Poetry

Treading Water.

The storm around calls to the end of all breath,

the watery gallows roar.

Without any hope, all that remains is just death –

its call we try to ignore.

We tread amongst sharks stalking all around,

water approaching the neck.

A cry, a plea, a shout, yet no sound

for in ocean, we’re just but a speck.

He calls to us, invites us to walk on the waves

if only we’ll trust and believe.

The water’s below our feet, for He saves

as we now His warmth do receive.

At times, we may slip and fall back into wet

silent waters, but lest we forget;

He found us in those dark depths of the storm

and has never let go of us yet.

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Poetry

Give Me Jesus.

Yessssss posting just because feels so good! It’s like having a burden be lifted off my shoulders because of the fear that comes with posting and creating something palatable for the general audience.

Anyhow, as I was driving home today, I was listening to Bethel to keep me awake as I sucked on ice from an ice coffee I finished, and the song “Give Me Jesus” came on.  I thought about all the things I heard about Bethel’s theology and some things that are associated with the Bethel Church in Redding (see Kris Vallotton’s article: http://www.ibethel.org/articles/2011/10/11/bethel-church-god-the-bad-and-the-ugly).  I thought about how hearing about their theology (specifically about healing) somewhat put me off in regards to the music that they created.  But in the midst of all this meta-reflection, the thought appeared: am I worshipping?

While it might be true that it’s unlikely for everything the Bethel Church believes in terms of theology will come to pass – though perhaps I just need more faith myself :P – it is also true that worship is worship, and I believe it’s a uniquely personal experience.  Maybe some people laugh when they worship or they fall down or they kneel or they lift their hands in the air…but perhaps a better thing to focus on is the fact that I noticed them doing that in the first place.  My eyes, in those moments, were not set on worshipping God, but observing how other believers worshipped Him (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing).  Watching other believers worship can be incredibly refreshing just as seeing a brother or sister’s passion for sharing the Gospel or serving those around them is refreshing.  However, when that observation becomes quizzical or even judgmental, it sours this connection to God that is created through worship.

So, when this song came on, somehow, God revealed to me a purpose for worship: to fully express our own adoration and delight in Him.  It’s not about worrying about what’s proper or what’s socially acceptable, but it’s a time to rest and reflect and enjoy God’s presence in my life.  There is no space for me to judge what is right and what is wrong, what is true worship or what is just for show.  Worship is not for me (sorry, not sorry Victoria Osteen), but it’s for God; it’s simply because we delight in God and we want to sing out for Him.  One of the lines in the song goes, “Give me the One my soul delights in,” and it’s true – our body, soul, and spirit should all delight in Him, and that’s what we’re asking for in worship.  Worship is joy in God, pure and simple, and it should be something we’re all excited for; it should be an attitude we always keep with us as we continue walking this walk of faith. Bethel probably doesn’t care, but I’m truly sorry for the bit of apprehension with which I regarded their worship because of their church’s theology/doctrine because it’s not about that at all.  It’s about Jesus and loving Jesus and remembering all His love and mercy and justice and wisdom, and really focusing on that aspect and singing out to Him because of the wonder that comes with it. So, give me Jesus, and all the ways delight in Him is manifested because in Him my hope is securely found. I’ll end with Psalm 100 which, in its five verses of glory, says:

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
    Serve the Lord with gladness!
    Come into his presence with singing!

Know that the Lord, he is God!
    It is he who made us, and we are his;[a]
    we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
    and his courts with praise!
    Give thanks to him; bless his name!

For the Lord is good;
    his steadfast love endures forever,
    and his faithfulness to all generations.

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Writings

Summer Project.

It’s been a while since I’ve lasted posted, but hopefully getting back into the swing of things will allow me to carry it over to what my title is referring to: my summer project.  Now, since I’ve been collecting money for the AACF service auction that we had to support missions, I’ve been thinking about the AACF auctions I have yet to fulfill.  I have started working on the story for DSol, but it’s nowhere near where I’d like it.  I’ve barely scratched the surface of the daily devotional book that I wanted to write. All of these things are going to be things that I’m hoping to work on over the summer. However, it is the story for DSol that most interests me.

The idea for the story first came about a year or so ago perhaps, but it has left an indelible impression on my mind in terms of the story’s premise.  I am not going to reveal the idea for it at all because I feel like if I do, I will compromise the integrity of my desire to write and finish the story.  Nevertheless, the story is interesting because I feel like if I pursue it until the end, it will be the first full novel that I will have written since my short story in ninth grade that was published.  The laziness that is mingled with trepidation has slowly been taking over, and what was once a clear vision of the story’s conclusion has become but a nostalgic haze.  Even as my discipline to go to the gym has waned, it seems it has taken a hold on all other areas of discipline in my life as well.  I guess this post was my attempt – though looking back now, it seems rather feeble – to try and fight back the fog and reclaim my rusting art in hopes that my vitality might be restored me.  More to come later, I hope, or else I shall be in a pitiful condition with regards to my literary composition.

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Poetry

Lent is Due.

So, this post has been long overdue.  Perhaps it is because of a variety of other distractions that have propelled me into obscurity, or perhaps it is because there just hasn’t been much inspiration for me to take hold of.  Regardless, it’s finally time to go through the self-conscious catharsis that is writing and talk about what happened during my Lent period.

Since my last Lenten season, I had lost around fifty pounds as a direct result of what I sacrificed for Lent: sugar.  However, this time around, I’ve taken on a completely different lifestyle, getting subtly obsessed with body image and physique.  Therefore, this Lenten season was all about removing myself from being consumed by how I looked – specifically the number on the scale.  I vowed to not weigh myself for forty days.  What I found during this seemingly carefree time was an agonizing period of insecurity about weight and body image.  Every day I went to the gym, I gazed longingly at the scale, wishing to know how much weight I had convinced myself I was putting on.  In the bathroom, I would poke around and see which places got softer – eventually this began happening regardless of location.  I spent a lot of time locked in a constant internal turmoil over whether I should take the time to relax and let go of body image for a bit or feeling like I needed to tighten up my discipline even more during this time when it was difficult to truly ascertain how “fit” I was.  Some days there would be a profound sadness in myself realizing that I was slowly losing all that I worked so hard for in the past year, and that somehow, I was gaining weight no matter what.

However, I’m thankful that the God I love is one who provides peace in my heart when I need it.  Days when the struggle was particularly hard were turned over to the Lord in prayer, and eventually, the violence in my heart subsided and settled down.  Days when I let the anxieties overwhelm me were filled with tinged with the melancholy that comes with insecurity and acknowledgment of letting myself go.  But God, in His infinite love, says in His Word, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you because he trusts in you” (Isaiah 26:3).  During this Lenten season, I experienced firsthand the peace that He provided because I stopped gazing at myself and fixed my gaze on Him.  It’s probably easy to think, oh, look at this guy, he’s not even that aesthetic, how dare he be filled with pride. And to some extent, you’re right.  But it’s just another part of my humanity showing when I want to celebrate the progress I’ve made because only I know the amount of effort put into it to get to where I am.  Nevertheless, it’s the mercy and grace of the Lord that delivers me from myself because He knows that what I really want to do is forsake my insecurities and quell the prideful uprising in me to pay more attention to myself than to Him; the flesh is weak, but the spirit remains willing.  Everything I learned in the gym hasn’t gone to waste, however; straining under weights can be applied as a spiritual concept – God is the only spotter you’ll ever need, and you lift with your prayers, not with your legs.  May I continue turning my inwardly critical eyes onto Him and fully enjoy His love and mercy towards me.

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Poetry

Slowsand.

Sighs masked as hearty shouts,

wand’rings marked as guided routes.

Yawns removed from concentration

feebly yearns for liberation.

A slow ascent upon a plane,

a crawling climb beneath the slain.

Labored breath intent on rest,

the rise and fall within the chest.

Thoughts just flitting here and there,

sparks igniting ends of hair.

Preparing speeches ne’er to raise

the spirits of the languid daze.

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Writings

April Stools.

As he yawned with the exhaustion of a man who slept too late to be waking up so early, he groaned out of bed and into the bathroom.  There was the smell of lavender, like someone had used his fancy liquid hand soap, but he was the only one in the house, and he had just woken up.  Perhaps it was leaking? He picked up the bottle, examined it, and set it down, scratching his head in bleary, apathetic confusion.  It was probably some stupid April Fool’s joke.  There was nothing wrong with the bottle, not a crack anywhere he could see.  He felt the familiar clench in his bowels, and knew it was time for the morning ritual.

Sighing, he sat down and began to take the children to the pool.  That is, he defecated.  Today’s experience was a pleasantly soft ordeal, sliding out without much strain.  He exhaled fully after holding his breath in from the initial release, feeling the cold tile beneath his feet, and feeling the cold seat slowly warm to the temperature of his rear.  As he felt the familiar emptiness within his stomach signaling the end of his time on the porcelain throne, he began to reach for the the toilet paper, but paused. The soon-to-be-soiled paper was coming from the bottom up, not from the top down.  Who on Earth could have done this, he thought.  He attempted to remove the inner tube of the toilet paper dispenser to flip the roll upside down to his liking, but discovered that it had been glued shut.  I must be dreaming, he sighed.  So, with eyes squinted shut, he dispensed what he perceived to be enough toilet paper, and found that he must have yanked too hard, littering the bathroom floor with excess toilet paper.  He could feel his spirit begin to crack within the pit of his heart.  He bent down to tear a segment of the fallen bathroom tissue so that he could wipe, then proceeded to clean himself.  After he wiped, he discovered, with gradual mortification, that a brown streak ran up from the toilet paper past his wrist, past his forearm, up to his bicep.  He began to cry.  Why is this happening? What have I done to deserve this? I just wanted to relieve myself…

He looked down, and discovered that the toilet paper was gone.  He reached desperately over to the cabinet to find the extra rolls.  Instead, he was greeted by a raucous explosion of noisemakers, leaving his knees quaking and without a doubt that he had emptied himself of refuse.  With his heart pounding and his head furiously attempting to stave off a headache, he took a few moments to make sure he caught his breath.  Then, he got up with his head down grimly, knowing he had not entirely cleaned himself – he came to terms with the fact that he had no other choice. He grimaced as he pulled up his pajama pants, knowing that they would need to be washed promptly.  As he flushed and met his own gaze in the mirror, his spirit crumbled within him as he saw that the brown streak ran all the way up to his right eyebrow.  He washed his hands in the sink, which thankfully worked, and found he couldn’t remove the brown streak that marked him, so he just wiped his hands off on a towel before he realized that he was smearing it all over his towel.  Resigning his life to his circumstance, he tearfully began to stuff the towel into his mouth, hoping that he might suffocate himself and end his misery.

And then he woke up with a start.  He had broken into a cold sweat, and was looking about himself in a panic.  He looked at his arm, and it was clean.  He checked his phone and it read April 2nd.  Relief.  Relief?  He felt the clench in his stomach, and stumbled into his bathroom, and he almost fainted.

There was the smell of lavender, the toilet paper was the wrong way, and his towel was smeared brown.

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Poetry

Poet Tree.

A thousand voices, each cry rang true

the poets’ voices all sang through.

A silent night, a mighty storm,

death of function without form.

The poets rose, shrieks shrill indeed

’til echoes met with scorn did bleed.

A waste of space, but some would say

that time itself could not delay.

And so, from fell branches swayed their words –

a noose bound tight around their fate.

A meal made ready for the birds

who feasted on the wanton hate.

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