Hope for More

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In times of turmoil,
You are there to help in the toil.
For don’t let these opportunities be spoiled by fears that you won’t succeed here.
God has a plan for those that seek His face
However, this journey is set at His pace and you must learn to trust and have patience, even in the fear and uncertainty of the duration of this race.

Mysterious Arising

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See what it is that rises from dark days and turmoil.

Bear witness to the tides receding inwards.

As time’s weight flickers in significance,

The flame in all of us elucidates the darkness.

Those outward projections wane in their collective values,

As we return to our personal milieus.

Waste not for the time has arrived—

Indeed, it is already here.

Uncertainty is Clear

Lines of division become more clear.
Our intertwined minds work to subdue fear.
Confusion runs rampant—
Fracturing even our desires to cheer.
What is going on here?
Should we prepare as though the end is near—
Or, downplay happenings by reviewing previous years?
Nevertheless, we trek onward into the unknown.
Some welcome this novelty with a delighted tone.
While others express distress over the state of unrest.
What is clear is there lacks a consensus on what is best.

Peace in Pain

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The ease sets in.
The suddenness of the cold breeze fails to produce the usual sensation of dizziness.
Calamity and chaos produce the undercurrent of the waves that surround—
Yet, paradoxically, serenity internally abounds.
For those with ears to hear recognize the trumpet’s sound
Brazenly playing in the background.
This is where peace is found,
Knowing the one who is worthy of the crown,
Ignoring the deception of what the world renowns.
Relinquishing delusions of helping others from their own choosing,
Has surrendered my will and my fate at the feet of your gate.

God & Money

One general objection I have with some of the messages within the Christian faith is selective emphasis—that is, emphasizing certain verses of scriptures over others—in addition to selection bias: omitting certain verses from scripture.

Recently, there has been one verse that continually keeps coming into my life: “‘No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money’” (Matthew 6:24, NLT). While I had heard this verse in messages before, it was infrequent and rarely the center of any serious analysis; however, in my personal life, I recently had felt a great sense of comfort not merely by reading this verse in isolation, but in its complete context, spanning Matthew 6:19-34. It was through the added context of Jesus’ words that I truly understood what was being said in verse 24; moreover, the context and rich examples that Jesus uses provided me with the comfort, guidance, and reassurance of faith that I needed.

In our world, especially in American culture, materialism, work, production, and success are all encultured into you; moreover, they are blended up and somehow attached to your self-worth. As Jefferson Bethke writes (playing off Descartes’ famous words), “America’s mantra is, ‘I produce, therefore I am.’” It seems that our lives somehow have become intertwined with what it is that we produce or can show others. This goes hand-in-hand with our media-driven culture—however, let us return to scripture.

In John 15:5, Jesus says, “‘I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit.’” Here, is a clear verse illustrating that we are called to produce fruit, but what kind of fruit? Well, John 15:15 says, “lasting fruit” or “fruit that will remain.” And, how do we accomplish such a task? We do so by following Jesus’ command: “‘Don’t store up treasures here on earth…Store your treasures in heaven.’” (Matthew 6:20-21, NLV).

So, why is this all so important? The issue comes back to what is being emphasized. As Matthew 6:21 and Luke 12:34 say, “‘where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (NIV). This is a matter of our hearts and, thus, is of remarkable relevance; moreover, it is regarding how our relationship to the material world should be, which is of paramount importance in the current culture in which we live.

Unfortunately, this message seems to not receive as much attention as it deserves—in fact, the attention it has received by some leaders within the Christian faith has been to emphasize the opposite point, and conflate the idea that inner works can be manifested materially. I will speak more on this in my next post as I discuss the emergence and growth of the prosperity gospel.

The Ebb and Flow of Letting Go

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It’s amazing what can happen once we stop believing in lies:
“I’m not good enough; I’ll fail –
Isolate myself away so that then everything will be okay, today.”
But this isn’t living, nor is it what we are called to.

Yes, it’s true that an unexamined life is not worth living;
Yet, it’s equally important to realize that an overanalyzed one is worthless, too.
It’s not easy to set aside these doubts,
Nor is it to overcome these apathetic bouts.

Nevertheless, it’s of paramount importance to keep on striving.
Neither for the sake of merely surviving or the continual ideal that we must be thriving.
What matters most is that we keep on trying.
Stop the fictional finality of moving goalposts to an unactualized “someday”
When everything is once and for all going to be okay.

Instead, embrace how you truly feel.
Validate that these emotions are indeed real.
Life is like a Ferris wheel, with some highs and some lows.
While this pattern is predictable,
The pace at which the cycle goes is a constant unknown.
Accepting this brings us to a choice:
Do we moan and groan seeking safety in being alone?
Or, do we change the tone, accept and atone, viewing each moment as a stepping stone?

A Self in Society

Conditioned to be polite,
We converse wearing our social decorum.
But, is this for us or for them?
Moreover, since when did disagreement become synonymous with intolerance –
If we all agree, will we still be free?
To some degree, it would appear that the fervent desire to unify as one
Is causing our nation to become undone.

With that said, there are issues on which we must agree:
Some form of common sense logic must be present as foundation to stand upon.
This does not dictate any issue,
Rather it provides us with a necessary tool to engage in discourse.
Embarking on these sorts of endeavors without common ground
is predestined to forever circle round and round.
Therefore, remember that it is okay to have some remorse;
It’s okay to change your mind in light of new evidence.
This is not something to feel ashamed of though –
It is, however, a test of letting go,
The pieces of one’s ego necessary for growth.
Through taking this oath,
One may become flexible enough to tolerate viewpoints of both.
This requires great vulnerability, and without this there is no true strength –
Only an inflated self-esteem kept afloat by the desperation of others
Who, too, refuse to change and prefer to remain the same.

This is the what it means to be enslaved to oneself, ensnared by pride.
Terrified to be denied, one chooses to continually lie.
For the sake of pride, one cannot hide;
Therefore, the fear of mortification leads to emotional amplification.
Allied together under a noble cause: Defend this nation, at all costs.
However, the lack of insight veils the perception of one’s self,
Instead, projecting outward blaming others for their rage.
Not knowing that it is a manifestation of residing in a cage of their own making.

Fitting the Fragments

As emanations, time disjoints us from the center;
Diluting the potency of essence invites a greater acceptance.
Working towards excess is perceived as the epitome of best.
While rest is vilified, even futile work is praised as paramount.
The haze of uncertainty breeds sentiments of apathy.
Lingering questions of doubt constantly circulating about:
To what does this all amount?

Carefree Incongruity

A constant pretense always engaged in a reality that’s counterfeit
And filled with frivolities that disguise themselves as serious beliefs.
Mesmerize me, and I’ll ignore the bleed.
Let those that are chosen to lead continue to be the ones to fill our needs.
Never question whether you’re free, for you’ve been given more than you see.
Shall this fallacy of relative privation squash all doubts and questions regarding my salvation?
Is it worth just accepting what the majority tells you is the correct story;
Or, is there an essence inside that refuses to hide in the face of intolerance?

Vying for Control

In times of turmoil, confusion, and uncertainty,
It becomes ever so easy to turn to the mind and hit rewind;
Or, make the choice to intensify the ever-raging battle against time.
Control becomes the mental shovel used to dig deeper the hole of despair.
All the while, masquerading around with a callous belief that we do not care
But this, too, is a mental delusion reinforcing that our will is the final conclusion.