Spiritual Flesh and Blood 3

The funeral of my mother at the age of five altered my life forever.  We had been a happy family.  I was not only provided for, but I had been invested in.  I had been the child of my parents’ happy marriage which had spilled over into a happy home.  My father, a manly man, had been so pleased to work hard to provide for his wife and children.  He felt he was good and he felt God was repaying him with this happy life.  With the death of my mother, I also lost my father.  He could not be father and mother, so he decided to be neither.  I lost my childhood.  I lost my innocent happiness.  I stood at her funeral, holding the hand of an aunt that I did not know, and so unsure of the new emotion that I felt:  fear.  I was a motherless child.  

After the ceremony, the few people my family knew in our little town gathered at our house.  It was a small simple farmhouse but my mother had made it a home.  With her death, even our home died.  Now it was just a house.  It suddenly lacked the charm that comes when there is happiness in the air.  I stood in the corner near the staircase.  I was blocked by a wall, but around the opening I could hear relatives whispering, “What will Matthew do with these children now?  What a burden for him.”

No, I was not the only child of Matthew and Grace Parker.  I was one of three children.  I had a brother, David, who was four years older and a sister, Fern, who was two years younger.

The whispers continued, “She always spoiled them and now he is going to have to pay the price.”

“Well, I think he deserves it.  He should have taken better care of her.  It is his fault this happened.”

“All I know is that children are expensive.  He doesn’t have any money.”

“Well, I happen to know where he can find a new wife.  That is the only solution I know of.”

“You are exactly right.  I mean it.  I agree with you.  And he’d better come to terms with that sooner than later.”

This was followed by small snickers.  They were not possessed by demons.  These people had been saved by God.  But they had been stopped in their footsteps.  They refused to fight.  They stood in their comforts of life and did not want to be burdened by the troubles of this world.  When they were tempted, they quietly gave in and kept it hidden.  When demons told them to judge, they gladly obliged.  They were modern day Pharisees.  The demons could not enter their bodies, but they could sit on their shoulders and whisper into their ears and influence their thoughts and actions.  The demons promised comfort in this world in exchange for their cooperation.

This is how the community felt about their responsibility to fill in the motherly gap that we now inherited.  There was never a solution or an attempt at one.  Our happy home was never happy again.  We had lost Eden.

To be continued…

Spiritual Flesh and Blood 2

And with that the angel army charged and the two armies collided for the beginning of a fierce battle in the war of a precious life.  That life was me.  This story is my unseen life, more real than this tangible world we feel and breathe and taste.  This is my story, lasting for eternity.

There is Heaven and there is Hell.  There is a spiritual world that we cannot see.  And there is earth.  It is controlled by the spirits but humans give too much regard to sight.

On the earth, mankind heard the first cries of a new baby.  I was born.  Claire Louisa Parker.  Fully human and claimed by God.  He had sent an angelic army to protect me and to claim me for his own.

But I was blemished I was born with sin.  I was in need of a savior.  There was still a war to be fought.

My parents loved me.  The love of my parents was the first victory Angel Life won.  My mother and father were innocent and they were ignorant.  They loved me and they loved each other.  But they built a weak foundation that could not stand the test of the war that surrounded them.  Their base, their family, was soon to collapse.

Demon Death swung his sword and struck the left shoulder of Angel Life, leaving a great injury.  From this world, my mother collapsed.  Her love and her guidance left me.  Her love had been the stronghold of our family.  Human love and human goodness was not enough.  Our family lacked a firm foundation.  My mother died when I was five and my life would always feel the wound.  Mourning and suffering plagued my childhood home.  Overnight, dark forces settled over our house that was no longer a home.

To be continued…

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Naked People in Heaven

Instant bad mood.  I search around for my screaming phone on the floor under my bed.  The damn alarm clock continues to scream at the top of its lungs.  Slowly gaining control of my sleeping body, I step out of bed, pick up my phone and turn off the alarm.  The pain of waking up.  In heaven, I will roll over and enjoy the waking up process just as much as snuggling into bed and drifting off to sleep.  (That is if we sleep in heaven.)

My world runs about me in fast forward.  Honking impatiently at the slow moving car, spending what we don’t have for the newest item that hits the shelves, driving around our children to some place other than home.  Why do I join the insanity of the crowd?  I do believe in busying oneself with hard work, but that is not what is happening here.  We are all consumed with what does not matter.

Now.  What we want is now.  The admiring stares of those we don’t know.  Now.  The praise of what drives us around.  Now.  Winners of the race.  Packed pantries to overflowing.  Fashonable jewelry on our bodies and extra in the closet.  Fancy modern restaurants.  Everything that our neighbors have.  Our neighbors that we want to be like, not the ones outside of our neighborhood.

But all we think about is now and we laugh at anyone that suggests otherwise.

Ted Turner is famous for a lot of things, one of them is stating what is on his mind.  Hey, I can respect that.  He likes to chose his words so that other people listen.  He doesn’t just fit into the crowd.  I respect that also.  But I wish that someone would tell him, and a whole lot of the rest of the world, that they are on the wrong train.  When Turner quoted, “I’d rather go to hell.  Heaven has got to be boring.”  I wish someone would have asked him, “What do you want most in life?”….”It will be in heaven.”

Heaven is better than being a billionaire.  There is money to spare, Hey, let’s pave these streets with gold.  Heaven is better than pornography!  THERE WILL BE PERFECT BODIES WALKING AROUND NAKED!  And it will be a good thing!  No one will be embarrassed!  (There will be no sin in heaven.  Pornography is a destructive, cruel sin.  The point is, naked bodies will be good….and everywhere.)  Heaven is better than Hawaii.  All the food will be paid in full!  Heaven is better than Christmas!  That baby Jesus, he will be with us!  It doesn’t sound boring to me!

And what will not be in heaven?  Babies without mommies.  Wheelchairs won’t be needed in heaven, or medicine, or hospitals.  There will not be divorce, no one’s heart will be broken.  What have you been through?  What hurts?  What tugs at your heart and makes you cry out, “That is not right!”  God will end it.  He will make all the wrongs undone and he will wipe away that tear.

“Jesus’ miracles are not just a challenge to our minds, but a promise to our hearts, that the world we want is coming.”  Tim Keller.

So, look at this world.  Read the Bible.  Take a look at what is good in this world.  LORD, FIX MY PRIORITIES!  SET MY MIND ON THINGS ETERNAL!  Get ready.  It is going to be the best party of all of eternity.  Don’t throw away your invitation.

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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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Because of Love

When I am going, when my days are gone, let me be in his arms. He will rub my head and call me baby.  We will sit and just be, just be in our old age and he will tell me one more story of our days together. I will close my eyes and smile and the happily ever after will have been lived between us two. 

I’ll say walk me down the isle, a tear will roll down his cheek with the thought of giving me away. But because of love, he will rejoice for me. And he will give me away. I will pass from his loving arms into an eternal marriage. A love that will bring me away. Bring me away to a mansion. Bring me away to perfection. Bring me away to the arms of my Jesus. 

The Bright Victory

“Here is joy that cannot be shaken.  Our light can swallow up your darkness:  but your darkness cannot now infect our light.”  C.S. Lewis 

It does not matter how small I am, I am a light. And a small flame can set a forest ablaze. There is nothing that darkness can do to hide light. Light always wins!  Go to the deepest, darkest cavern, consumed by the darkest of darkness and it can not close out light. 

Christianity is under attack. Claim the name of Jesus and you will be mocked, you will be persecuted, be it verbal or physical. But what do we expect?  We are in a battle!  The louder we shout, the harder we fight, Satan sends his strongest to silence us. 

But we know the secret. THE BATTLE HAS ALREADY BEEN WON!  Christ the King will sit on the throne, he will claim the victory, and he will emaciate death and pain and suffering and Satan and all his greatest tools. And Satan knows it! He is the King of Lies!  

But we wave the torch, we march, we shout, we will fight and we will win. This light will shine brighter and brighter. The power of God Almighty is on our side and nothing can separate us from him, this light can not be extinguished. 

The Bend

Living his life for something bigger than himself, but an unworthy cause, he lives for the destruction of as many as possible. He will bow.

The mother and the father, the rich man that always gave orders and was obeyed, the addict living on the street. They will bow.

The old man that spent his days serving others. The lady that could never get enough. The Hollywood actress, the NBA star, and the politician. They too will bow.

Those that find in their humility their great strength and those that their strength will be broken. Some will fall in obedience and some will be forced. Knees will fall in love and adoration and others in agony and regret. 

But with a mighty blow, none will hide. From every country, every race, every class, every age, and every nation, all will bow. 

They will fall to their knees in terror or in praise, but they will bow and they will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. 

The Drum Roll

The prince swings his sword to slay the dragon, the runner pulls ahead, the mother pushes and the baby crowns, he is on his knee and takes her hand. 

We love a story!

WHY?!!!

We live in the drum roll. Jesus has created mankind and this world we live in. There is the problem of sin. We screwed up really bad. God made a plan of forgiveness and paid the price. 

And we live in the drum roll. My eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord. His lips are on the trumpet. Satan feels his pending doom and sweeps the Earth with a final blow. 

The drum beat is low but constant, the sound rises and rises. The drummer is beating the great crescendo. We feel it in our hearts!  

Jesus is coming in the clouds!  Truth will be known. Questions will be answered. And God Almighty will fling the insult of Satan and his army into eternity where they can no longer lie to God’s children. The great arm will hammer once more upon the drum and we will applaud. Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. And the best ending ever will be happily ever after that will last for all of eternity. 

Christians are Messed Up People AND They are Perfect People

In an incredible oversimplication, I am going to make a statement, “There are two types of nonchristians.”  They are:

1. Those that believe that christians are really screwed up. They are wrong. 

2.  Those that believe that christians are perfect people. They are wrong. 

They are both wrong, but they can not both be right. (This sounds a little like “who is on first” if you know that joke).  

Ok. First, those that believe Christians are really screwed up. Yes!  Christians are so messed up, they realize that they need Jesus. That is the definition of a Christian:  A sinner that seeks Jesus for forgiveness.  I, myself, claim how messed up Christians are constantly in my writings. But these are the people that conclude:  christianity is not true because Christians sin. They walk away from the church because they are a bunch of hypocrites or because their christian uncle was a real jerk or whatever. Well, the church is full of hypocrites and your uncle was a jerk but he was not Jesus either. Christians turn to Jesus for forgiveness and Jesus is perfect. Also, there are a lot of people that claim to be Christians that are not. Especially here in the Bible Belt. Being repetitive, yes, Christians mess up. That is why they need Jesus. But here is why they are wrong:  Christians are forgiven. They are holy, righteous, and redeemed. The price has been paid and Jesus has wiped away all their guilt and shame. 

So, the second group of people. They are wrong also. Those that believe that Christians are Christians because they are good people. They believe they are people that have their lives together and therefore they are Christians. Many of these people believe that Christians are people that do not cuss or drink. Those people don’t know what to do with me!  But no, Christians are messed up, if they have anything together, then praise Jesus because he is at work in them! 

Now, yes!  I do believe that putting my hope in Jesus changes me. Like the Aposotle Paul said, it is not a ticket to keep sinning for the fun of it. However, Christians do sin!  Christians do mess up!  Anyone that thinks otherwise has never read (or understood) the Psalms. King David was an adulterer and murderer suffering from depression when he called out to God. And when you read the Psalms, you will see that this life, these emotions, are a continual cycle. This life is not an easy fix. David cries out to God in agony and questions (this is ok to do), but he realizes time and time again that God is worthy of his praise. (The verses are in bold.)

Help, Lord, for no one is faithful anymore. I can hardly stand to read the news because of all of the sickening crime. I have heard many people say they do not watch the news because it is too depressing. David’s desperate thoughts of those around him sound quite familiar. 

How long, Lord?  Will you forget me forever?  “Oh no!  Hide these feelings!”  It is not acceptable to be real and open and raw in many “Christian” circles. Yet, if we open our Bibles, these are the words we read. 

My God, I cry out by day but you do not answer.  Have you ever felt like this?  I have. 

But I will trust in your unfailing love.  David has to speak with his head, sometimes not his heart, and remind himself of God’s promises. 

I will sing the Lord’s praise, for he has been good to me. Pray and worship. Sing to God. When you do not feel like it, DO IT. 

I say to the Lord, “Apart from you I have no good thing.”  Christians are messed up. They are just people that know that they sin and they realize their need for Jesus. 

I love you, Lord, my strength.  But, the big but, is that Christians are not messed up anymore. We are holy, righteous, redeemed. Like David, we still mess up now, but we have already been forgiven and we have already been set free and we have the Lord as our strength and our refuge and our present help. Lord, as King David confessed, I love you and I need you. Alone, I am messed up, but thank you that you are perfect and you are the only one that could forgive me and make me holy, righteous, and redeemed!