June 26, 2017

Hope in The One Who Comes Next – Poetry by James Cartee

This photograph is just one of many taken in Peru and other areas of South America by creator of this blog, James Cartee. His work is available for view and purchase at the following website: www.jamescartee.smugmug.com

 

Hope in The One Who Comes Next – Poetry by James Cartee

I miss the sound of you
That strikes my heart.
Strings play beautiful symphony music
At the steps of your pace.
I never won with a crush
On the playground
With a wild imagination.
You would not have me
At the end of my pursuit in the chase.
I lost without remorse
For in my heart
I gave it my absolute all;
I gave it my absolute best.
I stand proud today hopeful
In the one who comes next.

With continual struggle of stagnancy
In a new home I loathe,
Even three years after last contact
Through mutual good byes,
You stand and serve
In frequent mindful imagery.
In transition as a partner in presence,
I dream you would alleviate my fallen feelings.
I was wrong to expect such from God
And from you in circumstances beyond control.
Somehow I still feel you lost,
But many choose to play it safe
Without running the risk to take ministry
To a newfound level for thousands.
I shock and shine others in unseen ways
With outgoing boldness unlike most people.
I cannot fathom a lifetime without
Service towards a higher purpose.
We serve in an army of light
For the salvation of the lost,
The plight of the fatherless,
And the next coming of The Christ.
You poisoned me with false words,
And I fell into the bear trap
Of an abyss with no end.
I imagined in a message from God
What would never be.
If only you saw what I see,
Then hearts connect for eternity.
It no longer matters what you want
Because together we serve God
In His timing, in His ways,
And to the very end of our earthly days.
You missed the journey,
And now I gallop into the sunset
With my White Knight,
Unstoppable alone until the end comes.

I miss the sound of you
That strikes my heart.
Strings play beautiful symphony music
At the steps of your pace.
I never won with a crush
On the playground
With a wild imagination.
You would not have me
At the end of my pursuit in the chase.
I lost without remorse
For in my heart
I gave it my absolute all;
I gave it my absolute best.
I stand proud today hopeful
In the one who comes next.

JLC iii, 11/9/12

Do Not Have Expectations: No Disappointment Results but Only Joy

 

Our expectations often fall short of our hopes, leading to disappointment, but at the same time, we must give life a chance and people as well. Unfulfilled decisions are not the end of the journey. Our perseverance in patience often brings the best of results and blessings when our expectations go to God. A better process exists that might work for you: do not have any preconceived expectations. In other words, just go with the flow, conscious that God controls what we cannot often grasp. Wisdom comes with realization of this truth. If balance exists between hope and reality and when to experience joy, one must learn to not overstretch expectations no matter the circumstances, even when mental pictures suggest otherwise. Disappointment will more likely not occur. Better yet, joy arises because you never expected something too grandeur to occur. God brings large blessings upon our life when we do not expect him to act in human ways. We sometimes think we know how to play holy. Truth exposed, we have no clue. We should realistically let God play God while we play the role of an acknowledged sinner. Express your wishes to God. Speak your prayer requests into existence. When God answers your prayers, “let Jesus take the wheel” of your car and your life (Carrie Underwood Song).

In recent moments of my own indulgence, I encourage you not to learn this lesson the hard way by frankly doing something stupid and unproductive in your own better judgment. Again do not expect specific things. Sometimes in faith we take the risk of a plunge, hoping for the best, and following where God will have us. Never forget the personal vision for your life even when situations impede your momentum and progress. In silent confidence, press forward to do what we do with God in mind. I truly miss Bob Haggerty, someone who understood that these laid back principles in our lives should not be taken too seriously. That includes not taking ourselves too seriously.

Today our legacies depend on keeping our word. It is very important that you communicate clearly expectations for an individual so all parties know how to move forward alongside each other as a team. Friction is often the result of misunderstanding when painted pictures never come to creation, or taking things too seriously with expectations leads to unnecessary frustration. Sometimes patience brings the best of outcomes. If you can learn to enjoy the moment in the patience process of learning, in that very same moment you will learn to be content no matter what happens, perhaps without unrealistic expectations.

My Friend Jedd Medefind from The Christian Alliance for Orphans – Orphan Sunday Series, Part 3

Why is the CALL FOR THE ORPHAN great? Watch the following video to statistically understand the meaning of Orphan Sunday and Jedd Medefind’s work.

Orphan Sunday, occurring on November 4, 2012, is a national movement joined by churches all over the world though an organization known as The Christian Alliance for Orphans (CAFO). These three blog entries introduce three dear friends I met through this Alliance with brief information about their respective organizations. My last entry highlighted Dave Wood from Lifeline Children’s Services.

Connected through Greg Buzek, one day I received an email from Jedd Medefind, the previous Special Assistant to the President and Acting Director of the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, author of three books, and now active President of the Christian Alliance for Orphans (CAFO). I thought to myself, “Who is this guy that wants an Auburn Master’s degree graduate to do another free internship?” After our brief interview, I thought this guy must be crazy. When I prayed and meditated about the internship program, my role, and Jedd’s possible friendship, I realized this might be the opportunity for a lifetime moment to remember. And so my journey with the Christian Alliance for Orphans began! ….with a volunteer internship and a guy named Jedd.

I experienced dark times when I began the internship, possibly another reason why I accepted the chance to become a part of something special. I wanted to feel hope again in my relationship with God. While Jedd often remained busy with the approaching Summit 2011 conference in Louieville, Kentucky (an international celebration and reunion of fatherless advocates from around globe), he constantly made time to occasionally speak with me over the phone and write inspirational emails of encouragement. Even Elizabeth Wiebe, Director of Outreach for CAFO, continually mentioned that “we will make this work,” when I felt overwhelmed with both a full time job and this fully engaged internship, especially when tornadoes ripped my Alabama home state apart. Both Jedd and Elizabeth turned my valley into a mountaintop experience that continues to this very day as the Orphan Sunday State Coordinator for both Georgia and Alabama. They rejoice with me when I live with successful forward movement and empathize with me when down and discouraged, usually with a kind word to lend.

Jedd continues to serve as a powerful presence in my life with prayer, his leadership and communicative styles, and even his example as a devoted author, father, and husband. Like Dave Wood and Larry Bergeron, Jedd is just someone you want to be like, not because of his success but rather because of his humility in Christ. I truly believe God brought the Alliance together under the leadership of this man to eradicate the epidemic of the fatherless so that every child in this world will have an eventual healthy Christian-focused home. It is with Medefind-size faith that I believe and know in my heart this truth.

I have always had a soft spot for children, hence why I currently still work with youth in ministry. While I did not see it when my internship originally began, God brought us together for BIG FULFILLMENTS in Kingdom-building missions, promises, and mentalities. Mentioned as before in other blog entries, some believe ministry is a usual eight to five o’clock job, but in reality, the call to ministry is a twenty-four hour, fourth quarter drill to an eternal finish line. The salvation of others and saving orphans lies in each second of the day. I would say that sometimes Jedd more than likely exhausts himself in traveling, speaking, writing, and making appointments with individuals to serve an awesome God, but he just gets it: the simple truth that a relationship with God brings the greatest blessings and rewards anyone could ever experience in life. Humility plus good works equals explosion of God’s Love for us as believers.

Celebrate with Jedd, myself, and others from around world the cause of the fatherless on this Orphan Sunday, November 4th. We can and will make an eternal difference if we put aside differences and unite for orphaned children! Jedd understands that is about the fatherless and that this thing called life was never meant to be about just us and our personal selves. It is about Him!

Zambia’s Gift to the World from Christian Alliance for Orphans on Vimeo.
(This text was quoted directly from the Christian Alliance for Orphans website.)

In 33 unforgettable minutes, Zambia’s Gift to the World weaves the unlikely story of how Orphan Sunday began in a humble, hard-pressed church in Lusaka, Zambia…and today is impacting lives around the globe.

You’ll encounter vibrant African Christians and the children they’ve embraced…favorites like Steven Curtis Chapman and Francis Chan…as well as remarkable believers from around the world—all sharing of the beauty that rises when Christians reflect God’s heart for the fatherless.

Enjoy the film…and join us in praying that God will use it greatly to stir Christians across America and far beyond!

Zambia’s Gift to the World from Christian Alliance for Orphans on Vimeo.

I WILL FIND you on my KNEES – First Day! New Transition!

“All I can is that John and I wanted more than anything to follow God’s will for us and our family. We had a holy fear of acting outside God’s will, so we agreed to pray that He would show us what that was.” – Kelly Rosati in her book, Wait No More (John is her husband).

I started my new job at the Southern Territorial Headquarters today, and I find myself refreshed by other like-minded people who tick like I do, focused on Jesus as believers in a collective group for Kingdom-building mindsets. After orientation, I found a card from someone in my office with the mention that she would be praying for me this week as I transition into this new career. I have long dreamed of a job that I do not beat myself up and over to drag out of bed to get by, simply for a paycheck. I feel awakened and encouraged to do this job and rise as I encourage others with a meaningful purpose for something bigger than myself. As many say, knock on wood, I may have found something in that passion area of public relations where I campaign and market for a cause I believe in. I find it mind-boggling (“Am I really here in Mid-Town Atlanta?”), a little nerve-racking (new job, new city, and knowing no one), and exciting (“Wow, this could potentially become something amazing!). All the thoughts combine mutually for a few hours of lost sleep and doubts creeping into my mind.

The decision to be and move to Atlanta is now made, and I am not looking back! I am a new creation with a new opportunity with individuals that obviously believe in my abilities to lead, create, and build the face of a reputable organization to the southern youth of America. In the midst of hardship and economic uncertainty, this generation could use more Jesus in any capacity. And I am glad to bring that message of hope to anyone through creative communications.

I keep thinking, “How did I get here?” I prayed to God, sometimes loudly stuck in the stagnancy of survival and routine with a Thank-God-Its-Friday job rather than Thank-God-Its-Monday job. With this phrase, I mean I want to be so excited to get back into the office I cannot hold or hide my excitement for what I love doing. I admit that I need to spend more time with God in His Presence, praying in thankfulness, reading the Word, and believing in the requests I make like this new position, PRAYERS ANSWERED!

Another analytic wonder is the blessings shown to me in a new full time opportunity of epic proportions and another part time opportunity possibly coming behind it. What further astounds me is the support and belief of my family. My father and mother have done everything, and I mean EVERYTHING to transition, to believe, to push, to inspire, and to encourage me with this move to a new city with a new career direction. While we have sometimes not always seen each other eye to eye on my own mental adversities, I owe my success with this new adventure to them just as much as I do God. Thank you, Mom and Dad!

I believe when you find God on your knees, God explodes blessings and favor into your life. Now please understand I do not just mean the routine legalistic bedside manner prayer. “God, please do this. Please be with this person. Please help me to sleep well. Please help me to be promoted. Please help me to pass this test even thought I never studied.”…..I mean when you really get down on your knees and say, “Okay, I am not sure where you have me or how you will have me, but here I am. Here are my true passions. Please place me appropriately where you will call me to obey you in line with these passions.” When you seek God with sincerity, He will answer your prayers with that same sincerity.

Like Kari Job says in the following song, I will find you on my knees! When you truly want something in change for God’s Kingdom, find it on your knees. Ask. And like me currently in shock, God will call you by name! I guarantee it! My life serves as living proof.

Freedom in Christ – Experience It! Believe in the Infinite Power and Love of God! Do you believe?

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” Mathew 6:25-27 (NIV)

Now I know this is a verse most remain familiar with; however it assists me to believe that Christ in Me shuns and evaporates all worries away. If God takes care of the birds of the air, he will surely take care of us. Honestly in self-reflection, I ask both you and myself: Do we add value to our lives with worries in the nag it tears down on our minds?

I become exhausted when I think about such things. The Law of Attraction simply premises that negative thoughts lead to negative thoughts or positive thoughts lead to positive thoughts. That observation is both Biblical and true. As Tinker Bell pleads with Peter Pan to fly on the way to Never Never Land, “Think Happy Thoughts, Peter.” Think happy thoughts, indeed, we should. Perhaps that is the calling of us as Christians to spread the joy of Christ through positive thinking.

Do you ever feel weighed down by worries, concerns, problems, challenges, troubles, or adversity? Recently I have felt more anxiety than usual. I believe decisions are coming where I will change lives just as much as others’ lives will change my own. Constant change is necessary for those who seek growth and constant improvement for every area of their life, but it can also become nerve-racking as well.

I also feel the negativity of others bringing us down sometimes as well. No matter what you do or say, some always combat you in defensiveness or think of something bad to say no matter what the situation, maybe even just in regular conversation. I find this observation especially interesting when you try to grow closer to someone, only for them to turn you away with a protective survival mode like attitude. I understand protecting your heart when another hurts you, but when you hurt those who care about you because of another person’s past actions, you distance yourself from what could potentially turn into a very good relationship, friendship, or possibly an eternal life partner. I know we all have encountered people of this nature.

I believe the simple truth is that we find freedom only through Christ as believers. It often comes to down to simply kneeing before Christ bedside with the request for freedom. Believe when you ask that God relieve of your worries that he will. Really all we have to do is let go and believe the request that we make. Christ will care for you! Christ will have you! Christ will love you! I listed four principles that have changed my life and will continue to do so as I focus on a year of Christ, change, growth, and movement forward for dream sake.

1.) Focus on today and only today.
2.) Believe that good things will happen again.
3.) Surround yourself with positive, faith-building relationships.
4.) Realize God’s Infinite Power and Love.

The same chapter in Mathew mentioned at the beginning of this blog entry ends on this note:

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Mathew 6:34 (NIV)

When we focus on today and the responsibilities of each hour now, we live in the present where future moments live and stay in the future without blocking the work of God we are destined to achieve. The Enemy will say, tempt, or do anything to keep us off track from achieving our purpose-filled, driven commission. If you believe and realize God’s Infinite Power and Love, you and I together will become unstoppable in any endeavor we attempt to pursue and successfully surmount. Bring it! We are to go down and get down with God’s business to save souls, orphans, widows, and anyone that needs service in His Name. Man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him FOREVER!

Someone told me recently, “God is pleased with you right now. You do not need to publish books, plant churches, and start nonprofits for God to notice your goodness. For you live in Him, and because he is good, so are you!” Now that simple reminder of truth speaks to my heart as it perhaps does you. Remember to think positively about such thoughts in forever-inclined-eternal-mindsets to realize that God is the most powerful advocate who works for your behalf. He loves us all more than we can humanly understand or imagine!

Let’s end on an amazing passage from The Message Bible. Read, refresh, and become inspired!

“It wasn’t so long ago that you were mired in that old stagnant life of sin. You let the world, which doesn’t know the first thing about living, tell you how to live. You filled your lungs with polluted unbelief, and then exhaled disobedience. We all did it, all of us doing what we felt like doing, when we felt like doing it, all of us in the same boat. It’s a wonder God didn’t lose his temper and do away with the whole lot of us. Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, he embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all this on his own, with no help from us! Then he picked us up and set us down in highest heaven in company with Jesus, our Messiah.” Ephesians 2:1-6 (The Message)

Intentional Living through Christ with Intentional Decisions and Communication

“Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.” Psalm 37:4-5 (KJV)

I mentioned on this previous blog entry my new family member through future marriage, Joe Friday. I guess in reality I will call him my cousin-in-law. In truth I always felt like he was family. Joe represents honor in its formidable truest fruit of the Spirit. Psalm 37:4-5 depicts his walk with the Lord almost perfectly. In pursuit of what he believed to be true, he never wavered and thus eventually received the desires of his heart.

He persistently through challenges and in some ways against the odds accomplished a feat that I might have given up on at this point in my life. I perhaps have fallen more than most when it comes to my own love life. I have epic saga stories of one written dramatic performance after the other. The love life narratives provide for an interesting text in my first major book expected to release some time in the next two years. While the stories will make you laugh, they make me cry.

I do not doubt the drive in my life to accomplish; however I do doubt society where Christianity lives in the shadow of selfishness and often corrupt politics to “serve the masses,” through the sacrifice of a few. For two years, I have written, edited, and polished a strong three hundred page manuscript with a full time job while also trying to start a business, not to mention an online presence and constant content generation for this blog. And yet I still have not given up on the dream to become a well-known, published author. I probably will never stop writing. I have come to enjoy the creation of words just that much. I am also dedicated to losing weight as I train for two half-marathons and two full marathons. I consider myself driven in many ways and push myself about hard as I am able in so many ways. The pursuit becomes exhausting. Is the pursuit of a significant other supposed to be so hard?

A while I ago I spoke late into the night with a friend where I feel that I failed to communicate on every level, and I have a Master’s Degree in Communication. I am not sure I will ever claim to understand the complexities of gender communication. I wish I could have had Deborah Tanner’s book, That Is Not What I Meant, in my lap whiling talking to this particular female. It was and is clear in my mind this just may not work out with my most recent attempt to pursue and woo.

Ideally I hope that the pair of two people should just click. Joe Friday and Matteye Monday just clicked even when others tried to separate these star crossed lovers. They stayed the course and prevailed to the dream of a marriage union through engagement.

I believe and even witnessed that Joe made an intentional decision to follow his faith for six years. In my finite mind, that sounds like a really long time. No one else knew his course but him. In fact, many probably encouraged and even perhaps tried to persuade him to give up. Now following your heart when everything else around you suggests to do otherwise (including supposed wise counsel), that is intentional living with an intentional decision. “This is what I am going to do because I know this is what I am supposed to do.” Now that is unwavering faith with an intentional decision! While I pursue such ideals with my own personal direction and ambitions, I struggle to do so with a girl. In fact, nice guys often get stuck in the “give-me-a-chance” syndrome. Since when did good Christian guys need to use consent or permission to spend time with a female? Are men given the ability to lead anymore? Or do girls sit back choosing and selecting the cream of the crop while guys pursue and put it all out there? These questions boggle my mind as Southern Culture perverts the fun of dating and getting to know someone. As mentioned before in Twitter feeds and blog entries, it all has to be so serious all the time. All I want to do is watch lions on a field, or in a better case Auburn Tigers at a football game with someone to experience the absolute most imaginable fun possible.

“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’ ” Isaiah 30:21 (NIV)

Joe certainly lived this verse in its essence in the promise God makes. I would like to think I am listening to hear “the way” wherever that might be with the Lord’s lead.

I do not think Matteye ever needed convincing of Joe’s character. She just knew. I again hope and believe that is how it will work with whoever you or I belong to in a relationship or a marriage. And hopefully even further no one will need convincing. Love or like (loving or liking someone) should NOT be a sought-after bargaining chip where once you do a certain something (buying flowers, writing sincere apology letters, or speaking over the phone for extended periods of time) everything in the world is well again. If someone needs further convincing on why they should date you or whoever, perhaps they miss the God-given chance to something special with someone who loves the Lord with all their heart. There is certainly a getting-to-know you stage, but there is also a chance-to-dance stage. While a good fight for a good gal can bring forth great fruit, make sure your heart remains intact if you make the same decision Joe made for the duration of six years. He knew in his heart this was right. And apparently Matteye did too. If the other person lacks that foresight, then perhaps like me in the past, you are both talking with and pursuing the wrong person. Find another potential significant other who is just as intrigued for and by you as you are for them. God’s promises are evident and clear in His Holy Word:

“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.” 1 John 5:14-15 (NIV)

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” James 1:5 (NIV)

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

If you have thoughts on this on this entry, I am open to feedback and criticism. There is room for comments on what you think, and I am eager to see just who is reading this entry and why.

The following questions remain unanswered on the readers’ part. What do you think about the following?

1.) Is the pursuit of a significant other supposed to be so hard?

2.) Since when did good Christian guys need to use consent or permission to spend time with a female?

3.) Are men given the ability to lead anymore?

4.) Or do girls sit back choosing and selecting the cream of the crop while guys pursue and put it all out there?

Give Life and People (Boys and Girls) A Chance

I recently told a girl I would like to take her out on a “friend date,” a new term I still wonder the meaning of. Had I known the drama that would result, I would have left the issue alone. The girl, while somewhat younger than I, acted as if I asked her to marry me. She provided some lame excuse about her unavailability. I think in some cases friendship serves as a fine place to start a new adventure with a relationship; however in today’s society some make decisions without the try or chance to know someone. Whether guy or girl, the other person (like me in the mentioned example above) throws a heart out on the line of rejection and potential hurt, but the sacrifice of that taken chance the person asked never considers that risk. Another girl recently encountered told me about her quest on Match.com where she received seven FREE meals on seven dates which remains expensive for the guy on the date. That is ridiculous! I recently dropped $120.00 on gas money, dinner, and a movie with a female in Tuscaloosa who proved to represent a crazy personality single mother smoker. While she seemed to appreciate the gesture, she asked me to fill her car with $10.00 of gas to get home, what we might call a true moocher. To say the least, that is and was our last date ever. If another person works to treat one to a nice evening, a chance warrants an open mind to consider, but some misconceived notions of American Society and beauty create a sense of entitlement. The true measure of a man or woman stands with their relationship with Christ alone. So give a brother and sister a break already!

Even recently, I trapped myself in my own failure to provide a leader in my life with that same ideal of a chance and opportunity. I cut him short with preconceived notions of his character and personality for the worse. Guess what! He surprised me to become a willing servant to exceed my expectations as a leader. He remains flexible and truly protects those under his leadership. Moral of the example here: Sometimes when we give someone a chance, God surprises us with blessings we might not expect. Perhaps we are better off to pray for those who lack good relations with others and God. Give the benefit of the doubt (a chance) to know that person, and like me, you might be pleasantly surprised. Until negative circumstances arise, give a brother and sister a break!

Are we in the right when we practice judgment of any kind? That sounds like the role of Big Guy in the sky named Jesus. While guilty of this train of thought myself, it still rubs me the wrong way when someone turns a cold shoulder without knowing me. I no longer dwell on such reactions; however that mentality falls short of how each of us should act. I realize we are not perfect; however I hope that I do not act this way. And I also hope that with a better mentality and example, you also do not act this way. Each of us, regardless of social status, is no better than anyone around or next to us. We can ultimately learn something from everyone we encounter, and we all worship together in a believers’ family the same God, the true factor in life that unites us to change lives for the betterment of those less fortunate.

No Longer Here – Another Poem from a Year Ago Shared

You underestimate the beauty of your heart apparent in the light so clear.
All I wanted was the right partner to dance in my approaching thirtieth year.
Well now in pursuit you no longer possess any reason for further fear
Because when you turn around I will no longer be here.

Your attention seems limited at best through conversation and the written word;
However I cannot resist the draw of your bow and string.
Focused on God beyond humanly measure,
For in heaven above, you confidently claim your promised treasure.
I cannot gather your undivided attention to save the life of hope
As every word slides down the slippery slope of sand lost.
Men try often beat down with trickery for future diligence to see
And overlook the strengths of my relationship with Christ in me.
You’re caught up in the net of life with youth of what next to do
And missed the guy made of dreams before your very presence.
You made up your mind with honesty shared
Even in friendship I wonder if you really cared.
God-destined and God-gifted you push boundaries beyond
Where another misses out if they fail to know you.
I seek to know the beautiful you remembered from a few years ago
Because with messages written hearts began together to grow.
You blow my expectations beyond in the mirror with your image daily seen
Because I sit still in prayer mesmerized by the person I believe you to be.

You underestimate the beauty of your heart apparent in the light so clear.
All I wanted was the right partner to dance in my approaching thirtieth year.
Well now in pursuit you no longer possess any reason for further fear
Because when you turn around I will no longer be here.

JLC iii, 8/19/11

A Poem Discovered Again Worth the Post and Attention

Most beautiful gal I may ever meet
Action with a kiss I cannot imagine the treat.
Come closer as we snog together
Kindly in the gentle breeze of some cool weather.
Ever after with a true fairy tale a Prince I am
Now a star on the rise you can call me Cam.
Zealous beyond most cannot ever begin to conceive.
Incredible you are in a dream again I start to believe
Everlasting to eternity away from Christ never set apart.
Belief in a dream and the known truth of my heart
Into the beauty of grey I travel with a shooting star
Struck by lightning Galileo heard my wish from afar.
Hope enters the picture to take me seriously as I fall.
Open to heavens doors as the angel answers prayers I called.
Promises with hands together at your sight I stand enthralled.

JLC iii, 8/5/11

*Snog is a British term for snuggling.
*Cam refers to Cameron Newton, the quarterback legend from Auburn University during the 2010 National Championship season.

Young and Talented – “The Road” featuring Bane – Eternal Decisions! Which road will you choose?

We continue our Young and Talented (YT) Hip Hop series with another of my favorite songs, The Road. If you missed out on the first of this series with the hit song, TOO FLY, click here for an official introduction to YT and his life-changing music (the first blog entry of the YT chronicles).

Our journeys in life always seem to offer various tracks to follow with decisions rendered in relationship, institution, career, and any individual aspect on the road where God takes us home. Those decisions bring glory to God in our direction in path towards eternity, or believers remain caught up in the trap of desires here on the Earth with our own dust. The Earth will always pull us in the direction of men and as a result sometimes the desire to follow those men; however as followers of God we draw to a higher force. The chorus from the song illustrates this struggle.

Looking for the road that will take me home,
Please show me the way to go.
Should I move fast or take things slow?
Sometimes life is a hard road we hold.
Looking up to you for a sign above,
This world just want to be loved.
So let’s go before our hearts turn slow.
Show me the road that will take me home.

The choice to follow Christ will inevitably mature and evolve into a difficult journey. We stare to the skies seeking answers through prayer as sin often holds us back caught in the midst of human-created temptations and worries. Before our hearts turn cold from sinful indulgences, we continue to turn home, yearning for God’s deliverance. There is something comforting about the idea of singing, “I’m coming home. I’m coming home,” close to our perishing, dust to dust, returning to the earth God created us from. We reach eternity as God says, “I am proud of you. Welcome home.” Now that sounds like a glorious end to the road of light that will take me home.

Two warriors that understand the eternal road include both the Biblical legends of Daniel and Nehemiah. Their firmness shines through the millenniums to exemplify with choices and decisions the journeys with the righteousness pointed towards our eternal home. This demonstrates the rewards of faith in the pursuit of God’s higher roads. The following passage in Daniel reads:

“So these administrators and satraps went as a group to the king and said: “May King Darius live forever! The royal administrators, prefects, satraps, advisers and governors have all agreed that the king should issue an edict and enforce the decree that anyone who prays to any god or human being during the next thirty days, except to you, Your Majesty, shall be thrown into the lions’ den.” Daniel 6: 6-9

Of course, if familiar with Daniel, he chose never to pray or bow down to King Darius. He chose the higher path in his journey to worship the true God. Thrown into the lions’ den, God protected him with an angelic guardian. Then those who falsely accused Daniel and constructed a trap with such an edict and decree actually became the ones thrown into the lions’ den, eaten along with their families. I believe when we choose God in firm belief for our security, safety, and salvation, he clearly protects His Chosen Ones.

Then we see another man on track for God with Nehemiah, an anointed servant of the Most High God, called to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem. Now imagine this: Jerusalem contains no system of protection, and the people exist surrounded by their enemies who make their determined ambition to make sure Nehemiah never succeeds. Once protected, a city transforms into more than just a destination. It shifts into a fortress that enemies can no longer triumph so easily in conquer and conquest.

I am confident Nehemiah came to points where he doubted his plan and his journey with his chosen road; however he persevered in God’s mission to complete the wall with his King’s blessing.

Can you imagine God calling you to a den of lions to faithfully believe in his protection? Can you imagine God’s calling you to build a city wall around a territory of constant battle where bloodshed, crime, and enemies rule the land against a people God desires for you to protect? These historic men only accomplished these feats through God’s divine intervention, leaning into his provision.

The stand against evil depends on the women and men of God to take the high road with our earthly decisions. We come to points in life where we carry the cross or drop it because the weight persists as too much for our earthly bodies to wear. Our choices while often thought to remain trivial affect our eternity and often the eternity of others.

The following Scriptures shows that we are not of this world but simply passing through like a passenger with a train station. Remember our eternity pulls us through Saturn’s rings towards the stars into heaven. We were never meant to belong here because God created his sons and daughters to join him.

“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.”  John 15:18-20 (NIV)

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is —his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2 (NIV)

I often fall into the trap of survival on a journey without the passion of Christ. In some ways, that trap develops into reasons why I lose vision of my eternal driven purpose. Life seems as though I am missing the right road stuck at a fork caught up in my own consumption, worries, pursuits, or earthly concerns. I know the road to travel. Sometimes a glimpse of our Heavenly Father through reconnection becomes all we need to stand and serve on the road to eternity. A humility to kneel and come before Him serves as the starting point towards the right direction.

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