Reflections on psalm 1:1-3

Reflections on Psalm 1:1-3

Blessed is the one
    who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
    or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
    and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
    which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
    whatever they do prospers.

The psalms have been an anchor for my soul in the last several months of my life. Many Christians turn to the psalms, and for good reason. Beyond the reality of beautiful poetry, one can find many emotions within each poem. Anger, sadness, rejection, loneliness, feeling forsaken, grief, despair and much more. It came to my attention, that my focus turns to the psalms around the fall season. Perhaps it’s the beauty of the season that make the words of the psalms truly capture my attention. I’d like to attempt to make a trek through the psalms, and share my reflections. I’m not going to make any promises, because I know that perfection will not be visible in this exercise.

That being said, lets start with the first three verses of Psalm 1:     Blessed is the one
    who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
    or sit in the company of mockers,

Blessed. We are blessed if we don’t not follow the path of the wicked. Now, what does it mean to be a wicked person? In one sense, its living in direct opposition to God and the mandate the he has laid before us. Before I had a collision course with Christ, this was me. So, in no way am I implying that I’m better than anyone else, nor is that the actual intention of the scriptures. In my opinion, being wicked simply means to do things for purely selfish reasons and gain. Again, this was me before becoming a new creation, I did everything to make myself feel good and my gain. Not caring about the soul of another. The result for me was that my soul began to wither and I did not prosper, as it says in verse three. In simple terms, when a soul begins to wither, they have no color or fail to be vibrant. The same way the leaf looks stunning in the fall. The soul that withers is not living as they ought to be.

The tree planted:     

That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
    which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
    whatever they do prospers.

This section of the psalm stuck to my heart in a profound this, mainly because this tree is stable. Even in the changes of seasons, it does not fret because it knows that it will be taken care of. Now, I am not saying that a tree has emotion, but more metaphorically speaking. We humans have a very hard time being stable. We easily worry and give in to worry and every other desire and emotion when life becomes difficult.  Emotion is not wrong or bad, frankly emotions are a gift from God. However, when we constantly let our lives be led by them we fail to bare fruit in seasons. We don’t thrive. Rather than being dominated by emotion, we should learn to filter and delay our emotions. The opposite of that is constantly freaking out and always being in a state of panic. Is that how you truly want to live?

Furthermore , it is my belief that this part of psalm one is telling us to trust that the very God who planted us. Will not leave us to be destroyed by the various storms of life, but that he will not leave us and always-always provide for us. He feeds us, clothes us the same way he provides for the sparrows. The path of Christ is narrow, and sometimes in life our souls can wander, we get beat up spiritually, we doubt and yes sometimes we can find ourselves on the other side of the road where we are not meant to be. But, if your tree is rooted in Christ, he will never allow you go too far off the path. He’s amazing like that.   

Don’t get bitter-Get Better! The Annoying Truth.

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase: Don’t get bitter getter better, if you’ve found it to be slightly annoying, that is more than okay. However, it’s been coming to my mind the last few days, and as annoying as it can be. I believe that the phrase or quote has truth to it.

First, bitterness is nothing more than carrying around excess emotional, mental and even spiritual weight inside us. It robs us of joy, fun, sleep, makes us cranky and not fun to be around. For many of us, we have had relationships go wrong, been screwed over in some ways or saw someone we don’t like get the upper hand in life so to speak.

It drives you nuts I know, especially with social media, it’s easy to see the lives of someone we don’t like all happy, acting as though everything is fine. Meanwhile, we’re still pissed that they hurt us, and rightfully so. I’m not trying to make smallness to anyones pain.

Over the last year, I have had a few people screw me over in various ways, and you know what? It hurts and it pisses me, and somedays I would like to give them a piece of my mind. But here’s the thing, they probably don’t care and aren’t even giving it a thought.

So what I left with? What are you left with?

Two options: Stay where were at: Bitter, angry, pissed off, hurt and wanting to smacking someone or a group of people silly. Or… Or, we can let it go, for the better quality of life. Letting go of the hurt, anger and frustration. This then, doesn’t mean that you justify what a person did, it doesn’t even mean you forget it. But it does mean accepting the harsh reality, that the person that is most stunted in forward progress is YOU and ME.

I’ll say it again, most people don’t care that you’re hurt, angry or pissed off. They mostly only care about themselves. Unless, unless a person comes to you and is truly remorseful, then the context can be a lot different. So at the end of day, we are stuck with ourselves.

Get better: As I said above, we can learn to gradually let go of the wrongs done to us, for the improvement of ourselves. We can ponder any mistakes that we could have made, and learn to improve upon them. We can apply discipline in our lives, in the name of setting boundaries, so that we don’t allow others to hurt us or take advantage us whatever it is, ever again.

You and me, we only get one shot as this earthly life. So why not spend it on the relentless pursuit of getter better in every single area of our lives. Not being weighed down by past experiences? We soar greater in life, when we have less to weigh us down.

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What Defines You?

How we answer this question, is very vital. For it it makes up a vast majority of how we function in daily life.

First, what are we NOT?

We are not our disability, if you have one.

We are not our mental illness, if you have one.

we are not our grade point average.

We are not our sexual orientations.

We are not our political party.

We are not our past failures.

We are not our success.

We are not our body image.

We are not our relationship status.

On and on we could go.

Our core identity, is founded upon being made in the image of God (Genesis 1). Now I know that some might take issue with that. But for me, it wasn’t until I discovered how much God loved me, that I ever truly knew peace. It was then that I stopped the endless hunt for something to fill me up or satisfy me. Money is a blessing, but that can never bring us lasting satisfaction.

All of us, are on a hunt to find what gives us a sense of worth and purpose. For some of us, that’s children, status, money, sex, power. The reality is though, that may satisfy us for a while, but those things will all leave us empty when they are taken from us. And they will be!

Knowing that our worth, value, purpose and self-esteem is founded upon the Lords image in us. Thus allows us to be able to not only realize our true selves, but to see ourselves in  healthy and balanced way. It also allows us to endure the hardest of circumstances, knowing that God is in control and our truest satisfaction and joy.

And until we come to that understanding, we will be, as  saint Augustine says: Restless until it (our hearts) rests in you.

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God Spoke To Me

There I was sitting on the toilet this morning, as I always do. Taking care of the demons in my stomach. Truth be told, I have not been feeling all that great about myself the past few days. For reasons that I do not wish to share on this blog.

But there I was, the few places that I pray are when I am in the shower, working out or on the toilet. I tend to pray more privately these days… As I was sitting on my throne, I was noticing all the negative thoughts coming out from my mind, making their way to my heart.

When I heard and felt a soft whisper say from underneath all of the crap coming out of (non pun intended).

Your my son… 

I know its crazy, and this blog might very well make you think that of me. So be it. For many religious crack heads have said that God spoke to them, well, let me tell you quickly why my experience is different. The words that were spoken to me, can be back up with scripture.

Psalm 2:7

Matthew 3:17

Luke 15:11-32

To name a few, I don’t think this is as crazy, because God speaks to various people in various ways through out the whole of scripture. Further more, the Lord reminding me that I am his son, is far (far) different than some other Christian claiming “the phone rang and that was a sign I was meant to marry this person!”

I know my soul needed these words today, I needed to be reminded of my true identity today. Does this happen often to me? No, but when it does. Its very special to me. Today my hope and prayer is that you know that God loves you, in Christ all things can be made new.

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A Letter of Sorts to The Highly Sensitive Person.

It’s nothing personal… 

I’m sure we have all heard that phrase before and have even said it ourselves. I wonder, though, how many of us hate hearing it or get greatly annoyed when these words are spoken to us or even when we say them ourselves.

I think at times, though, it is personal and things tend to hurt if we gave ourselves the time to stop and feel the pain. For the highly sensitive person, this can be strangely difficult because we tend to feel things in such a deep way.

Stop being so sensitive! To an extent, I can agree that maybe they’re those of us who might very well be over sensitive. But being a sensitive person by itself is not a bad thing. In fact, I see being a sensitive person as being a magnificent thing. We could use some more sensitive people in the world.

Too many of us are blind to the pain of others, either that or we simply stuck and frozen in ourselves not knowing what to do about it. I am that highly sensitive person; I do feel things very deeply. Often I wish I could stop feeling altogether. Yet I believe that being a highly person is a gift.

If you are one that would identify as being a highly sensitive person, I would first suggest that you do more research here: hsperson.com). Secondly, as a high sensitive person, you’re created with unique gifts and talents that no one else has. You have great value and person, God made you the way you are and loves you as you are. God longs for you to turn your  attention to him, and let him love you in ways you never thought were possible.

The biggest bit of wisdom I can give you is to learn  to sit in Gods presence, that might difficult if you aren’t sure where you stand in regards to faith. Maybe you don’t believe in God at all. But I can tell you honestly that as a highly sensitive person, clinging to the love that Christ has for me has allowed me to have an intimacy that I have always longed for. You won’t find a love as wide and deep as you will the love of Christ.

 

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What Can The Secular Say To The Holy?

I am working on a new manuscript, a devotional entitled What Can The Secular Say To The Holy (And Vice Versa). The manuscript takes mainstream “secular songs and filtering them through a Christ-centered lens.  Here is a sample of what I am working on:

Day Three

In Your House I long to be, Room by room patiently, I’ll wait for you there like a stone.

-AudioSlave

The focus of every Christian should be the presence of God, we are to hunger and thrust for it. The psalmist David once wrote “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God” (Psalm 42). In our physical thirst we long for something to quench our thirst, our physical thirst should in some ways be a reflection of our spiritual thirst. Jesus said that when we drink of his living water (John 4:14), of course one might wonder, even when I do have Christ in my life, why do I still thirst. It might seem quite paradoxical, but I believe that God created us to thirst for him and nothing else, he gave us a thirst that only he can satisfy. The problem is then is that we all believe that other that other things can satisfy, be it people, relationships, sex and other forms of gratification. These things are not bad, relationships, sex, food and things of that nature are meant to be enjoyed, both because they’re all gifts from the grand creator and they are meant to point us to his glory. So as I find myself listening to the lyrics of AudioSlave, I can’t help but long for to be in God’s presence, in his house, room by room being being surrounded by his presence.

Again, one might ask, what if I’m seeking the Lords presence and can’t “feel” anything? Great question, I believe that the key comes in the above AudioSlave lyrics, Patiently, like a stone.   Like a stone we patiently wait for the Lords presence, we refuse to move until we have his presence. Moses pleaded these words to God in Exodus 33:15, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here.” I think our attitudes should be the same as Moses if the Lords presence is not with us, then we shouldn’t even consider moving. Of course, though, as believers, we have the Lords presence and constant favor. Nothing can separate us from that (Romans 8:35-39). Again, having longings for other things like connection, intimacy, community and so on are beautiful and Godly. But nothing can satisfy and sustain us as the Lords presence. Seek him now at this moment.

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Love and How The World Was Made.

For as long as I can remember, there has always been the debate of creation vs evolution. I’ve never really been good at debating my position on the issue. But yes, I believe that God created this world by his artistic hand. I believe that there was a Adam and Eve and by their actions this world spun into the chaos that it is in.

I know some will object by saying “but how? You can’t possibly know that”. But I actually think we can, I think that most people who have undergone tremendous circumstances, that doesn’t mean that everyone who hasn’t endured great suffering couldn’t believe in something greater than themselves.

My point is that people who have suffered are sometimes more open to the idea to the idea that God is with them and will help them in their pain. Yet, suffering can sometimes harden a person’s heart as well. I used to be that way, I thought God was a evil and sadistic for enduring such pain in my life.

But now I know that all the pain has led me to the point of knowing him and how much he loves me. As we enter valentines day tomorrow, yes I feel alone, yes something inside me still hurts. Something inside me longs for a mate to walk through life with. I believe that even Adam felt that way too, even with the tasks that God put before him, or that maybe God knew that Adam would be better off with a helper.

If you’re lonely today, if you long, I want you to first know that God loves you first, he is with you in the longing and pain. There might be some other things that you and I might have to endure first, but it is for the formation of our character and to deepen the intimacy between us and God as well.

It’s not wrong to long for a mate, that in itself is a gift. But one thing we have to consider is that people will never love us fully as God can. People will let us down, hurt us, betrayed us and completely forsake us.  This doesn’t make the ache any less, but we have the greatest arm to rest on as we walk.

Hold your head up, it’s going to be okay.images

 

 

 

A Brief Note On Anxiety

It’s hard living with anxiety, especially when your a Christ. Right now the thought that overloads my thought process is.

“Your a Christian, you shouldn’t struggle with anxiety.”

“You should be ashamed that you have it”.

When anxiety overcomes me, is so painfully draining and overwhelming. It’s hard for me to even approach God in prayer. But maybe it’s all the more reason to draw near to Him in the first place. I mean, when life is fine and dandy, I barely think of Him. As though I am some kind of fair weather friend.

But maybe in our suffering is when we learn to know God and His love most. Know this, your not a freak for having anxiety in your life, your not a horrible christian if you have anxiety.

God still loves you and you are the apple of his eye.

Looking at Jesus

The more I read trough the bible, the more convinced that Jesus is who he says he is. As CS Lewis Brilliantly wrote:

“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”

For me, it is extremely difficult to read about his life, how he fearlessly loved people, how he performed miracles and he was strong like a lion. Growing up in a buddhist family, I was never drawn to the teaching of Buddha, they way I was to Christ.

Jesus takes failures and outcasts and re-writes their history with grace. He doesn’t allow them to stay as they are, but ignites their hearts to live for something greater. I know that around this time of year a lot of people like to present what they believe Jesus looked like, I mean, I tend to believe that he was more of the short haired person that resembled something like this:

jesus-christ

Though, I like to believe he had a much thicker beard and was a man that wasn’t afraid to get his hands dirty. The point I want to make with this, is that when we are faced with shame, guilt, despair, loneliness, rejection, regret and so many more avenues of human life. That when we face these elements of life, we must teach ourselves to look at the face of Jesus. Knowing that when we are in Christ, we are looking into the eyes of a God-man that doesn’t see us as we see ourselves. In fact, he see’s us a white as snow.

May we patiently teach ourselves to look into the saviors eyes, and there we will find our fullest worth and who we truly are.

 

What’s It’s Like To Live With Cerebral Palsy?

I was pondering/praying for a blog topic to write on this morning, and the question came to mind: What is it like to live with cerebral palsy? Honestly at different points in my life the answer would have varied. There would have been days where I would have said that it absolutely sucked and days where it was something in the back of mind.

I’m sure that there will be days where I will again say that it sucks, and my body will ache. But more so now, I see it more as a blessing and motivation. Why? You ask, because I wasn’t supposed to be able to do much on my own, on the other hand doctors said that I would “grow out” of this condition.

I see my cerebral palsy, as a means to prove people wrong and to motivate others to strive for the best life possible. There have been seasons where depression and self-loathing where like a close companion, following my every step. But my faith in the one true God was the silencer to the despair.

His love has broken through the pain, the fear, the shame and lifted me to the sky. It is because of this fact, that I am proud to say that I am nothing without him. If you are a person living with cerebral palsy, don’t let it stop you, let it be a means of motivation, prove others wrong who say you can’t. Let it be a means to inspire others and meet others where they are.

If you are a parent of a son or daughter, who has cerebral palsy. Comfort them in the dark and heavy times, but also refuse to let them stay where they are. Motivate them to rise above always. Love them always.321679_10150871924185165_448704118_n