A Link to My Longest Writing Ever

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FREE BOOK! …and a good one at that!

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For a limited time, a condensed version of my novel is available for download FOR FREE.  Please click on the link below and download Spiritual Flesh and Blood.  

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The doctor kept talking but I did not hear any of it. I felt like I could not breathe. I was led into the room where his tiny body lay. There were IV’s and tubes inside him everywhere. His tiny body was covered with a white sheet, only his head was exposed. I slowly rubbed my fingers down his cheek. He was still warm and just looked like he was sleeping only he was a little pale. I carefully removed the tube from his nose and I said, “Shh. It’s okay,” as I did so.

He should be in our home. He should be in his bedroom that was carefully prepared for him with details of his little life already added. On his closet door, there was a picture colored from Gracie of the two of them standing under the sun and blue sky on a field of flowers. His clothes were carefully laid out on his changing table for our day of shopping. He loved to make noises as he pushed little cars wherever he went. He was always carrying a matchbox car with him. Carter had set up a track beside his crib and the two of them would push cars and Carter would race them and Tucker would laugh so admiringly at his big brother. He should be lying in his crib, covered with his favorite blue fuzzy blanket. He should be wearing those cotton baseball jammies that snapped up the front. His hair should be matted down and sticking up on one side. His body should be warm and I would pick him up and put his cheek to mine and sing “Rise and Shine” as we revisited Gracie’s room to wake her up.

But my world had been turned upside down. Things were not as they should be. I had never cried so hard. I had never hurt so badly. I kissed his little face over and over. I could not tell him goodbye. I would not tell him goodbye! He was one year, eight months and two days old. He meant the world to me. How could I say goodbye to all the promises that his life held?

He was an early walker. I knew he was going to be a marathon runner. He was always smiling. I knew he was going to be the classroom clown. He had big blue eyes. He was going to be such a handsome man. He had a perfect father and big brother to teach him everything that a man should be. How could I say goodbye to our play time together while the other kids were at school? How could I tell Gracie her “little baby doll” was gone? How could I say goodbye to kindergarten graduation? How could I say goodbye to baseball games? How could I say goodbye to college plans? And the beautiful wife that I had already been praying for? And the job where he was going to succeed? How could I say goodbye to his big blue eyes? How could I say goodbye to his eyes? I cried and cried over his little body until there were no more tears. But there was a new deep deep pain that I had never felt before.

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Faith Doesn’t Matter

Pushing against the open wound of the nail stuck in his foot, his human body pressed against the shocking pain until his chest was able to gasp and then he released, feeling the choking pressure against his chest.  Beyond the worst day in history, his was the worst life.  No other suffering on earth could begin to even comprehend his bursting heart that bled water and blood at the rejection of his Father, the breaking of the Trinity, perfect holiness carrying the burden of complete sin.

Mary looked on, her mind overcome with what she beheld.  She is the only mother that, rightly, ascended her son to her personal God.  She remembered the miracle of the joy of a virgin birth announced by the Angel Gabriel.  Her marriage with Joseph had forever been bonded with the realization that they had been sent here to raise the God of the Universe.  Her life, her faith, her son, her everything hung in agonizing pain and she could do nothing to relieve him.  Everything was dying here.  Satan had won.

He, literally, stood in heaven in the very presence of God himself.  Lucifer was the director of the choir, spending his days in worship of God Almighty.  His voice, his body, his eternal life was beyond beauty, it was heaven.  He, literally, spent his days in the perfection of heaven.  Lucifer believed in God, as real as anything he had ever seen, touched, or experienced in any capacity.  If there was even this life that he lived, he knew it was created by God that sat upon his throne.  And yet Satan turned.  And he was flung into the fiery pit of Hell.  Even the demons believe, believe in the one true God of the Universe, and their belief does not save them.

My Western culture holds tight to few things, but remaining in the hearts of the vast majority of Western thinkers is the foundation of LIFE, LIBERTY, and the pursuit of HAPPINESS.  And I will take it!  I cling, with those that vary so much from me, to the belief that these ideals have made my home nation who we are today.  We are a people that stop whatever we are doing to fight for freedom, as well we should.  We believe that one life is important, we believe in holding debates and agreeing to disagree, we believe in differing opinions and a different perspective of personal happiness, and we believe in not taking away those rights from our neighbors.  But somewhere along the way, this belief was skewed into the belief of believing:

“Believe whatever you want to believe.”

“It does not matter what you believe, as long as you have enough faith.”

And this is why we see our culture beginning to crumble.  From inside the church, inside the educational system, inside government, and the very core of our foundation:  the family. We are falling apart because we no longer cling to right and wrong, we believe that as long as you believe in something, that is all that matters.  But what if BELIEF DOES NOT MATTER.  Faith is not what saves us.  Even the demons believe and shutter.

If you want a religion of faith, there is none greater than Islam.  Muslims believe so wholeheartedly in the afterlife that parents proudly offer up their children to jihad.  Wealthy husbands leave their life of comfort and their wives and children behind to strap bombs to their chests and die in the fight.  WHY?!  This blows our Western minds!  IT IS BECAUSE OF THEIR FAITH!  It is because they believe more boldly than the majority of Christian believers believe in their God that Allah is going to send them straight to a world of bliss where there will be more pretty girls waiting for them than they can comprehend.  According to the words of the Qua-ran, girls that will never have to blow their nose or menstrate, girls with beautiful dark eyes, girls that can not take their eyes off of their martyr hero.  And these men will have supernatural ability to have sex over and over again.  This is why they want to leave this world as quickly as they possibly can!  Because they have so very much FAITH!

So, why are Westerners running out of the church as soon as they are off to college?  Why are Christian marriages just as likely to end in divorce as any?  Why does our culture now criticize and despise Christians?  Why are followers labeled as hateful as soon as they mention their God?  IT IS BECAUSE FAITH HAS BECOME THE FOCAL POINT OF THE WESTERN CHURCH!

Now, Am I splitting hairs here?  Don’t I, myself, speak of my faith and praise faith?  Yes!  An extremely important side note is that FAITH IS IMPORTANT, FAITH PERFORMS MIRACLES, FAITH IS NECESSARY AND GREAT!  So, what am I complaining about?  And it is this:  Faith is not the most important, LOVE is!

Love is why Jesus nailed himself to the cross.  Love is why Mary will be in heaven even when she lost all faith at the foot of the cross.  The absence of love is why Satan was thrown out of heaven and into eternal damnation.  The absence of love is the leader of jihad.  And the absence of love is why the American church is falling apart.

Love restores marriages.  Love rescues families.  Love gathers people to church (not rules!). Love saves lives!  The only answer is love.

AND THESE THREE REMAIN:  FAITH, HOPE, AND LOVE.  BUT THE GREATEST OF THESE IS LOVE.

I Need What He has to Offer

I find myself lacking. I look at all I am and the complete of it is inadequate. I know all too well my faults and my failures. 

Who is this man that knows my name?  He calls me beloved.  It can not be, he is the King!  

But I mess up all too much. My mistakes are a burden, drowning me in guilt. He takes my hand and leads me to the cross.  “Do you want to be free?”

I clutch my chains and hold them tight, I cling to my guilt, my shame, and my pain. It is my pride. 

I am nothing. He is everything. He chose me. Now I must choose, freedom from my chains or the pain of my pride. 

Get Impatient

We, as christians, as humans, should be extremely irritated with this world!  Even things that are not sin, are messed up. It has all been impacted by the curse. 

I can not stroke a lion’s man because that got messed up for me. My apple tree has no apples and has some fungal speckles all over the leaves. Picnics can get all together ruined by mosquitoes. 

And then it gets even more personal than my backyard. Cancer. No one sinned that I should have Cancer, but I live in a fallen world. A world that is not how it should be. And sometimes it is just quite irritating. And irritated, impatient, upset, even angry is as I should be. 

I used to struggle with the story about Jesus cursing the fig tree. Why couldn’t he be more patient?  Hmmm…let’s just skip over that story. 

And then I realize, Jesus never sinned. He always did what he was supposed to do. And we are supposed to be like him. He was supposed to be irritated. That fig tree was not as it should be. He made fig trees with figs and sin messed that up. 

Sin should make us impatient for heaven. We should hunger and thirst and be able to concentrate on nothing apart from Jesus. We should be angry at the bitter cold, we should cry out at the sight of death, we should hurl curses at the devil when we see his work on this earth. Because this is not the way it is supposed to be. 

And one day it won’t be. And there will be no more anger. And no more need to be patient because fig trees will have figs in heaven. 

You Have Messed with the Wrong City

  
 Suddenly the “to do” list didn’t seem so important. 

We were rushing about our day, accomplishing laundry, summer reading, vacuuming, and memorizing American presidents. We were ready to leave to check one more item off our list, the uniform resale, when I got the terrifying news:  ACTIVE SHOOTER. 

As I watched the news unfold over the next hour and a half, and Islamic terrorists had opened fire in a military facility. By the end of the day, there are four dead marines and several more injured. Saturday morning, the fifth victim, a young sailor, is dead. 

Immediately, I feel there are no words. But now I have found those words and I have to speak them:

Chattanooga. Evils happen around the world. I know they have existed since the beginning of time. But not this. Protected by the mighty hand of God from such catastrophic tragedies but as people have turned their faces from God, times have change. Islamic terrorists in Chattanooga. 

The facility that was invaded was a NO GUN zone. Did that stop this criminal? Of course not!  It stopped our men in the armed forces from being able to defend themselves!  I know nothing more absurd!  Arm our armed forces!

This man was NOT an Islamic extremist, he was simply a Muslim following the Quran. ISLAM IS NOT A RELIGION OF PEACE!  It is a religion of fear and hate!  Muhammad received revelations from the Angel Gabriel. There are contradictions in the book. Any verse, such as :  live at peace with people of the book (christians) is later contradicted with: kill anyone who is not Muslim. They believe they should follow the later commandments of Muhammad’s life. The Islam faith teaches to kill anyone who is not Muslim. It teaches the only way to ensure a spot in heaven is to kill a nonMuslim. 

Our own president is a disgrace!  He addresses the issue as he slouches in his chair and then proceeds with his fundraising trip. He, himself, has a Muslim name and speaks of Islam as a religion of peace. He plays off the ignorance of the American people. 

For the sake of the five who have died. No more. This attack hit home and we have united to defend and protect this city. The police force acted quickly and brought down the shooter. I assure you he is not enjoying virgins now. This is a wake up call, but this sleeping giant has been woken up, and you have messed with the wrong city, the wrong people, the wrong country!  We have gathered around Chattanooga, she is our own, and you have messed with the wrong people!

The Pursued Decision

My mind engaged in Buddism, clearing all the chaos. I released myself of riches and the hamster wheel of comfort. When suffering plagued my days, I sought to release their power. There was no purpose in their pains. But they stalked me, humoring in their disturbance, and I wasted away my life seeking relief from my fleeting days. My days of calm were no peaceful offering for the meaning of my passing life. 

I seek Allah, days full of ritual prayer. His commands tell me to be good, to follow his decrees.  But when the hammer of judgement falls, I find that I fail so miserably. I can not live up to his scale. Fear is all I know. 

I live for this world, pursuing pleasures. One after another, I drink in their delight. When this one fades, so very quickly, I seek the next craving, surely it will fill me. Unexpected and hurt,  it leaves me even more empty. 

Who is this God that pursues me?  The Creator of hydrangea blossoms and painter of beach sunsets. “My child, that longing and ache in your heart, it is my whisper. It is me, come and see what I have prepared for you. Your weakness will be my strength, for I will make you whole.”  My every hearts desire leads me to his purpose. The tears of my hopeless nights, undone in his presence. Mercy to erase my hate, my selfishness, and my quick to anger ways. Grace that abounds what my soul longed for always. 

“Why?!  I have searched the gods, I have traveled far and wide and longed for just happiness. All the gods demand that I meet their standards and they ask for all of me.  But you tell me that I am offered the gift of you. Why would you far exceed what I ask?  And why would you possibly approach me?!”

And when all the gods dismiss me, when I find myself failing, the only one that matters searched and he found me. 

The Worst Sin Ever Invented

We are saved by faith alone, it is none of me and all of him, so that no man can boast. But faith without works is dead. 

An obese man has a heart attack. He passes out and lays on the pavement unconscience. Quickly, he is rushed away by the ambulance. The paramedics revive him, return him to stability, and save his life. It was them that saved his life and not himself. All them. None of him. But if he thanks them and stops at McDonalds on the way home, walks in the door and heats up a pizza, and downs a whole package of Oreos while waiting on the pizza, he is as good as dead. He can not thank them and expect to be saved over and over. He must change. Faith without works is dead. 

This is my imperfect analogy, but I believe it applies to so very many today in my culture. I live fat on the hog with 911 programmed into my phone, but Christ calls us to CHANGE!  We post our articles on Facebook slamming sinners that are different than us, gossip about our neighbors and even our friends to shine our halos, quote our “I would never”s, and live our self righteous lives turning people away from Jesus faster than we can argue our point. 

“It would be dangerous to think of oneself as a person of high ideals…it might lead you to become a prick and think you were rather a special person who deserved to be congratulated on his idealism.”  CS Lewis

And here is my point, the prostitute is not claiming how good she is and pointing out Bible verses to all the druggies around her. The alcoholic, the homosexual, the drug dealer is not judging and condemning. Are they sinning in their lifestyle?  Yes!  The Bible says so, not me. HOWEVER, they are not turning people away from Jesus!

And THAT is why Jesus condemned the Pharisees and hung out with the outcast sinners!  Now, wooa Caroline!  Should we all sin to point others to Jesus?  Nope!  As stated earlier, faith without works (change) is dead, “Go and sin no more.”  

But there is a HUGE difference here!  A matter of LIFE and DEATH!  We are NEVER COMMANDED TO BE SELF RIGHTEOUS!  We are never commanded to point others to ourselves and how good we are, we are to point others to JESUS!

I also was a sinner, Jesus saved me!  I also was lost, Jesus found me!  We are to forgive because we were forgiven more, we are to love because we were first loved, we are to SHINE THE LIGHT OF JESUS, NOT THE LIGHT OF SELF!  The difference is a matter of eternal life and death. 

Do Not Get Comfortable

Kicking and screaming, I had my own idea of what I wanted to do. I had my own plans to seek out to accomplish. God’s will was getting in my way.

I was blind, sick, hungry, and poor.  He did everything, it was not of me. I can not turn on a light when I do not even know that I am in darkness. My mind was awakened to my depravity. He is everything, everything to me. 

I gave him my plans for his. This is not a relationship to fit into pop-culture.  This is not a religion to make myself look good. I give him that, my acceptance and my image.

“A civil war.  A rebellion, and that we are living in a part of the universe occupied by the rebel. Enemy occupied territory, that is what this world is.  Christianity is the story of how the rightful king has landed…and is calling us all to take part in a great campaign of sabotage.” CS Lewis, Mere Christianity

Do I want to move in and make myself at home?  Do I want to be a rogue soldier that has defected from my country?  Heaven is my home and I am getting ready. My God has more than supplied my needs. I show up and he does the work. I am present and he is the power. This is a rescue mission. There is family to save.  

Do not seek comfort  in this world that can not give it. Do not be surprised when the enemy attacks. He lies in secret and waits for me.  Do not try to fit in. Do not fear this evil that has already been defeated. The outcome is victory.  I am a soldier in a battle. I am here on a mission. This world is not my home. It is enemy territory. 

The Great Victory of Pain

Good and evil are not two equal opponents battling in this world. Christ has won the victory!  He has already defeated Satan and his evil force. 

In the book of Job, we see Satan approach God who is the supreme power in charge. Satan accuses Job of worshiping God because of the many blessings in his life. God does not will, but he allows Satan to cause great suffering in Job’s life. 

WHY?  So that the name of the Lord will be praised!  Job endures the stripping of his wealth, the sudden death of all of his children, the betrayal of his wife and his closest friends, and excruciating pain. 

In his many questions, he never sins. The famous words of Job cursed Satan, defeating his argument with a powerful blow.  His words are a reminder for all who suffer: 

The Lord gives and the Lord takes away, BLESSED BE THE NAME OF THE LORD!