A Heartfelt Mind-Meld: Brokenness

Have you felt the pain inflicted by the Lord? — “He said to him the third time, ‘…do you love Me?'” (John 21:17)  Have you ever felt the pain, inflicted by the Lord, at the very center of your being, deep down in the most sensitive area of your life?  The devil never inflicts pain there, and neither can sin nor human emotions.  Nothing can cut through to that part of our being but the Word of God … Oh, the wonder of the patient directness and skill of Jesus Christ with Peter!  Our Lord never asks questions until the perfect time.  Rarely, but probably once in each of our lives, He will back us into a corner where He will hurt us with His piercing questions.  Then we will realize that we do love Him far more deeply than our words can ever say. – Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, March 2

April 16, 2010, I was moving a bookcase, rearranging the house, in preparation of my son’s birthday party.  My mind was still reeling with what all had happened.  The week prior, we had the initial meeting with the court where everyone got on the phone regarding the Legal Separation I had filed, understanding that to be the only way of protecting my children from their Mom just picking them up someday and running off.  I had expected her to get on the call and request that we drop the Legal Separation, get into counseling, or any number of ways to end this situation immediately!  Instead, she got on the call, stating her intentions to go forward, and her response included a legally-shrouded request (long-story short) for a divorce.

On April 16, moving the books, I came across my Chambers devotional, My Utmost for His Highest.  I thought, “I just wonder what this says for the night she left.”  I read the above and fell into a heap of tears.  It had never struck me that all I was going through could be an expression of God’s love.  And then I wrestled with this strange love that goes against my flesh!  Ha ha.   Did you catch that?  It took me a few months or so to fully catch it.  My problem with this being an expression of God’s love was because I was exalting myself above His plan.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Why did I call this post Brokenness?  Because that is what such times are all about.  Especially for us men, God seems to be catapulting, exploding us out of a deep sleep we have fallen into.  I continue to run into men who have lost their marriages; either the wife has taken off, has chosen to end the relationship, has separated from him, or is still in an in-and-out relationship with him.  And the common theme I find is brokenness.

When we are broken, we become useful to God.  If we have everything put together, we tend to become prideful in some manner and we begin to lose our dependence on God.  Yet, the greater reason (I think), which may be the only visible reason in some cases, is to expand the Gospel.  First, let me illustrate this through Scripture, and then I will give two examples from my own life.

A bruised reed He will not break and a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish; He will faithfully bring forth justice. – Isaiah 42:3

God is faithful not to take us beyond what we can bear, but He is also the Master Potter and must make the pot what He so pleases for it to be (if you are not a believer, then I cannot guarantee how much of this will apply to you). I encourage you to look up the definitions of broken, as they are enlightening given the Scriptures here, but with that, we move on a bit.

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart— These, O God, You will not despise. – Psalm 51:17

Jesus said to them, “Did you never read in the Scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, this became the chief corner stone; this came about from the Lord, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?

Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people, producing the fruit of it. And he who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will scatter him like dust.”  – Matthew 21:42-44

It is less about God breaking us and more about us realizing how broken we already are!  Now, please don’t hear me wrong!  I’m not getting into a ooey gooey bunch of tripe about how God is all about self-realization.  I would hope the rest of my blog proves that’s not true, but what is true is how fallen and broken we are!  Jesus comes to us and says, “Look, you’re broken!  You can either accept this (fall on this stone), and we can start working on putting you together rightly or you can fight this and be destroyed in Hell (on whomever it falls…).  So, consider the love that God is willing to bring this to light rather than let you rot in your sins and failure.

But even more than that, God is building a beautiful creation out of you.

Then I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something on the wheel. But the vessel that he was making of clay was spoiled in the hand of the potter; so he remade it into another vessel, as it pleased the potter to make.

Then the word of the Lord came to me saying, “Can I not, O house of Israel, deal with you as this potter does?” declares the Lord. “Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel. At one moment I might speak concerning a nation or concerning a kingdom to uproot, to pull down, or to destroy it; if that nation against which I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent concerning the calamity I planned to bring on it. Or at another moment I might speak concerning a nation or concerning a kingdom to build up or to plant it; if it does evil in My sight by not obeying My voice, then I will think better of the good with which I had promised to bless it. – Jeremiah 18:3-10

I highly encourage you, if ever you have the chance, to see Potter’s Field Ministries put on their study.  The first time I saw what a Master Potter does, so much of how God works in my life made sense.  Nonetheless, I want to draw your attention to verse 4 above, “But the vessel that he was making of clay was spoiled in the hand of the potter; so he remade it into another vessel, as it pleased the potter to make.”  It does not matter how bad off your life has become, no matter what caused your spouse to leave or you to leave her, you can still be redeemed by God and He can still work in your life!  He is such an amazing God that, like a Master Potter, there is nothing you can do that He cannot work into His masterpiece!

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death works in us, but life in you. – 2 Corinthians 4:7-12

Here is the deepest purpose of trials.  In the process of trials, we are cracked open, the pot is broken such that the treasure inside can come through!  By our trials, our faith is revealed, and God will use that to affect others with the Gospel, spelled out in your walk through a virtual hell.  We suffer that others may know Him.  Our suffering grants us both an incomprehensible example to the world (how can one stand under such grief?) and ticket by which we may speak into their lives by their questions, their requests for advice when they face trials after watching us survive, and by the compassion we gain through knowing the pain that trial caused in us.  While I don’t want to spend all our time fleshing this out, a good friend of mine, Pastor Shawn Reinsel of White Flag Calvary does a great job of it in this video, it’s just over 6 minutes! (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=beSlPShlM1c)

And to give you a few examples from my own life, in my own situation, I got an incredible opportunity to share the Gospel with my co-workers.  God worked mightily, amazing my co-workers at my level of effort and quality of work amidst such pain.  They could not understand how I could stand under this trial.  In the midst of that, they began to ask me questions, seeking to help me and understand what I was going through; by the time they left, they understood more and had been given the Gospel.  It was incredible!  While I would love to say that I saw people saved directly through this, I can’t.  I did, however, hear accounts of how my example changed lives, strengthened marriages, and encouraged wayward believers to press into Jesus.

Since then, I have had the distinct privilege to counsel some men who have had to endure such trials, of all different walks and outcomes.  By God’s grace, He has used me to comfort these men and provide His wisdom to encourage their walk in the tougher times.  Honestly, sometimes that means just being a shoulder to cry on.  Yeah…it’s ok to cry!  =)  I know it sounds goofy to some, but I know there’s someone out there who needs to hear it, that it is ok for you to cry about this.

Two final thoughts before I end this already long post.  First, don’t just sit back and “let” God have His way, but step up and engage Him on what He wants.  Step into the path He wants for you and step up to the sanding block.  Engage Him so His work can be accomplished without Him having to move you!  Second, I want to repeat that it is ok to cry.   It is ok to pound on the chest of God, to question why and to beg for what you want (the widow and the unrighteous judge, Luke 18:1-8).  It is ok!  He can take it!  The only thing I say to you is to remember He doesn’t owe you the “why?” answer, and remember who He is and what He has done for you.  Don’t let that be a condemnation, just a caution.  I have allowed myself to be deceived into not saying anything, until He broke my walls down and the sorrows gushed forth.  So let Him hear, let Him heal, and press into His plan, into Him!

And with that, I will let you simmer and let Him speak further whatever He desires to say.

Questions, comments, corrections, please use the comments and be respectful (as opposed to kind, you can be harsh, just be respectful!  =D)

If you have read this post and don’t know Jesus, I cannot stress enough how much you need to know Him and right now!  We are never guaranteed tomorrow, so now is the time to commit your life to Him!   If you are here, and you have never accepted Him into your life or if you are here, and you desperately need to walk with Him again, then may I have the privilege to give you a little prayer you may say? This prayer, itself, has no power to save you! The words you say must echo in your heart and mind. The Bible says, “If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raise Him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9) So, it is your faith in Jesus payment that truly saves you, but here’s a way to pray and receive Jesus’ payment for you:

God, I know I have sinned. I have failed to live as you asked me to live. I cannot be perfect. I trust Jesus paid my price by His death on the cross and His resurrection three days later. I want You to be in control of my life. Thank You for all You have done for me! Please help me to live for You.

And that’s it, dear reader! Welcome to the Family of God! But I must warn you, the Devil is real too, and he will try to steal this truth and life from you. So, I encourage you to find a church in your area to grow within. I am personally a bit biased toward Calvary Chapels since I’ve always found them to be solid churches. For more on this, I refer you to a previous post:  A Heartfelt Mind-Meld: The Truth That Changes Things…  At the bottom, you’ll find more information on how to get plugged into a solid congregation.

Vires et Honorem

1 Corinthians 5:10

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Over the years, I have often sought out Men’s Bible Studies at my church for the purpose of fellowship with other men and growing with God.  I encourage you to find a Men’s Bible Study that you can attend, even if only for a bit.   As guys, we need to be around other guys because it sharpens us.  Other men will often see in us what we have trained ourselves to ignore and cover.  They will also challenge us, as we see what other men are able to do.  A good Men’s Bible Study should encourage you where you are and stretch you to be more of a man of God than you ever thought possible.

Recently, one such Bible study has been going through a condensed version of Counseling God’s Way by Bob Hoekstra (for the online courses, you can go here).  The essential point of Hoekstra’s book and course is teaching a man or woman how to counsel someone in a way that glorifies God, namely that the only tool one needs to counsel someone is the Bible.  In the process of discussing this, Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs came up.

Looking upon Maslow’s triangle (well-known to many college graduates and to psychology students), God struck me with an incredible thought.  Maslow’s Hierarchy falls apart in the light of the Gospel.  Maslow talks of multiple needs, but all of mankind’s needs boil down into one real need; we need Jesus.  The Word of God actually blows Maslow’s Hierarchy out of the water.  It entirely crumbles!

In Philippians 4:11-12, Paul says, “Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.”

The incredible reality is that mankind really only has one need: Jesus.  If I have Jesus, it doesn’t matter if I am hungry or full.  I will be blessed and content because I am fixed on Him. If I have Jesus, it doesn’t matter if I am lifted up or crushed because I am fixed on Him.  I trust Him to provide for my needs, be it with money to buy what I need or bringing my needs through some other channel.  If I am lifted up, I praise Him.  If I am crushed, I thank Him for being my worth and for calling me worthy!  If  I am without, I trust in His provision and do not worry.  If I am abundantly blessed, I am blessed to give to others.

Maslow’s Hierarchy has no way to account for this, and it crumbles in the face of the only true need of mankind, the need of a relationship with the One True God of All, Jesus.

This is why I keep pointing you back to Jesus.  To be clear, I am not trying to diminish the pain you may be going through!  Not in the least!  My own testimony of the shock of my divorce includes the fact that I technically should not be alive.  The amount of nicotine, energy drinks, and coffee that I was consuming to stay fully functional was incredible!  God bless my boss who would find me asleep at my desk some days and let me rest there.  Pain is real!  It frackin’ hurts, dadgummit!!!!  IT HURTS!

What I am saying is that when we focus on our pain, it will not get better.  When we focus on ourselves, we will fall short and the pain will often get worse, or we will seek out destructive means to quell the pain (sex, pornography, alcohol, drugs, food, etc.).  Instead, if we will set our eyes upon Jesus, He can begin healing us.  Love can grow within us; forgiveness can become a reality.  Most of all, we’ll find our needs being met, often in ways that defy common thought or logic.  I cannot tell you how many times I had a need that was suddenly fulfilled by someone who felt impressed by God to do something, be it food, clothing, or shelter!

But even without these “needs” met, with our perspective squarely fixed on Jesus, we will be where we should be, in Him.  And as men firmly fixed within Jesus, we will be able to see our situations with new eyes.  We will become reflections of Jesus, and “the things of this world will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.”  I speak not from lofty halls of thought, but from the trenches of life.  I have seen that which I speak of!

Vires et Honorem

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A Heartfelt Mind-Meld: Who Are You?

In the 1987 Robocop flick, there is a scene that resonates in my mind to this very day. In it, one of the criminals who killed Officer Murphy (who is now Robocop) is knocking over a gas station. Robocop shows up, having seen the robbery from the highway he’s driving on.

As he approaches, the criminal pulls a gun on him and Robocop responds, “Drop it! Dead or alive, you’re coming with me!” This triggers the criminals memory of Officer Murphy saying the same thing. The criminal then responds with “I know you! You’re dead! We killed you! We killed you!” and begins firing his automatic weapon. The exchange next begins with the gas station being blown up and ends with the criminal flipping over the handlebars of his motorcycle and onto the road way.   Robocop picks him up and utters the line that is so firmly fixed in my memory, “Who are you?” In fact, he says it a couple of times with nothing more than guttural groans from the criminal.

To this day, anytime I hear someone say “Who are you,” I hear Robocop’s electronically tinged, bass voice say that line. It usually elicits a chuckle, but today, I think of it with a more serious tone.

Today, I ask this of you; who are you?

Now, don’t brush off that question. For some of you, your initial response is something of your job or that you’re a nice guy. For others of you, like I was back then, your response is something more like, “I don’t know!” That response may even be choked through tears.

When your spouse walks out or when they declare they want a divorce, the question is often asked, who am I now? I’m no longer a husband; so, what does that make me? Some are asking, can I even be a father now?  Am I even worth anything? I couldn’t keep my wife, what makes me able to do anything else? Oh the list can grow and the self-depreciation can begin. So, let me say it now, like Robocop: Drop it!

Who are you?

Jesus tells you who you are in many ways. If you know Him, I highly recommend you take this list (*http://bit.ly/1i83nQy) and go over it every morning. Don’t just read through it, ponder through it.   Consider what that means, look up the verses, and let the One who knows you best (and still loves you) speak into your very heart and soul. Let His love of you and who He says you are become your truest of identities.  Choose to live in the identity He has given you and don’t let that be taken from you.

If you choose not to follow Jesus, then I am at a bit of a loss. Without Jesus, life has no real meaning and your soul has no real healer. While you can find plenty of pleasure to cover the grief and plenty of things to try to build some meaning, you will ultimately find that it falls short of the truth Jesus brings to a life. I encourage you to take the opportunity to accept Him. The Bible says that if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. The Bible also encourages you, if you have done that, to confess your sins to God because He will forgive your sins and cleanse you from unrighteousness. Lastly, the Bible tells us that you were saved for good works. That doesn’t mean that now that you’re saved, you go do it on your own. Rather, now that you’re saved, watch for the opportunities God will place in your path to serve Him. And most of all, get into the Scriptures, the Word of God, the Bible. A good place to start is the Gospel of John, or you could grab the list above and begin studying your identity in Jesus.

Whether you are a new believer (Welcome to the family of God!) or a long time believer, I encourage you to grab the list above and start going through it.

As you walk the road of post-divorce or single-parenthood, the Devil will try to drag you down and make you feel like dirt. So, prepare yourself, learn how to wield the Sword of the Spirit (a term used in the Bible for the Bible) so that you can fend off the Devil’s attacks. Furthermore, you’ll reinforce the truth in your mind which will help you renew your mind (Romans 12:2). The more you submit yourself to the Truth of God’s Word, the more you can be used to bless others.

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light…” – 1 Peter 2:9

Vires et Honorem

* If you have trouble with the link, try this one (http://www.calvarybelmar.org/IdentityInJesus.pdf). Otherwise, it may have been taken down. If so, please leave a comment, and I will try to update with a good link.

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A Heartfelt Mind-Meld: The Time In Between

When my divorce happened, I was initially in a state of shock and denial. I thought, “any day now, she’s gonna wake up, realize what she’s doing, and we can get into counseling and move through this!” I thought for certain God was going to swoop in, perform a miracle, and this was going to be simply a used altar someday. Make no mistake, God performed many miracles, but restoring my marriage was not one of them. And for a long time, I didn’t know how to handle that.

My first thought was, “I know how to fix this! I’ll get married again!” Ha ha ha. Well, if you’ve been single for long enough to clear your head, you know how bad an idea that is. This is not to say that it can’t work for some, but that’s a very small some…maybe 1% of the population. I kept trying to leap out of my deep place and find a replacement wife. People would counsel me, “well, you need to be sure you’ve healed.” And they’d throw around timelines, “at least 1 year…at least 2 years…it took me 4 years…I was single for 10 years.” GAAHHHH!!! Not only did I not understand why I needed to wait so long, I felt completely constricted, almost suffocated (LITERALLY!) by these timelines. I would actually feel the need to grab at my throat and “go get some air” when someone tried to give me a timeline longer than a few months.

I couldn’t conceive of what I possibly had to learn in this millennia of singleness. Ha ha. That’s how it felt, but now, it seems a little funny. As I have disclosed, it has been four years. And yet, it seems it has gone by quickly. Four years ago, the thought of four years was unbearable. Now, I can’t believe I don’t have MORE time with my children. It pains me to think that in just twice that time, I will be watching my first begin working on his degree or his own business. What an incredible concept and strange power time is!

But I digress. Why am I talking about all of this?

Well, I didn’t understand the purpose of this time-in-between (look up Francesca Batistelli’s song Time In Between…wonderfully insightful!). Over time, though, I have begun to perceive positive ways to use this time, as I wait for whatever it is God has in-store (though I hope remarriage is in the not-too-distant future). Here are a few…

There’s a difference between Attraction and Interest.

I had never really learned my relational emotions that well. I knew what it was to be friends with people, but I had never had mature enough friends (no offense, y’all!) to understand the difference between being intensely interested in someone and being attracted to them. More specifically, the difference between intense interest and real attraction was something I never quite identified.

Early on, I found myself intensely interested in anyone who showed me or my family kindness. As time passed on, these people moved in and through my life, and I held myself back because of the above comments. As I did, I found out something new about myself, these elements of intense attraction.

My emotions can really lie to me…really well.

I am a passionate person by nature. I have known this about myself, but I had never really had a chance to feel my boundaries in this way. Typically, the moment someone found that I was attracted to or interested in them, I would become a social outcast to them, a pariah. I didn’t have time to move past the feelings of attraction and understand that my feelings were lying to me. In reality, what I thought was attraction was intense interest. This person was incredible in my view, but they were not someone I should consider marriage material (simply because of other relational incompatibilities).   Having never had the opportunity to find myself there, I married the first girl who returned these feelings of intense interest. Sadly, her intense interest was intense self-interest in that I was her springboard to the next thing. Still, this was partly because of this immaturity in myself.

Time heals wounds.

Yeah, well, don’t think that this wound is ever going to go away. Brother, this is less of a wound and more of an amputation. There are still times when I will have a dream or something will trigger, and I’ll think I still have someone there to reach out to. Still, like all losses, it gets easier with time. Easier, not necessarily better. Some days, I can climb Mount Everest with ease. Other days, I wonder how I’ll survive the next hour. Maybe this is my own short-comings or maybe this is normal. Either way, time helps!

And time gives you that ability to sort out some of what went wrong. It’s not so much that you’ll suddenly have an epiphany of “if I did X, my marriage would’ve survived.” Even if you are one of the many guys who fell because you didn’t keep it zipped, the problem still starts in your head, and that starts in your heart, and that starts with the Lord. But even if it is just one thing, it usually means a lot of rework in you by Him.

Jesus’ plan is better than yours!

As my last thought, I want to tell you that His plan is better than yours. And guard your hearts fellers. I know just as well as you do that there are some beautiful creations that are rotten graves on the inside, and I am not talking about the obvious ones. Some are externally beautiful, speaking the right things, moving the right ways, but their hearts are full of guile and bitterness. They have not been reborn by our Lord’s redeeming blood. Run away. Don’t fantisize, mesmerize, or be hypnotized by the external. Look straight at the heart; as a speaker named J. John said to me years ago regarding intimate relationships, “If a woman doesn’t have a real relationship with Jesus, I want nothing to do with her.”

Jesus has a plan for you, brother! If you are His child, having accepted His sacrifice for you, then He has a plan for you and for your life! You may not see it yet, but this time in your desert is here to bring about His redemption in your life. He is coring out the death and destruction that is inside you and replacing it with His Spirit. Like Moses, He is extracting Egypt from your soul so that you can lead your nation to the Promised Land. Like Jesus with Peter, He is preparing you, bringing you face to face with your sin (Peter’s denials) so that you can look into His eyes of forgiveness and declare “Lord, you know all things.   You know that I love you!” (John 21:17b)

Let Him guide you, direct you, and build you back up into His workmanship. He has a reason for this time of singleness! Let Him do the work.

“And He was saying to them all, ‘If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.’” – Luke 9:23

Vires et Honorem

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The Doctors of Time: A Personal Theory

Ok. This post is the height of geekology and nerdity. I must admit that much! But I have also been meaning to write it for some months now. And it is time that I let the world in on the amazing synthesis of the ‘verses. =)

In the movie Back to the Future, Doc Brown constantly warns Marty about the dangers of knowledge of the future. He violates this rule slightly in the first movie, breaks it further in the second movie, and finally declares “why not?” in the third movie. We see Doc building a train-based time machine out of significantly substandard parts at the end of the third movie and find that he has two children, Jules and Verne, with Clara Clayton.

Let me fast forward a bit to the 21st century as a popular British show has gained American acceptance and come to my attention. This show makes its popularity on a time-traveling Doctor whose name is never revealed, with a mysterious and tragic past. We are further illuminated that knowing this Doctor’s name would be very dangerous to him and the security of the Universe. Consequently, the name we know this Doctor by, and the name of the series, is Doctor Who.

Doctor Who is revealed to be a Time Lord, one of a race of beings who governed the whole of space and time, keeping the timelines in check. We find that there are solid points in time that no one can change and there are flexible times when the behavior of one or more persons can change the course of history. We are introduced to the fact that Doctor Who is able to change, when his body has been fatally wounded, and continue with a new body as if the old had never left.

But where did the Time Lords come from? Well, as with many things these days, there is a Wikipedia article for that! =) But really, how did they make it to Gallifrey? Where did they start from? Why is the prophecy about two children colliding?

I submit this theory to explain an intricate synthesis between Back to the Future and Doctor Who. =)

At the end of Back to the Future, we see Doc Brown with a new, flying time machine and he is headed into other times. I submit that as Jules and Verne grew up, they were able to observe this time travel, followed in their father’s footsteps and continued experimentation with time travel and a reasonable off-shoot of time travel, multi-dimensional experimentation.

I believe Jules and Verne grew up and at least one of them had children. From these children, a scientific field began growing, under complete secrecy for the sake of society and to prevent any particular government’s involvement or seizure of such equipment. This would have naturally caused a development in their genetic structures as multi-dimensional activity could not have left them unaltered. Additionally, I submit that Gallifrey was at the end of one such multi-dimensional shift.

As time moves on, the depth by which the Brown descendents have advanced their knowledge and even altered their genetic code has grown sufficient that they must leave for another planet, Gallifrey. There, they are able to extend their knowledge of the Time Continuum such that they become aware of these static time spots and the flexible ones.   From Gallifrey, they are able to see how the Universe is affected by various species moving in, through, and around time.

Thus, the Last Great Time War breaks out and the Doctor is forced to eternally trap his fellow Gallifreyans for the sake of the Universe. He naturally adopts a persona that is comfortable to him, that of the original Doctor! He uses this to cover up his true name, knowing that it would compromise many things, including the security of the Universe.

Thus, I declare that the true name of the Doctor, if it were revealed, would be….Emmett Brown, the 27 googilianth. =)  (Ok, strike the 27 googilianth, that was just a bad joke.)

And, just before y’all want to dismiss me, is it any wonder that Clara is the name of his most mysterious companion? And she often tells him, “Run, you clever boy, and remember me!” =)

Food for thought!

DISCLAIMER: While the above is my own thought and conjecture, I make no claims that it is accurate, true, or without error.   If you’d like to share this with another, please grant credit where it is due, but I am also willing to admit that someone else could have put this together to…somewhere…at some other time. In any case, I hope you enjoyed this, as that was the main point. And yes. I could’ve fleshed it out more, but I don’t want to give away plot points from Doctor Who (in case someone hasn’t seen an episode), and I just didn’t want to go too far and lose credibility. Ha ha ha! =)

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A 50 Shades of Grey Society?

I remember a couple of years ago, I knew people who were all about this 50 Shades of Grey book. When I heard what it was about, my flesh wanted to read it, but my spirit cringed. Over the last year, I have joined the online dating community and am surprised by how many women (God-fearing, at least by their description, women) have read this book. Some are ashamed to admit it. Others are bold about it. I am not here to bring judgment on those who have read it, but I am here to bring something to light, whether you have read it or not.

This book has now been made into a movie. From those who have read it to those who have only seen the trailer, it is clear that this book and this movie are publicly sanctioned porn. They tell a story of a world that takes sexual pleasure from physical pain. Without condoning this, I have had people tell me that 50 Shades paints this world in a very inappropriate light. Apparently, Mr. Grey takes things too far and does not follow through with care as people engaged in this would follow through on. But, I leave that only as a disclaimer for those who may want to argue that part of this. Let me say this clearly: I don’t care if you like this world of sexually-charged pain/pleasure as far as this post is concerned. I’m not going to debate the merits or demerits of 50 Shades and this lifestyle choice.

The reasons that started this post are really about the degeneration of relationships in America (perhaps the rest of the world, but I’m not a cultural anthropologist). When I was a kid, if a movie brought a guy and a lady together, it was presumed or implied that their relationship was going to be solid! He was going to take care of her, and she was going to be a blessing to him. Wow! Awesome! Hearts a-flutter!

In the 90s and onward, this degenerated. Some might argue it started in the 80s, and to some degree, I agree with you. However, the mass spiral seems to be in the 90s. In the 90s, we have couples coming together for flings, relationships started to be pictured as transient, for-pleasure-only, and as something that could be used up and tossed out without a second thought. In the midst of that, I think we lost something important.

We have lost, and I think actively buried, real manhood and real womanhood. While I agree men and women are equitable, we are obviously not made the same. Men have testosterone coursing through their veins. Women have estrogen. Both have a little of each, but there are clearly different levels. And those different levels create physical differences, thought-process differences, even emotional differences. But behind all of that, there are spiritual differences.

Oo. I think I just got someone mad. I’m sorry! I’m not trying to offend, but let me play this out a bit and show the truth. However, I will apologize, in advance, for the length!

Men are challenged to be the leaders.

God made Adam first for a reason. Further, at the end of Ephesians 5, Paul challenges husbands to be a reflection of Christ and the church. With these two pieces, I begin to build a thought of men being the leaders of nations, homes, groups, etc. This is not to say that women are incapable of leadership. Not at all!!! Instead, it is to say that when things are properly ordered, men will lead.

To flesh that out further, men will lead by example. But that point is coming.

In 50 Shades, it seems that Mr. Grey is definitely a leader of sorts. After all, he’s running his company, and he leads young Anastasia into his world. But this is falling far short of what we are meant to be as leaders.

Men are meant lead by example, in self-sacrificial love.

We are to put ourselves aside and bless our families. See, here’s where the rubber meets the road! This is where the leadership aspect of manhood becomes the deep challenge! We can’t just force our leadership. We can’t be ravagers or thieves, taking what we please and leaving destruction in our wake. Oh no! Are you kidding me? We should be satisfied with the left-overs because it means our family was fed well. We should be happy to lose sleep so we can seek God and lead our families in His will. We should be blessed to work hard to provide for our families, to give everything we have so that they may live in the Light of the Son of God!

Leadership is not about us. And this is what I think is so damaging about 50 Shades! It shows this man having what he wants and getting his jollies and giving jollies all by force and abuse! Let me make this perfectly clear: THIS IS NOT WHAT A MAN OF GOD DOES!!! THIS IS NOT REAL MANHOOD!!!

Men, we have to guard ourselves against such pornography because it does desensitize us to the pain it inflicts. We see some woman acting like she’s being pleased by such a thing, and it makes us associate pain and pleasure in our brain. I have spoken on pain not being something we should necessarily run from, but by no means should we confuse the fact that pain hurts! It leaves marks on the body and the soul to identify that it hurts. Many of us men take pride in our scars because they show what we have endured! Oh, what men we are! Yet, would you inflict that pain on another? Of course not! We would never want anyone else to have to go through that. We are proud of our scars, but we want no one to ever have to go through the same thing!

Men are to reflect Christ.

This is the part where this post began in me.   And this is the part where we hit the bottom of the well. Until now, much of the blogosphere has covered the first few points, at least to some extent, but I feel like this is where harsh reality meets sinful putridity.

Men, we are to reflect Christ in all things. We are to treat our brides the way Christ treats the church (before and after the “I do”s).   We are to treat our children the way the Heavenly Father treats us. We are to treat our friends the way Jesus treated His (John 15:15). The list goes on, and all of it is to be led by His loving kindness. Grace is to be our charge, mercy our ever-present company.

50 Shades is anything but a representation of Christ. In fact, I believe it is a fair representation of the Devil himself. Here is one who lords over his domain, takes a virgin (the picture of innocence, symbolically, at least), and not only corrupts her, but proceeds to abuse her for his own pleasures, convincing her that this is pleasurable as well. He dominates her life, governs where she can go, what she can do, and who she can see! Is any of this sounding familiar?  This is what the devil does to his prey.

This is no man; this is a coward wrapped in a man’s garments. This is no sheep-dog protecting the flock! This is a full-fledged wolf in a sheep’s overcoat. This is a devil masquerading as a messiah!

And that’s where I begin to absolutely despise for 50 Shades.  Yet, at the same time that I despise this movie, I also weep and pray for all those who will still choose to see this pornographic romp, this despicable display of all that is wrong. Too many will go and see this film because it reflects more of the state of their soul than they care to admit. Some will go out of pure curiosity, like the moth to the flame, unwilling or unable to hold back from their curiosity of whether this will satisfy their sensual desires. Further, it reflects how far we have fallen as a society that we would think this is entertainment.

So, let me drop this final thought in your brain…

For anyone who is reading and still goes, I want you to think about these things:

Every time Anastasia gives herself to Christian (huh, I hadn’t said his name until now, but isn’t that interesting!)…every time she gives herself to Christian Grey, realize that Jesus was betrayed for her.

Every time Christian Grey strikes her, I want you to remember that Jesus was beaten for her, beaten so badly that he was barely recognizable.

Every time Christian Grey whips her, I want you to remember that Jesus was whipped 40 times with a flesh-ripping whip for her, leaving his back open like a hunk of ground beef.

And every time she lets even the slightest whimper out, I want you to remember that Jesus hung, after all that, for three hours, his bleeding and raw back rubbing against the wood for every breath, taking the wrath that was yours and mine.

He did it for all the Anastasia’s of this world! All the women who have given away what they could never get back. All the women who sold themselves in person or on video or in pictures because someone told them it’d be good money. All the women who have been in abusive relationships. And, for all the men in these same places. Sadly, the story doesn’t stop at one gender, but it covers both these days.

The God of the Universe, who wrapped Himself in humanity, who humbled Himself like no one in the history of the world ever has or ever will, who died a brutal, demeaning, destructive, excruciatingly painful death, beaten up, whipped as was intended to kill a man, and hung on a cross for 3 hours…for you.

Don’t accept Christian Grey’s worldview. Stand strong in Jesus so that you can help the Christian Greys of this world come to know Jesus.   The Devil’s had enough players on his team already!

Vires et Honorem

“For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit which are God’s.” – 1 Corinthians 6:20

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A Heartfelt Mind-Meld: The Power of A Moment!

So, a friend reminded me that sometimes people, like myself, don’t have time to read as much as I lay down.  =)  In light of that, I’m going to try for a shorter post here.

The title of this takes its wording from a song from Chris Rice, which came out on his CD Smell the Color 9 back in…2001 or so.  It talked of the simple fact that one moment can change a person’s life.  We all know that, now, don’t we?  But this is intended to be positive.  You see, a hand grenade can go off in a mere second and do a wealth of damage, but a surgeon can also sew the final stitch that stops an artery from bleeding out in the same time.  A drug can cause the body to begin to heal.  A word can cause a heart to heal.  In one moment’s time, generations can be affected!  Generations, men!

Spend time with your kids; treasure those moments.  Take a second, get on the floor, and play!  Stop, let your friend pour his heart out to you, assure him that the sun will rise tomorrow!  Or just enjoy a solitary moment over a cup of coffee, taking a few minutes to read the Word of God before the world wakes up.

Whatever your moment, whatever time the Almighty has given you, whatever tasks He has laid before you, don’t fly through it, as if to escape it.  Look around, notice His hands as they block out the horrible, sew up the stitches, clean the wounds, bring blessings, and keep back what you would not be able to handle!

He knows you, friend.  He.knows.you! Inside out, back-and-forth, from before you were born to the day you die and into eternity.  He knows you!  And His love for you is so great that He came and died, while you were only interested in how painful a death you could make it!  He died.  For you.  And that’s the God we serve!

Just take a moment…

Vires et Honorem

To hear the song The Power of A Moment by Chris Rice, I refer you to this YouTube capture of it (it’s not mine!): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D8wmYe7PIjw

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Glorious Ruin: Get a copy!

Glorious Ruin: Get a copy!

Hey guys,

If I can recommend only one resource to you, it would be the book “Glorious Ruin: How Suffering Sets You Free” by Tullian Tchividjian.  Tullian breaks down the common misconception that many of us have been raised with.  Namely, he turns off the idea that suffering is always about us.  He approaches suffering from a Biblical worldview and asks what the Bible says about suffering.

In the process of reading this book, through my own sufferings, I found that suffering is a much more complex subject.  Explicitly, suffering can be an act of worship to God; that doesn’t mean I make sufferings for myself, but when suffering comes, if I choose to let God drive that suffering and do His will through it, then that becomes an act of worship.

I don’t want to spoil the whole book for you.  It is a good and reasonably quick read, but it just might twist your brain just enough that you begin to see those golden nuggets along the path God has you on.

Here’s the link to Amazon, buy the book, the Kindle edition, etc.; just get a copy!


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A Rap/Poem on Surviving Pain

The Journey and Battle

By Ben Messer

Tryin’ to be happy, and I just don’t feel it.

The pain in my heart, waitin’ for You to heal it.

But You tell me to trust, and hold to the Truth.

I know who You are, so I’ll push through!


It ain’t easy, no, but it’s worth every pain.

Through the pressure, all the blows that came,

I hear Your voice saying, “That’s my boy.”

You give me every moment of joy.


In the midst of pain, the light I don’t see,

But I know that You are there, holding me.

With all that You’ve given, how could I ever doubt

That You are the One who holds the way out!


This pain will not always or forever be,

But while it’s here, I use it to help people see

The message of Your love, Your sacrifice for them.

It’s not about me but about Your creation: man.


You gave Your son; He gave His life on the cross.

Jesus gave up Majesty to reclaim what was lost

By me. For a bowl of stew, I gave up

My birthright to life, a life with true love.


Sin sold me out, gave me death in return,

But You called out, “Will you trust or will you burn?”

“I trust you,” I cried, through sobs and breaths.

“For this moment, I trained You; I will be Your rest.”


For so long, I did not understand Your cryptic words.

But now, I see the precision of Your works.

You are God, Sovereign and Holy,

I am but a man, broken and unworthy.


You are my God, the One and Only True,

For the days You give me, I will follow You!



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A shorter post to just share a few thoughts on pain.

I have found that for myself, most of my revelations have come from conversations and other blogs that make me go, “Oh! Someone else feels this way?!?” For much of my life, it seemed I was the only one who felt something. Sometimes, that was affirmed by others. And sometimes, I just never asked if anyone felt the same.

Know that, “You’re not alone!”

When it comes to pain, knowing you’re not alone can bursts the bubble of “Woe is me,” and it opens the doorway to growth.

Instead of, “I’m alone in my pain. No one understands; I will only ever get out of here if I pull myself out, and I can’t see where to pull from!” you get to “oh! Others have walked here. I’m not alone! And look, they’re pulling out!  Follow the Leader!!!

It grants a tangibility to our hope.

Don’t isolate, relate. Talk to others; find men, whom you can trust, who have gone through a divorce or have someone recommend a fellow. But find someone you can ask questions of, who has gone down that road. It will make the difficulties a bit easier.

Lastly, if, for whatever reason, you can’t find such a person, then leave a comment here, and I will do my best to help!

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