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 – 

She Doesn’t

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She doesn’t step on a crack

Afraid it’ll break her mother’s back

She doesn’t open an umbrella in the house

Doesn’t need more bad luck than she has now

She doesn’t make any funny faces

Afraid it’ll get stuck that way

She doesn’t walk in a black cat’s path

She’ll turn around, walk all the way back

She doesn’t walk under a ladder

She doesn’t think she can be any sadder

She doesn’t believe her wishes will come true

But she’ll throw a penny in a wishing well, sometimes two

 

She doesn’t care if others think she is deceived

She carries around a four leaf clover and some rabbits feet

She doesn’t cross her fingers or knock on wood

Seen so much bad she doesn’t believe in good

She doesn’t smile very much

Does her best not to judge

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She doesn’t know about the man who died to save her

I saw her one day and told her about her maker

She didn’t want to hear any part

I prayer for her, prayed for her heart

A few weeks passed until I saw her again

She didn’t want to hear about Jesus, my friend

I asked her if we could just talk

She agreed and we started to walk

We talked about little things, like our jobs and the weather

She seemed to enjoy our walks together

She doesn’t trust most of those she meets

She slowly let her walls down over the weeks

I told her how I was once like her

Then someone told me about our savior

It wasn’t much longer until she said she wanted to hear more

More about this man I had mentioned before

I told of the words I knew

Gave her a Bible so she could read too

She doesn’t live like she did

She has a new way to live

She doesn’t believe in all that superstition

She has taken a new direction, a new mission

She doesn’t care about her past mistakes

She doesn’t remember her heartbreaks

She doesn’t live like she’s unloved

She knows she’s forgiven, she knows of grace from above

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Dmitri’s Song (Jesus Is Alive) by Todd Smith – 

Tell Somebody by Unspoken – 

Learning To Be Found by Jason Gray – 

I’ve Seen What He Can Do by Aaron and Amanda Crabb – 

What I Know by Tricia Brock – 

Echo by Blanca – 

The Funhouse Of Mirrors

sites at the local fair ground - I never liked to funhouse.  But if I was with friends I went in them and rode rides anyway.  Nana

“Step right up, come on in, only a dollar” shouted the carny. He looked right at me and my friends. “Come on in boys, this will change your life” and he winked at me. I don’t know but my gut was telling me something was wrong. My friends wanted to go in and since I didn’t want to be left out, I went in with them.

It wasn’t much at first. A conveyor belt going the opposite direction. Oooh scary right? We made a tight turn to the right and the floor started shaking. Everyone started to laugh but the feeling inside me was getting worse. It was then the lights went out. We started reaching out, touching each other to make sure we were all still there. We slowly inched forward and hit a wall, promptly piling into each other.  Then the lights came on and that was when the fun began.

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We were looking at ourselves, all four versions of each of us. We looked at each other like what the crap, a couple of my friends used some other choice words. In one mirror there was me, looking as normal as I am now, if you can call that normal. In the second mirror I was a hideous monster. What the heck? The third mirror I was a baseball player, uniform, glove and all. How could this be? I only was wearing the clothes I came in with. The fourth mirror showed me as an old, decrepit old man, all by myself. It was then we realized there was no exit. We did the only thing we could and started to push on the mirrors. The only one that moved was the second one. We all looked at each other and kind of shrugged and took a step through. But we weren’t all together on the other side.

There I was, the hideous monster. I pulled on my skin and clothes to get them to come off but they were me and I was them. It was then I noticed a small light in the distance. I walked toward it and saw it was a cell phone. It had a note on it. PRESS PLAY. What I saw disgusted me and I wish I didn’t have to tell you about it, but I do. It was 15 second clips of my life. There was me eight years old pushing the other kids down on the playground. There was me twelve years old stealing a cassette from the local music store. There was me sixteen years old with my girlfriend. We were in the backseat and she said she wasn’t ready but I said we had already gone too far so let’s keep going. There was me at nineteen at a college party when a bunch of guys took a passed out girl upstairs and I didn’t stop them. There was me at twenty two when I didn’t take the keys from my friend and he drove home drunk, but he didn’t make it. There was me at home instead of visiting my dad before he passed away. There was me watching a movie instead of calling a friend who was home alone, waiting for me to call. There was me ignoring my wife because of past mistakes. Was I really this monster? Is this how others see me?

Then we were all back in the same room of mirrors. We all looked at each other like what was that? No one was laughing now. We pushed on the mirrors again but only the third one opened this time.

There I was, at Wrigley Field, pitching for the Cubs. The crowd was chanting my name. Oh yeah, this is what I was made for. They all love me. I was on the mound, World Series, game seven, bottom of the ninth, two outs, two on, two strikes. One more strike and I bring a championship to Chicago. The wind up, the pitch…and I heard it. My shoulder popped. Then I heard the crack of the bat as it connected to the ball. Then I heard the silence. Just like that it was all over. The game, my career, my life. I was so angry. I was mad at God. How could He bring me to this moment and then let it all go? One pitch. It was all over. What kind of God would do that to me? I shut everyone out. I drank myself to sleep every night. I didn’t know the women’s names I would wake up to. I didn’t care. I went from 60,000 people screaming my name to the deafening silence of my own thoughts.

There we were again. All six of us in the same room of mirrors. Mark said that wasn’t so bad. “Let’s get this over with,” said Scott. We looked at each other and hesitantly stepped into the fourth mirror.

There I was. A decrepit old man. No one there but me. A lifetime of choices led me to here. A lifetime of bad choices. How did I get here? I was a good guy once. I believed in God, once upon a time. I looked in the mirror and the mirror looked back. Was this really me? Then I was gone. There in my casket, all by myself. Honestly, all by myself. No one came to say goodbye. Not one single person! Was I that unloveable and selfish? Was I really that bad of a person? I guess the truth hurts because I must’ve been for not one single person to show up.

We were all back in the room of mirrors. A couple of my friends said how cool their mirrors were. They hope their lives turn out like that. I didn’t have anything to say. This time the first mirror, the normal mirror, opened and we walked through. A couple turns and a few distorted mirrors later we were at the exit.

“Hey boys, how’d you like it? Did you like what you saw?” said the carny. “The mirrors don’t lie boys. If you didn’t like what you saw, you still have time to do something about it.” That was when he looked at me again and winked and gave me something. I was too terrified to look at it so I stuck it in my pocket and left. He turned around and started shouting , “step right up boys and girls, come on in, only a dollar and it will change your life.”

I forgot about what he gave me until I got home and undressed. It fell out of my pocket. A small bible with a note inside. Read this if you want to change your life. Read this if you didn’t like what you saw in the mirrors. It is your choice.

Monster by Skillet – 

All Of Me by Meatloaf – 

Ain’t Much Left Of Me by Blackberry Smoke – 

These Things I Hate (Revolves Around Me) by Bullet For My Valentine – 

Chip Away by Julliet – 

Hate Me by Blue October – 

Faces by One Less Reason – 

Objects In The Rearview Mirror by Meatloaf – 

I’ll Find Me by Steve Azar – 

Sing by Waiting Hill – 

I Remember Me by Jennifer Hudson –  

I Hope They Get To Me In Time by Darius Rucker – 

Mirrors by Justin Timberlake – 

Funhouse Mirror by Jill K – 

I Choose You by Point of Grace – 

The Maze

I was shivering. Strange, since when I went to bed I put an extra blanket on and set the thermostat to heat up the house at 6:00. I then realized I was also wet. I startled awake only to realize I wasn’t in my warm bed. I was in some type of… give me a minute to look around. I was in some type of maze. Confused, bewildered, baffled, were some of the words that came to mind. I had to be dreaming, but I wasn’t.

I yelled out, but no one answered. I did the only thing I could and started to walk. Around this bend, turn left here, turn right there, dead end, start again. I then saw a note up ahead. I read it: If you have ever lied turn left at the next turn.  Well yeah I have lied, who hasn’t? I came to the turn and went left. After about 200 yards or so I found another note. If you have ever stolen anything, turn left again. Unfortunately, I had to turn left. I kept walking for another 200 yards and yet another note. If you have ever dishonored your mother or father turn left again.  Well, to be honest I am sure I have but if I did maybe it was just something little like talking back or missing curfew. Guess my answer was already made for me because the only way I could turn was left.

I know I just walked in a square but yet I was someplace new. Hanging up at the end of this walkway was a mirror. As soon as I looked into it I heard the voices. You are ugly. You aren’t good enough. No one likes you. Your kids don’t even like you. Look at your body, what have you done to it. You are a disgrace. Why are you even alive?

I covered my face with my hands and ran. I ran as fast and as far as I could but I could not get the voices out of my head. I came to another intersection.

Have you ever committed adultery? Well. Not physically. Then another voice: that doesn’t matter. Have you or haven’t you? Okay, yes I have! Correct. Go right.

Have you ever murdered someone? Of course not, I said. Are you sure about that? Yes, I am positive on that one. Then the images came to me like it was yesterday. The girl I talked into sleeping with me. She was so young and innocent. I wanted her. She said no but eventually I wore her down and she gave in. I murdered a piece of her that night. I murdered a piece of the boy I used to make fun of because he wasn’t like me. Oh God! Make this stop. Good try! God isn’t here and he isn’t coming. This is my world and you are just a pawn in it.  Go right.

Have you ever worshiped someone other than your so called God? Have you ever used your so called Gods name in vain?  Have you ever ….  GO RIGHT I SAID!

NO!! I screamed. I don’t have to listen to you. I don’t have to go where you want me to. I can break this. I can walk away. You are a liar.

No, you can’t. Remember you are a nobody. No one likes you, except me. You are what I need to change this world.  YOU can follow me, YOU can rule the world with me. YOU can turn stones into bread. YOU can jump off a building and angels will catch you. I can make you into the most powerful person in this world. TURN RIGHT!!

No, that’s where you are wrong. I don’t want to be the most powerful person in the world. I don’t need to be liked by everyone because I know God loves me. I don’t need your lies. I just need to follow the truth. With that last word I sprinted as fast as I could, to the left, and ran and ran for what seemed like days. I didn’t realize that the maze was disappearing as I ran. I was breaking free from the chains that bind me. By the time I stopped it was all gone.

I fell to the ground. Exhausted. Sweating. Breathing hard. I didn’t hear the footsteps come up beside me. Maybe there wasn’t any. I heard his voice. The one I have heard many times throughout my life but ignored. I felt him kneel beside me. I felt his hand on mine. I heard him say well done. I heard him say I love you. I heard him say I want you. I heard him say you belong with me.

He picked me up and walked me back home. He said trust in me. Have faith in me. Love me. And just like that he was gone. But was he really?

Breaking Inside by Shinedown – 

It’s A Maze from the Secret Garden – 

Lost by Red – 

Lost and Found by Rocket to the Moon – 

Come and Lead Me by Danielle and Mackenzie – 

You Set Me Free by Angie Miller – 

You’re Not Alone by Owl City – 

Lead Me To The Cross by Hillsong – 

Impossible by Sidewalk Prophets – 

Lost Get Found by Britt Nicole – 

Changed by The Katinas –