"So," they say, "nobody's perfect!"
But the Vinedresser won't buy that.
Given the opportunity, He will trim the unproductive suckers and shape the branches so each one will bask in Sonlight.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Me? A serial killer?

Relating to Trisha's book reviewed below, I want to confess my own adolescent trauma. I know from teen heartache. Yes, I could have chosen some better paths during my youth, but my mistakes weren't those of excess ... unless one includes excessively introverted. I was ruled by fear, governed by dread of anyone finding out who I really was. Shame is an awful load for an adolescent boy to carry, yet, I had overtly done nothing worthy of such shame.
        As a "good" Catholic boy, I constantly bore a super-human load of guilt for my "impure thoughts." Fortunately for the world, I was too timid to act out any of my dark fantasies.
        When I came to the Lord, He took away my sin, but losing that sense of shame is another issue. Of course, like all of life's trials, even that spectre can contribute to God's glory. Due to His infinite grace and wisdom, I still fully understand my unregenerate capacity for evil. Without Jesus in my life, I could potentially become another Jack the Ripper, Jefrey Dahmer, or Ted Bundy.
        Am I really so terrible? Fact is, anyone without Christ has the potential of perpetrating the greatest evil. Praise God, my greatest fear today is of doing anything that might become a reproach to my Father.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

My Life, Unscripted by Trisha Goyer

If you're a teen, and you're ready to admit that maybe your life is in danger of spinning out of control, get this book. And if you can't afford it, let me buy it for you.
        No, I'm not a weirdo. Well... maybe a little weird. But if you want a personal recommendation that I'm not an Internet stalker, just e-mail Trisha Goyer to ask how dangerous I am.

As the title indicates, the book is, My Life, Unscripted, and here's a note from the author, Trisha Goyer:

Looking back at my drama-filled teen years I now wonder ... What was I thinking?

The truth? I wasn't. I lived from day to day on every wave of emotion. Some days excitement and passion partnered up, pattering wildly within my heart.

Other days, depression and anxiety were my silent friends. I lived each day as it came, with no plan for my future, for my relationships, or for my heart.

I lived my life completely unscripted ... and, well, it didn't go well for me. Teen pregnancy and a broken heart were only two consequences. Yet my prayer is that when teen girls are asked Who's Writing Your Life? their answer will be ME ... with the guidance of God, My Director.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

A New Delight

        Anyone who enjoys the sonic flood(please excuse the reference, SF) of organ music needs to click on over to this J. S. Bach site. There, you will find dozens of links to the powerful organ renditions of Bach's music by various talented artists. I particularly enjoyed Pilar Cabrera's lively execution of a number of Bach's masterpieces.
And speaking of masterpieces, the grand Blancafort Organ in Marbella, southern Spain, leaves one breathless with its pure, powerful tonal quality.

They're Watching

          This Our Daily Bread devotional lesson is worth considering. I know it got me thinking.
          All my life I've been consumed with how others see me, that they will like me. As I grow in the Lord I become more aware that this isn't the issue I should be concerned about. So I pray for the illusive ability to see myself as God sees me. Yet, this message suggests that I should be concerned about others' perceptions, that they see Christ in me, rather than this corrupt vessel. Now I'm back to wondering if I represent Jesus to the world in an honest, transparent, convincing way. What a quandary!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

A Slow, Delightful, Death

        Suicide is one of today's most insidious killers. While it takes people of all ages, it preys most viciously on young people from pre-teenage to early twenties. Their deaths spell tragedy on so many levels, but possibly the most awful aspect is that youth suicide is so easily preventable.
        Though experts implement intervention programs, applying the most advanced psychological theories, trying to save a few young lives from being wasted, the death toll just keeps climbing. With ever more young people becoming tragic statistics despite the best academic minds' best efforts, a new, revolutionary approach has emerged to end this wasteful, preventable, epidemic.
        A new kind of death exists that, rather than wasting young peoples' potential, opens a new door to develop it to a far greater degree than they could have ever imagined. This astonishing new mortality concept, rather than ending their mortal lives, actually leaves them breathing, selectively killing only the diseased part of their character that makes them miserable enough to prefer death to facing an unacceptable life.
        That character disease is the behavioral cancer, present in every living soul, that predisposes its victims to a self-centered pattern of resistance to authority that produces only misery and heartache. Of course, most young people never rush to the brink of suicide, but most of them become miserable enough at some point in their young lives to at least consider that drastic step. And even if they never reach that point of desperation, the mistakes they make due to that soul-cancer affect their entire lives with unnecessary pain and guilt, robbing them of the pure love, joy and peace they were created to enjoy.
        The only procedure effective in eradicating that soul-cancer involves delicate surgery using a unique, double-edged instrument called, The Sword. And only one Surgeon is qualified to use it, but His success rate is perfect—provided the patient submits to the surgery without reservation.
        A passage from The Sword's instruction book explains its use in just a few words: For the Word of God is living, and powerfully working, and sharper than every two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of both soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge of the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12 LITV)
        Speaking of the Surgeon's skill: and there is no creature unrevealed before Him; but all things are naked and laid open to His eyes, with whom is our account. (Hebrews 4:13 LITV)
        That Surgeon is, of course, the only divine Son of the Living God, the Lord Jesus Christ. By allowing Him to operate on one's diseased spirit, a young—or old—person can become new. So that if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new! (2 Corinthians 5:17 LITV)
        The old, pain-causing soul-cancer will be gone, and only the Surgeon's new life of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and self-control will remain for this lifetime and for eternity.