,” he said. I don’t know why but I reached out for his hand and….all the doors opened. All the doors in my house flew open and everything that was in them came pouring out.

I screamed, “let me go!!” I pulled my hand away and ran. This wasn’t my house. How did all these things get in here? Why was he letting them all out? I tried to shut the doors but they would not close. I fell to my knees and let them overtake me. But they didn’t touch me. They all poured into him. He took them all. All my good and all my bad. All my pretty and all my ugly. They all poured into him.

I watched, mesmerized. It seemed like it lasted for hours but it couldn’t have been more than a few seconds. How could I let all this stuff in my house? I watched as everything flew out. Things I forgot I put in the rooms. Things that kept me a prisoner in my house. Fear, lots of rooms full of fear. Anxiety, worry, hurt all leaving my house. Negative thoughts and lies I believed to numb the pain all gone. Depression, shame, guilt- all gone. Anger and hate, see you later. Regrets, doubts about who I am, lies, distrust, unforgiveness, all gone.

You might ask what was left but you already know. Love was left. A love that told me I didn’t need to live in this house. A love that told me I was forgiven. A love that showed me who I am. A love that told me to unlock those doors and throw away the key. A love that told me my house isn’t haunted. A love that told me I could’ve left that house anytime I wanted. A love that told me I never had to build that house.

Mansion by NF – 

My Own Prison by Creed – 

Empire In My Mind by The Wallflowers – 

Demons by Imagine Dragons – 

Baptize My Mind by Jon Foreman – 

Change Your Mind by Sister Hazel – 

Keep Your Mind Wide Open by Annasophia Robb – 

Outta My Mind by Anthem Lights – 

Voices by Sumerlin – 

March Out Of The Darkness by Papa Roach – 

Out Of Mind by Queensryche – 

Immortal

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We rejoiced in another battle won. We have fought many over the last few months but this one was not only of joy but sorrow.  We lost many good men today, and I take the blame.  I am their leader and I did not lead well today. Something was wrong with me.

Looking back on my lifetime, I have fought many battles and I have never, not ever, not even once been nicked, scratched, cut or anything. I have walked away from all those battles unscathed. I have had men die, but they were far and few between. I have fought battles alone and never lost.  The enemy could not touch me.

Some say God must have His hand on me. Some say that I am extremely lucky.  I don’t believe in luck.

I have walked into cities that were destroyed by the black plague and I did not get sick. I have walked into small villages that were so decrepit that stray dogs would not even live there.  In fact, I have never been sick a day in my life. Not a cough, not a fever,  not even a single sniffle.

That all changed three days ago.

A few of my men and I were relaxing and drinking a few at the local bar. We parted ways and I started to go down an alley I had walked down hundreds of times. Immediately, the hairs on my arms and neck stood up. Something didn’t feel right. I drew my sword, prepared for battle. Two demons jumped from the shadows. I easily disposed of the first one. As I faced off against the second one, a thought came into my head. One that I never had before.

You can not win this one.

It came and was gone just as fast but it stopped me in my tracks. And in that second of delay, the demon swung his arm. I ducked but his long fingernails grazed my arm.  I came back at it with an uppercut and then my sword sliced through his neck.  His headless body fell at my feet and I was victorious again.

It was then I noticed I had been cut. My arm was bleeding.  For the first time in my life, I felt pain.

I fell asleep that night and woke in a cold sweat. Nightmares came to me and I could not escape them. I could not fall back asleep. My heart was beating out of my chest and my head was on fire. I tried to get out of bed but my legs would not cooperate. I fell to the floor. I stayed there until the morning light.

Morning came and it was like nothing had happened. I picked myself up off the floor. My heart was beating normal, the fever gone.  My strength was back.  I wondered if it had all been a nightmare. My imagination was running wild.

It was Wednesday. Drill day.  Every Wednesday when we were not in battle, my men and I had drill day. We went through the basic fundamentals of battle. Defense, offense, blocks, attacks, etc.  We also did obstacle runs and uphill runs to make us stronger, to have more endurance than our enemy.  I ran circles around my men. No one could ever keep up.  But today, I had nothing. Halfway through I dropped to my knees, out of breath. Out of energy.  What the heck?  My men teased me until they saw my face. I was pale as a ghost. I fell on my back and grabbed my cut arm. It felt like it was on fire. My heart was racing. My men picked me up and we walked back to town. What was going on?

Then I heard the voice again, you can not win this one.

You don’t know who I am,  I conquer everything and everyone, I replied to no one.

The next day we were attacked like we had never been attacked. So many demons. The battle lasted for two days and I made many mistakes. I could not think straight. I could not lead my men, I had no strength to do so.  I should’ve put my second in command to the front, to lead, but I was too proud. I kept telling myself I can get through this like I have so many other battles.  But this wasn’t like any other battle.  We won but we lost a lot of men.  A lot of good men and it’s all on me.

The fevers kept coming, my head was on fire.  My heart beat irregularly. I couldn’t catch my breath if I walked more than a minute. Yet, I was too stubborn to see the sorceress or the doctor.  Only weak people go to them. But yet, I could not shake what was happening to me.

You can not win this one.

I was getting sick of this voice. But I was getting more worried about the shape I was in. My people needed me, my town needed me. I had to give up and seek help. I could not do this on my own.  I went to the doctor and all their fancy machines, medicine, and spells. I listened closely, the rest of my life depended on what they told me I had to do.

I am slowly getting better, but I have let others lead my men to battle. I have taken a step back so I can take a few steps forward. It is a long road to recovery, but the doctors say I will make it.

I have come to realize that I am only a mortal man. A man who knows I can only be immortal when I pass this from this life to meet my maker.

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As I was writing part of this, I was listening to the new Building 429 cd and this song came on. Funny how God works.

Joy Unspeakable by Building 429- 

Soul’s Anthem ( It Is Well) by Tori Kelly – 

Miracle Or Not by Alisa Turner – 

More Than Gonna Make It by Alisa Turner – 

Long Year by Jackie Lee – 

 

 

A Tree That Touched The Sky

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I saw a tree that touched the sky

It hurt my neck to look up so high

I wondered if I could climb to the top

But after a few feet, I had to stop

Doubt crossed my mind, am I worthy?

I think I am a little too dirty

What if I went a few more feet?

I wondered just what I would see

But another doubt, am I good enough?

Am I really worthy of love?

But a voice from somewhere inside

Told me to continue to climb

A quarter of the way up a whisper so small

What are you doing? Don’t you know you could fall?

Somewhere inside something told me not to fear

Don’t look down because the top is almost near

Halfway up I grew weary and tired

Voices everywhere telling me he’s a liar

Do you really believe he forgives?

Look at how you have lived!

So many wrongs, so many mistakes

Half your life you’ve been a fake

I reach for another branch, I must continue

Leave the past in my rear view

Why do you continue to climb?

What is it you are looking to find?

A voice says it’s not that far down

Let’s get back to solid ground

Another voice says you are almost there

It’s getting harder to breathe with this thin air

Maybe I should turn around

Back to the earth so green and brown

But something pushes me to go higher

I swear I can hear an angel’s choir

Three fourths the way I have climbed

Pushing onward, I am no longer blind

The negative voices telling me I must stop

Are still there but I listen not

I know why I found this tree

But this knowledge isn’t only for me

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I must tell you of all the truth I have acquired

On this journey where I had all my heart desired

But nothing ever seemed to satisfy

I was always searching but empty inside

I learned more the closer I got to the top

About grace and forgiveness and a true love

A few more branches, just a stone’s throw

When I heard a voice from a long time ago

Give it up, you are not good enough

Look at you, so unworthy of love

Do you really believe you can change?

Why don’t you turn around, reverse your way?

You are ugly and you have a terrible past

Even if you find love, it won’t last

The tree offered me another of its arms

I climbed higher, knowing there would be no harm

I knew in that instant my past did not define

The future was there for me to climb

Another branch or two

I was that much closer to the truth

But I felt the tree start to sway

I wondered if this is why so many walk away?

When the tree sways, people become afraid

So, way up here, I started to pray

For those in mansions, homeless on the streets

For those that always seem to win and those who are always beat

For those that are addicted to fight their pain

For those that have so much more to gain

I prayed for things unseen and those that are seen

I prayed for you and I prayed for me

Forgive me for what I’ve done

Into your arms I want to run

I no longer want to hide my face

I want to accept your love and grace

If you could help me climb a little more

I know I will never be who I was before

Then I felt a hand grab mine

He pulled me up to finish my climb

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Dear God by Hunter Hayes-  

Breakthrough by Chris McClarney – 

Here I Am by Lincoln Brewster – 

Breaking Point by Sanctus Real – 

Days Gone By by Hillsong Young & Free – 

From The Top Of The World

From the bottom of hell and on my knees

My rotting soul in the air I breathe

I hold my breath, want my lungs to explode

Fighting my mind from mistakes made a long time ago

I claw at my chest, want to rip out my heart

From this world I want to depart

I poke at my eyes, I no longer want to see

I’m sorry for things I’ve done but I can’t forgive me

I’ve become cold, heartless, and callous

Nothing but empty rooms in this palace

In this palace the demons say the lies are truth, they insist

From the darkness of hell they tell me the light does not exist

From the bottom of hell and on my knees

I find the strength to whisper please God, please

From the bottom of hell I give you my sins, my shame

From the top of the world you whisper my name

From the top of the world you shout my name

Hermie The Hermit Crab

“Come on in friend. I was just reminiscing on my younger days. Looking at all these old pictures brings back memories.”

“Take a look at this one. I was just a baby. My first shell.”

“I still relied on my parents a lot. They taught me what was going to happen as I got older. They taught me how to be polite and how to treat my friends, as well as strangers. One of my favorite things my parents taught me was to be kind to everyone. Treat others as you would want them to treat you. You never know when you are going to need someone to help you and they won’t if you are mean all the time.”

“Oops. You weren’t supposed to see that one. My mom took it in between shells. She embarrassed me so many times by showing that one to my friends.  Moooommmmm!!!!!!”

 

“Here is me as a teenager. That shell was a little too small for me. I thought I knew it all then. I forgot how my parents told me how important it was to get the right shell. Too small and I will have to move again soon.  Too big and I would have to carry that weight around until I could fill it.”

“That didn’t keep me from getting this shell as a young adult. Look how big it is.”

” I got it shortly after I left the care of my parents. I was going to take on the world. I didn’t need anything or anyone except me. I was growing so fast I was constantly changing shells. I was invincible.  I ran over anyone who stood in my way.”

“Then I needed someone. Everyone just walked around me. That’s when I remembered what my parents had taught me.  I was being terribly mean to everyone around me. It’s no excuse but it wasn’t easy for me to change shells. Every time I got comfortable and things were going my way I would grow a little more and have to leave my comfortable home. ”

“All I wanted was to have things stay the same. I liked many a shell and had to leave them. Some of my friends didn’t grow like I did and were able to settle into their shells for far longer times. Some even stayed in the same shell their entire lives.  They were too scared to leave and to grow into a new shell. Can you believe that? ”

“I, however, changed each time I changed my shell. Not all of those changes were good but, looking back, I can see how they all helped me become who I am today. I have become wiser , kinder, and more giving. You see , as I moved out of a shell that left a shell for someone else to move into. A younger version of me if you think about it. I could mentor them and teach them what I have been taught.”

“Life isn’t always sunshine on a beach. Sometimes you get these big waves, and sometimes the small ones too, that knock you on your back.  You have to fight to get back on your feet. Fight for what you believe in. Become a stronger, better crab.”

“Have you ever had someone be there for you every time you needed them? I didn’t think I did either but I did. And I do.”

“You see, one day I was just getting into a new shell when some humans were walking by. I heard them talking about God. How he made the sunrises and the sunsets I see every day. They were telling their children about how much he loved them. How he is always with them. When they are tired he can carry them. When they struggle he can help them overcome. They told them about his grace and how he forgives them for their mistakes. They even told them about who they are in him. That no matter what happens in this world, they are his children and they are loved and cherished by him. He even gave his one and only son to them and let him die on a cross  to show how much he loved them. ”

“I wish I would’ve heard about God a lot sooner in my life. Maybe I wouldn’t have made a lot of the mistakes I did. I would’ve known that I didn’t have to live with those mistakes. I could live guilt and shame free and be forgiven.”

“I will also tell you God has a plan for me, and for you. Even in times of struggle, stay true to Him and His promises. Some of the hardest times in my life turned out to be blessings. I learned so much about who I am when I had to leave one shell for another. The moments when I was vulnerable and felt unprotected. The times when the shell didn’t fit just right but I had to hold on and wait for a better day. Those are the the times I remember the most.”

“Now that I have told you about what I know about God will you go tell your friends.  Let’s learn more about Him together. Let’s go treat others like we want to be treated. It’ll be hard and some will reject what we have to say but we have to stay steadfast. Stay true my friend, stay true.”

Save Me by Jason Lancaster – 

Everything Comes Alive by We Are The Messengers – 

Say The Word by Hillsong United – 

Thy Will by Hillary Scott –  

Greater Is He by  Blanca –  

Diamonds by Hawk Nelson –  

The God I Know by Love and the Outcome –  

Live It Well by Switchfoot –  

Blessings by Laura Story –