Tag Archives: carpe diem

Don't Wait for Holiness to Reach for God

slipping through your fingers
John was going to move this beach by hand

Jesus Christ did not die on the cross so we could then earn our way into heaven. He paid that debt, and all he asks is that we surrender to him so that he might work within us to make us holy. He did not ask us to become holy so that he might then love us.

We must constantly remind ourselves that we cannot earn our way into heaven, and aren’t supposed to. We are to focus on building a relationship with the Almighty, and from out that relationship, good acts will pour out from you. Love, kindness, peace, justice … qualities of God will move through you if you’re actually connected to God. If you’re busy trying to do them yourself, what you’re saying is that you don’t need God, and that completely defeats the point of faith.

Religion, not the other hand, doesn’t care about God. It cares about submission to God’s rules and regulations, not a real connection with the Creator of the Universe.

This is a bit like a car trying to drive somewhere without fuel so it doesn’t have to go to the gas station. Humans are built to need God! When you are connected to God, it’s like being connected to a gas station everywhere you go! But you must remain connected, or you will slowly drain your tank and your life will come to a halt.

Waiting to be holy before you reach for God is ass-backwards. You are incapable of becoming holy. You are incapable of being righteous. You are worthless under your own steam. Without the thunderous waterfall of God’s mere presence, you aren’t even a trickle. You’re like a tear, for exactly how sad the concept is you can be good all by yourself.

Holier than thouWhen we place “being good” as the point, we miss it entirely. The real point is GOD (G-O-D). He IS the point. When you make him the point, everything else will flow out of that pursuit, that relationship, that love. And it won’t be easy, and you won’t always be on top of it. You’re going to screw up, you’re going to misinterpret something he said or you’ll be imagining what you want Him to say. You might forget your need and go wandering off. You might trip into an addiction — new or old. You might make a mistake bigger than burning your hand on a pot, and you may have to spend the rest of your life helping to raise a child you didn’t intend to create. Or pay back a debt for property you destroyed. Or serve time incarcerated for a moment of violence that will define that moment of your life. But at the end of it, all these things are from YOUR strength, YOUR prowess, YOUR wisdom.

God does not expect you to climb the mountain without a belay. He will fuel you, source you, direct you, guide you, shape you, live in and through you, but if and only if you are actually connected!

What does that connection look like? Well, ask yourself this. When you want to connect with someone, what’s the first and simplest way to do that? Conversation, perhaps? Let’s make a simple connection and say that talking to God is your first way to connect. Know what that’s called? Prayer.

Prayer doesn’t need to be an on-your-knees, candle in the corner, speaking in hushed tones in ancient language-kind-of-experience. What we’re discussing here is just plain talking. Talk to him about your day, about your concerns, about your fears, about your hopes. Let him worry about actually connecting with you, you just need to pursue connection with him.

connected to god, hand in hand
Firm Handshakes are Important for Meetings

Through that connection, all things become possible. God will change you, change your family, friends and work through you, will change the world. But he doesn’t do it like some arbitrary floating creature, he uses people with whom he’s connected! He wants to use you, change you, give you that abundant life, but you must have an umbilical secured to him! There is no walking alone in a relationship, you must give of yourself and express yourself — even in fear, even in doubt. You see, God’s perfection can handle our imperfection. We can be angry with God, frustrated, hurt. We can express that pain and that concern. He’s a big God! He’d rather you actually talk to him, even if it is yelling and hollering, than give him the cold shoulder! He’s not going to force you to engage with him, but he can’t work through you at all if you won’t even face him.

(When I say can’t or won’t, it’s not saying he’s incapable, but that he acts like a gentleman, and won’t give you a new life and a new soul if you don’t ask for it. He won’t impose himself in such a way, no matter how the church likes to spin that.)

So don’t wait. Don’t use your fear or doubt or anger as an excuse not even to get in the ring. You let God work you out. That requires surrender.

So if there’s ANY thing you’re supposed to do to find holiness? It’s surrendering to God, and letting him do the rest. Cuz trust me, He will do the rest!

Missing Out on the Breadth of Life

Lisa had her good days and not-so-good days ...

Models, beach strutters, hot mamas at the club, the cute girl at the coffee shop, honey pots at the front of your college class, that stunner secretary at work … they’re beautiful people all right, but not enviable by most standards, and certainly not worth fretting your own looks over.

The “beautiful people” most of us might so envy for their beauty are often some of the most insecure, self-concious people you’ll ever meet. I watch the trophy wives on TV playing “Wives of ____ County,” or the models you see in movies and the like, or walking the strips and boardwalks like here in San Diego, and while their beauty alone doesn’t dictate who they are on the inside, how they portray themselves often lends a great deal to their inner quality.

This is not a treatise on some inverse value of higher physical attraction to lower interior quality of soul. I’ve met some of the most beautiful people on the inside and out. But most? And I’m not just out to bash “hot” people. If anything, I’m trying to illustrate for any who might look upon them with envy.

Note: I’m not really including guys in this post because, let’s be honest, I don’t look at guys for attractive quality, so I have no real observation to offer.

For those of you who find yourselves comparing you to people you consider “beautiful,” know that many to most of them who might be at the higher end of the scale base a great deal of who they are by their attractiveness. It becomes a foundation to their world that they are found attractive. That’s why mom’s obsess about looking as thin as their daughters, teen girls want plastic surgery before they’re done even developing into the women they’re going to be, soon captured by the media’s worship of women carved by photoshop.

Told you your face would stick that way.

You can watch the older women dying to look like they’re younger, as if the sum of their value was calculated in the tightness of their skin or bounce of their breasts. You can see the youngers aching to be older. You watch an entire gender of self-conscious humans with real hearts and minds and souls wishing to exist within a 10-12 year timeframe of an average 70-year lifespan. Does that jive with anyone?

Are we so shallow as to base our entire lives on the short onset of our adulthood? You might say it is when we are more vibrant, most capable of bouncing back from our mistakes, a period where we likely will make the most mistakes after leaving the protection of our parents. We’re simultaneously youthful and yet adult-like. People wish we could maintain that forever, an immortal state of perpetual vibrancy.

But that’s not reality folks. We will grow and degrade. We will lose the stretch in our skin and breath in our lungs. The key here, like last night’s post about the apocalypse and embracing life, was to enjoy who we are where we are. When we’re 22 and attractive and completely stupid, enjoy it! When we’re 35 with a spouse and a kid, enjoy life! When we’re 62 and wondering what health problems we feel comfortable talking to our grown kids about, enjoy your wisdom and well-spent life!

Timmy loved his dentist.

Life is way too short to spend wishing you were somewhere in the future or somewhere in the past. Your life is a one-way scroll and it doesn’t change direction and it doesn’t pause, and if you spend the entirety of that life wishing you only had to experience a part of that life, you’re missing the awesome opportunity of depth and growth each phase of life offers.

Each comes replete with opportunities for joy and growth and life. You want more out of life? This is like eating healthy with every part of the pyramid, not just the sweets. Sweets make you fat, figuratively if not physically, and eating the full range of foods makes you feel better than just cake or ice cream.

Start living in this moment. Male, female or somewhere in between, life is right now, not in yesterday or tomorrow. If you do want to feel better, go work out, change your eating habits, live healthy. Enhance life in this moment. But don’t get caught up wishing you could be like you “were,” just be the best you can be right now.

Go for gold, my friends. Live now.

The (Un)Importance of the Apocalypse

Billy preferred a spicier flavor on his planets.

Once upon a time, I was an apocalyptist. I was really interested in the end of the world and when it would happen and how. And that Revelation was on my doorstep and all the signs were go for green.

And as I grew older, I still kept a vibrant interest in semantics, but I also listened how many times across history people thought the antichrist had arrived. And you know what? Most of their evidence was pretty good, when seen through their eyes. Our evidence, for the most part, is equally subjective.

More importantly, let’s say you’re right. The end of the world is nigh. We’re all dead.

What’re you going to do about it?

“Well, if I knew I was gonna die tomorrow, I’d live!”

And that, I believe , is the point of the prod. While the apocalypse is certainly a possibility, I also know the Bible can be either literal or figurative, and thus while the literal is very possible, the figurative is already present — the end may come at any moment. Live now as if you didn’t have tomorrow to put today off upon.

For some of us, our apocalypse might be tomorrow, when your car gets turned over on I-25 in a downpour, that heart attack-waiting-to-happen stops waiting, or Canada invades. Others might be part of an elaborate plan by Satan to take over the world, institute higher progressive income taxes and otherwise keep “The View” on the air. And still some of you will die in your beds, many years from now, and would you be willing, to trade, all the days- ah, sorry. Braveheart moment.

Why do people want to believe in the apocalypse?

Sarah loved redecorating in post-existence style.

Well, unlike most lives, it brings a finality you can expect. Not only finality, but also a bang, and people like going out with a bang. It reduces uncertainty for the future if there’s less future about which to be uncertain, and as twisted as that sounds, it works with humans. We’re rather twisted.

And then there’s the concept of finishing off conflict for good, either as a war-pushing competitive or as a conflict-shunning pacifist, though the latter is less likely to desire it. If some of you disagree that a pacifist would never think such a thing, then you’ve obviously never met a human with contradictions. Cuz obviously humans are perfect.

The apocalypse is in many faiths and cultures, and there might indeed be something to it. Perhaps the world will change. God returns. Satan rises. Aliens come down from Voerner Prime. Canada rises. You know, end of the world stuff. But many of them have tried and failed. Even those of my own faith using the parameters of our own apocalypse have predicted and failed. I don’t hold it against them. I mean, c’mon. Who appears more anti-Christ-ical than Adolph Hitler? And what more dire than World War II?

What’s the greater lesson we can take away from “apocalypse?”

Don’t wait for tomorrow to pursue your passions. Don’t let things get away from you, and don’t let something as monumental be the only thing that spurs you to faith, or to pursuing a hobby, or trying a new job. Life is short enough with the normal things we die from — like coconut. Coconut kills, folks. Coconut kills.

But what are you waiting on? Life doesn’t stop or start on apocalypses. It starts today! Get off your ass and get moving! Walk! Strut! Get a cab, but go!

The indemnable old man

I’ll close tonight with the indemnable Mark Twain.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain