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pursuing the upward call with fear and trembling

just a 44 year old man seeking to share my meanderings with the world at large or the blogosphere at small

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Hard To Be Still

*Be still and know that I AM God*    One of the most vivid passages of relating to God in all of Scripture. Direct,clear,to the point. Why is it so freaking hard?? My mind and heart swilrs round and round like a merry-go-round gone awry. Let me just lay it out as i seem to experience it.

 God is love. Jesus is Lord and Savior. Holy Spirit is the Helper. Bible is Gods written Word. Faith and obedience, love God and love  everyone else and yourself. So easy to understand and apply. Hmmmm...

Seems like it should be so easy but a whole host of other junk interrupt this easy outline. My dad died when i was 8. He was 30. Why him?/ Why not me?? Why do i still obsess over this at age 51??/ I have a heart condition, congestive heart failure. Will i suddenly die with no warning??  That has been my  huge terror  for as long as i can  recall. How do i manage facing it everyday???   I  struggle to sleep at night alot because of these fears. Why can't i just rest in  faith and Gods love and grace?? 

 Sin. All kinds of sin. Sin i knew better than to do but ended up doing it anyway. Don't we all though??  No comfort though. it doesn't matter if we all do it- i should not have!!!!   So says my inner critic. How could i have ev er been seen as the best example of a christian  by my atheist roommate in Bible College?? Just look at the mess inside!!!  Fear...... worry.....doubt.....selfishness.....pride.....laziness. Why do i struggle with all of this?? Why can't i be like  so many people i have read or heard testimonies about???  people who  faced staggering  life challenges and just overcame with almost unbelievable courage. Could it be  in there deepest part of their inner being they struggle with these  demons as well??? Could they be wondering why me too??/ 

 if anyone reads this please  share a thought or response. Thanks and  here's to  being abel to be still!!!1

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Pierce the Fog

Life and death. The bookends of existence. Tons and tons have been written seeking to understand these 2 realities. Even so, we still have questions and wonderings. We can read endlessly trying to gain every possible angle and perspective there is......but we will still ponder- why???? Simply part of our humanness. Atheists dismiss the whole conundrum by declaring there is no God and thus no absolute answer to why- just random happenings.  Why do they choose this??

 I can understand atheism to an extent. If there is a God why has He not been more proactive in showing Himself??? Why has He allowed so much pain and suffering ??  Why does He seem so       hidden??? I can relate to this much more at an emotional level than  an intellectual one. I have studied apologetics, read many  philosophy and psycholgy books. My mind  is pretty satisfied. My emotions- this is why I titled the post as i did.

I have always had a very  wild imagination. I believe I  am a highly sensitive person. I feel   things very deeply, even sometimes feel others peoples  emotions before they are aware of them themselves. Death has been centerstage for me as far as this goes. My father dying when I was 8 has been a looming shadow ever since it happened. He died from malignant melanoma, a very ravaging form of cancer. I did not know he was near death when it happened. My wild imagination has viewed death like a  grim reaper. It stays always present like a fog, and I never know when it will strike. I realize this is just a truth of reality at all times, but my awareness of it has always been  super acute. It is compounded by my being highly sensitive. Any feeling that seems to be odd or unordinary from normal ailments sends me into fight or flight mode- maybe death is here!!!!  No wonder i had high blood pressure even as a kid!!!! 

 This fear is exacerbated the last few years by  having congestive heart failure. Especially when I was in atrial fibrillation which is an irregular heartbeat. Could my heart suddenly stop??? Will it??? In those moments I freeze and become paralyzed by the thought/feelings of  dying. Is God there?? Will He be with me ,especially when the pain of my body dying happens??? I just whimper at times, whispering  please God please     then i sing hymns and worship songs. I pray. I sing  Jesus loves me and kumbayah. Gradually the fear dissipates and i fall asleep. Until the next time.

 What pierces the fog is when I focus on the cross and what Jesus did, as well as why He did it. Believing Jesus was fully human and fully God, that He knows and  feels everything I or anyone else think or feel- provides comfort. My inner critic of course parries with accusations of why have i doubted so much, how can I possibly expect Him to help me in death as well as the struggles of contemplating it??? The critic screams inside my mind that my faith is way too waek and small to  help me, my obedience way too little. May as well accept that  my fear will never  be removed and death one day will attack, just like it did my father.

 Kumbayah my Lord  Kumbayah. Pierce the  fog- let me know and feel You are here- yesterday today and forever!!!!!

Monday, October 08, 2012

Meeting Ben Born Again

Quite a transition from Roman Catholic to  free agent to Charismatic. Thus was a part of my spiritual journey. On the last day of  school my sophomore year of high school, a moment occurred that was a gamechanger for me. I was standing outside the auditorium, which contained the theater and choir rooms. These were my cliques. I emphasize Theater. My teacher/director, who was a former off-broadway director, was adamant....ITS NOT DRAMA ITS THEATER!!!! 

 Anyhow, I was standing having a few friends sign my yearbook,including this one girl from choir. I didn't know her really well but she was cool- and cute. Before she signed though she said, can i ask you a question??  I said ok. She got a big smile on her face and blurted out, *have you heard the Good News???*   Uh-oh. Red flags went off in my head, this is gonna be bad news for me even though something told me she was referring to  religion. The thing was- my friend was standing a lil ways down the hallway, making out with his gf, and we were going to get high shortly. I looked at her and   softly said, um no. She then began to tell me what the Good News was and in a nutshel told me the basics of the Gospel. I smiled and politely listened as she then asked if i would pray the sinners prayer with her. O wow. I felt between a rock and a hard  place but i told her ok..........as lon gas we could do it quick  and QUIETLY!!!!   She took my hand and with our heads bowed led me in the sinners prayer. Then she signed my yearbook,  Praise The Lord!!! I have just found a new brother in the Lord!!!!  Her opening  line. She told me to get strong in the Word and Prayer and gave me her number if i had any questions, and she gave me  small Gospel of John booklet.  Born Again. This was a start.

 I called her several times that summer. She did her best to disciple me with what she knew and took me to Calvary Chapel, the concert/bible study on saturday nights. This was 1977 Southern California ok???  Calvary Chapel looked more like a hippie commune than a church  LOL    The worship songs and emotional atmosphere were very different than my Catholic experience. I went almost every saturday night that whole summer though. I began a bible study by mail with a counselor from Calvary Chapel. My friend also taught me how to speak in tongues. One day we were talking about it on the phone and she proceeded to  give me a demonstration. All i recall hearing was kwee kway kwo and  then just  babble. I had no doctrinal undersatanding at this time so i took it as the Holy Spirit speaking through her.This began a season of zeal for speaking in tongues I did with a friend. We tape recorded ourselves and even  had  friends  and family witness us doing it so we could let the Spirit touch them through us. I know i know, southern californai I told ya. Never know what might happen.

 One night as Greg Laurie was preaching, I felt a sensation inside i couldnt explain, and it wouldn't go away. He was  making am altar call and something told me I just had to go forward and make a public profession of faith. Calvary Chapel is a premillennial dispensationalist fellowship theologically. Any message by  a teacher, preacher or musician  included  Jesus is Coming Back----SOON!!!  Heavy emphasis on rapture and not being left behind. Greg  had a lil pamphlet about growing as a believer and he had a lil guy on it called Ben Born-Again...... because he's been born again. I got a chance to meet Greg when he spoke at chapel at PCC. Was  too cool to tell him he had been used to lead me to Christ.

 I lost track of my friend over the years. last time we talked she was following Gene Scott and his teachings. I will always be so thankful to her for being bold and asking me about the Good News. A little seed sown that day.

 Btw- we did go and smoke pot that day. Southern California ya'll!!!!!!

Monday, October 01, 2012

just thoughts

I had a counselor tell me once all of us have a lil craziness to us, the question is- are we in control of it or is it in control of us???  I guess sin would fit this question eh??  Sin is by definition crazy in and of itself. Fighting against God, what could  be more crazy than that?? yet we all do it, some believing  there is no God to sin against though.

 It amazes me how our inner worlds are in constant motion, going all kinds of directions all at once, even though we may not reveal the slightest hint outwardly what we are experiencing inwardly. We all know how to maintain. Maintain. That is the word my friends in high school used for  keeping  composure publicly while stoned. Lol. Some can do that way better than others, some don't even want to do it.

Thoughts and feelings are intertwined so closely, hard to tell where one starts and the other ends. Funny how they get unblanced though. Some like to exclude one as opposed  to the other. Paul said he learned the secret of contentment in any situation he found hi8mself in. Of course, Paul had a spectacular vision of Jesus followed by months in seclusion being  trained for his apostleship with no  outside interference. How do we become like him and get that ability??  I know even when I find times of peace and contentment I soon  have thoughts and feeling   which interrupt it. Where do they come from??  James  says  we are tempted by our own  desires which emanate from our inner being. Is there a way to make that inner being completely yielded to God and His Will??? Is that what is supposed to happen when we are crucified with Christ so that we no longer live but Christ lives in us???  How can we  objectively know this is happening??? Don't we all bounce around like a pinball even when we don't want to because  things inside us and outside us effect us?? 

 Just thoughts. Feel free to  share if you  stop by and read.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


A challenging word there. One of those words kinda like a new years resolution- it leaves you wondering.... will I really??  We all have resolve, some low some high and all in between. My resolve likes to play hide and seek it seems, depending on what i am wanting to be resolved about. I have a resolve I want to grow and mature more and more, funny how the actuality of that process   happens so much differently than how I envisioned it in my mind.

It is always fun to read various blogs, either ones i have followed for awhile or ones i just discovered. So cool to encounter different ideas and thought processes about a whole myriad of subjects. I am always amazed how people seem to be able to break free from their inner world and discuss with gusto what is happening in life as they see it. As an introvert and an INFJ i find myself so wrapped up with the ramblings that reverberate inside my head and even though I know how to talk as well as write about it, always seems like I never do enough. Isn't it crazy how perfectionism pervades the entirety of human existence even though we all know in our heart of hearts achieving perfection is like trying to catch the wind?? 

 Love. God is Love. So it says in the Bible. Atheists deny this as they deny God even exists. They do believe in love though. i wonder if atheists struggle with doubt in certain  times of pain as believers do. Doubting God is real, doubting  eternal life is real. Do they doubt that death is not the end, that God really is there and they will meet Him some day???  I have more to ponder about on this  and related themes.

 For now, I resolve to keep growing, keep maturing,  accepting the process will be way different than how i want it to be.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Death to Life

Death has been a  primary subject on this blog for me once i began it back in 2005. Death has been a life theme  for almost all of my life, even before i became consciously aware. My dad  had cancer discovered when he was in the army  at 18. He actually met my mom  as she was his nurse- talk about a made for tv movie there!!!  He had  various operations  on and off to remove the cancer as it spread  different places in his body. he and my mom chose not to tell me or my  younger sister of the cancer or  his possibility of dying. I am sure an undercurrent of fear and  tension  pulsed beneath the surface, although life as i recall  was fairly normal and  regular middle-class american. I just share this as a backdrop as death has been in the forefront for me lately, as i have  seen friends die of heart disease or  run across it  almost everywhere i look.

 I don't know whats harder, having a fear or  having an awareness olf having a fear in spite of  knowing/believing deep down  the fear should  not  be there. Crazy eh??  I came out of the womb a sensitive soul i think, my inclination being one  that lent itself to  worry,fear and anxiety. Tjios showed  itself as life carried on in  natural responses i had to  things that occurred. My sister was the fearless one, i held back and was reluctant  to seek  adventure and  the unknown. I even showed this tendency with food. Until i was 18 i never  hardly ate mexican or chinese food. I stayed  basically with meat and potatoes   with italian as exception because i had an italian uncle and  anytime we ate  dinner there  pasta was the  main dish.

 I write this as a way to express the inner thoughts  going on and get them out on computer. Fear of death grips me at times  and  just squeezes  likme a tourniquet, thoughts of my heart stopping  flashing  inside my mind  making  ripples of anxiety flow  along. I have had these battles a long time and   really  find it hard  what to do. I tend to be stil land wait them out. I do not want the embarrassment of  displaying my  struggle  outwardly, especially when  they usually  pas on and  amount to nothing  but my own  imagination. What if  it was real though??  That is  a thought that plagues me often. 

  The reason again death has been so prevalent in my mind is  realizing  Jesus calls us to die. Die to sin of course but die nonetheless. Crucified with Christ as paul states it. The more i pray to have this as my reality i practice, the more death looms in my mind. I hope God understands my fragileness with this, even now at 51. My inner critic who has always been there  bashing me for  my lack of , whatever it is i lack, never seems to go away. Love and grace, toward myself,  are like a mirage that Ai  long for but end up realizing  are not really  there. As the king in King and i said, is a puzzlement. Rationally and  theologically i know better. Emotionally and  experientially, still  have the fear and panic inside of lacking, failing,unable to be and do what is required. I know others struggle as well, even others who  have been believers a long time. Just gets so wearisome at times. So, i write it out and pray with hope and faith, small as it may be, ican live another day and  somehow grow and be used beyond my ability to even understand. Because He lives, so can I.

Friday, August 10, 2012


Onions have layers. Life has levels. I think Maslows hierarchy of needs does a pretty fair job providing the wide range, but of course there are various smaller levels within the major levels. O the joy and pain of consciousness and awareness!!!!  I get caught up trying to juggle all the levels simultaneously     no wonder Solomon wrote Ecclesiastes!!!! Lol. Each one of us has a genuine uniqueness God chose as part of His infinite creativity. No snowflak is like any other. How much more then can that be true of us, who are created in God's Image???  

My thoughts bounce around like bumper cars at times, other times just slog like a snail or turtle. God is Almighty and Good, He is Love. What about all the instances which  seem to diametrically oppose this truth??/  Well, free will so that we are not robtos has alot ot with it. Lots of evil and suffering  occur  as a direct result of human action. Minds that seek to harm and manipulate. Selfishness trumping selflessness. As the song goes, what the world needs now is love sweet love, it's the only thing that there's just too little of.

 As i write that last paragraph, I can only  contemplate in wonderment at my levels and how i struggle between what my mind knows and desires and what i experience. God is Love, but He allows soooooooooooo much pain!!!!  He  seems absent even at the most  crucial of times. Deth lurks in the shadows, and  it can happen any second. We tend to block this out as we  live  moment by moment but then you  hear about or see the  massacre in war. The genocide in Africa.,lives destroyed by drugs,sickness,mental illness and more.I have read tons and tons of books on apologetics, purpose behind it all. Still, emotionally the questions and existential angst remain. Plus, there are  many  intelligent, mature and basically strong people who believe God  is like Santa Claus   an imaginary being. How????

  Again, just writing  from some of the tensions within my head. I wish i had more  self-control  over my thoughts and emotions. I can  wallow in the worst   *what-ifs* and  a lil later be  serene and  feel  no worries whatsoever. Constant swings  back and forth  not even sure why. The amazing thing is........ God remains the same even when my ability to fathom Him is somehow muddled. Yay that He IS God!!!!