As much as I dislike change it is always in effect. Nothing stays same and I am constantly growing as a result. There has been so much change in my life the past three years that it would take SIX years to talk about it all. God has matured me greatly in these growing pains I have experienced, all while having a more intimate relationship with Him. For instance I have always been the person who hated reading and yet God has place a desire in me to read His Word and focus more on Him than myself. I was extremely prideful and have had many humbling experiences weeding out my arrogance and short temper. I could go on forever… Still, in all things I am still human and make mistakes. I pray by the mercy of God that I am not remembered for my mistakes and shortcomings but rather how I strive to be the reflection of Christ as all Christians are called to be.
I know I am a very particular person who has very strong point of views and can easily be very over dramatic about my views and my way. These strong opinions have interwoven with my selfishness which create a disconnected and negative attitude. It is my OCD to voice my opposition to subjects very sternly and I know that is a wrong attitude… In this past year I have been more aware of what I am doing after I have done it and I pray that God helps me to change that habit. There is that word again, CHANGE! I have a little childhood story that reflects my OCD- When I was little I got a bicycle as a present from my parents and instead of being grateful I was unhappy and rude voicing that I didnt want it because it was not wrapped in a box… I made a big deal about nothing all because a gift was not done the way I thought it should of been done. I want to apologize to all that I have forced my sharp opinions on. I realize that everyone does not have to see things my way and that I can share my opinion without making it as if it were law. I apologize to my wife for shooting down her hobbies, to my parents for taking away the joy in things they enjoy, and to my friends for rejecting their ideas. I know that things are not about me and I need to put away my selfishness. Selfishness is and always will be an issue for mankind but with God little by little He can remove all our sinful ways and mold us into servants. Philippians 2:3-5 “Do NOTHING out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.”
Life is full of trials and temptations that we must face but every time we stay steadfast we will grow stronger and closer to God. It is very easy to become comfortable with where God has you and think that you are “ok” but the way I see it is if you are not growing you are backsliding. I have found myself in a comfortable stage with God since my accident and I prayed that he would help me to mature in Christ and two major events occurred. #1 We are having a baby! WOW… That was not what I had in mind, but God knows best and already I have seen several changes to my view of children and to my attitude in general. To be completely honest I have never really liked kids and often found them to be annoying, but now all that has changed. God has been growing me so that I may be a good Godly father to my son, Corbin, which has indirectly affected the person that I am today. #2 Joining the worship team! I have always had a love for music but my introverted ways have led me away. God is really pushing me out of my comfort zone by adding me to my Church’s worship team and placing me on stage in front of everyone. Standing on that stage is helping me to grow so that I may be a better witness for Christ and use my life as a tool to help others. I thank God for all the work he has been doing in me and pray that he continually pushes my limits, increasing my life as a follower of Christ.
“Thank you Lord for all these things that I have not deserved”
Monday, September 20, 2010
Today was the first time I saw my little baby. Kathryn and I arrive at the doctor’s office for our ultrasound excited to see how much it had grown. They place the device on her stomach and suddenly on the screen you see this little person, AKA Baby Hammster. At this point it is too early to tell what gender it is but it was incredible just to see his/her little nose and mouth with tiny little toes and fingers on it’s arms and legs. Soon this image of our little baby became mobile as it tossed and turned from side to side. It was at that exact moment of seeing him/her move its twig-like arms around that I fell in love with the little one, although I didn’t know what I was feeling at the time. For the first time the baby became real to me. I was rendered speechless by this growing individual and just watched in shock. When the ultrasound was done I wanted to ask the nurse to keep going for a little longer so I could keep looking at my little precious. The nurse printed out three pictures and I just stared at the little face in awe.
The reality of the pregnancy began to settle into my mind creating a wave of emotions that overflowed and overwhelmed me. I brought this little life into the world. I help create him/her, and it was apart of me. I have never experienced such overwhelming joy in my entire life, knowing that my wife and I have a child of our own on its way! Once night came, I laid in bed talking to Kathryn as the happiness overcame me swelling up in my heart and I broke into tears. I couldn’t help but bawl over the thought of holding my little child. The baby is only three months along but yet I want to hold it in my arms already. I cannot wait till the day I get to see Baby Hammster’s little face. I would have never imagined that I would be ready for a baby but God knew I was ready and I could not be happier. Tears still streaming down my face, I leaned down to Kathryn’s belly and whispered, “I can’t wait to meet you”.
I am still blown away by how much love I have surging through me for someone I haven’t even met. The baby is not even born and I have already begun to understand the indescribable feeling of being a parent. For the first time I believe I can fathom how my parents see me as their son, and it is an amazing experience. This little one has the utmost importance to me as I realize that this is just the beginning of a whole new world and I am excited/frightened to start this new adventure.
“Being a Christian in todays society is hard….” I think about that phrase and how when I was a teenager I was taught that in Sunday School. I remember the guidance they would give on how to be right with God saying, “being a TEEN Christian is hard with all the peer pressure, facing trials with sex and drugs, having both easily attainable in school or on your street…”
Being a Christian in todays society is hard… Ive been thinking about that statement lately and asking myself why is it so hard? How is it that being a Christian these trials are not any easier? Maybe it is not supposed to be hard. Maybe the problem is with us and how we view Christianity… I thought about it for a little while and then God gave me a simple insight on why we struggle so much and how we could fix it. But before I get into that I heard something intriguing in church which was relative to the matter.
The pastor was reading from Matthew 11 and it said, 28“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Wait a minute!? “My yoke is easy”? Being a teenager I thought it was hard. I thought the burden was heavy? It seems we are having a Starburst contradiction!!! Really? Your burden is light? Where have we gone wrong? It goes back to my last blog, where we have to be like children and trust in Him. Remember back to when you were a child. Did you have any real concerns? Were you worried that you wouldn’t have food to eat or a bed to sleep in? No… Why? You knew your parents would do everything they could to take care of you. You TRUSTED them. There was no burden.
Lets go back to my simple insight. Why do we struggle so much? Why is it hard to do what God wants and let Him work in our life? I feel that we have grown too accustomed to being selfish. Filling our lives with junk and useless material things. We are so preoccupied with all the little pointless things in life. Electronics, movies, clothes… we spend more and more on ourselves.
In the movie “Book Of Eli”, the main character says that the main thing he learned from the Bible was “To do more for others than you do for yourself”. That is the number one thing he got from it? How many of us actually do MORE for others than ourselves? I know I havent… So how do we fix this? Well What would Jesus do? HE WAS A SERVANT!
I believe that if our heart is right with God, then all we need to do is spend more time serving others and spend less time indulging in things for ourselves. It’s that simple. If we used our time more wisely and became a servant like Christ all of our little petty struggles would no longer be relevant and we could delight in His good pleasure. When we start to make more money we shouldn’t spend more, we should use those extra resources to help those in need. I know in the American dream that what I am saying is crazy but its how God instructs us to live. The Book Of Eli, a secular movie even knows that we are supposed to do more for others than for ourselves. No wonder Christians have a bad reputation. What I am saying may not be popular but it is the truth and the truth needs to be spoken.
“”Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”Mat 28”
One One Dash One Dash Zero Seven
I met a girl who I am just completely infatuated with. We hang out at the Kemah Boardwalk and spend some time looking at the stars on the helipad, nestled at the top of the parking garage. The sky is blanketed in dark blue, decorated with a thousand little candles. The cars headlights appear over the top of the bridge adjacent to the dancing luminescence upon the waves. A hundred boats fill the dock gently swaying into the night. This is where I asked her to be my girlfriend.
One One Dash One Dash Zero Eight
I struggle to walk out in front of the Church. The glass cane was just too insufficient to hold me. My Pastor gives me support to aid in my inadequate and feeble steps. I begin to realize that my suit is a little cramped as I had gained some weight from the death-defying accident. It was only five months ago that the tragedy happened; just a week after I had proposed. Now here I stand in front of current and soon-to-be family with a gaze of admiration toward that same girl I met only a year ago. She slowly approaches me and for a moment the music and crowd fade away. Such a simple moment of bliss staring into each others eyes. The Pastor begins the ceremony, and brings two individuals into a God crafted unity. This is where I said “I do”.
One One Dash One Dash Zero Nine
Its our one year anniversary today! I take in everything that has happened since we first met. Quite a story if you ask me. We have moved 5 times since then, and we have both gone through multiple jobs. There was the accident, the surgery, the hurricane, the wedding, the financial struggle, and the second surgery. Here I sit with my leg inoperable and encased in an ilizarov. The self-sufficient, speed walking Clay no longer exists. I find myself bordering on, claiming full dependence upon my wife for my every need. NO job and no strength, Kathryn carries the burden of our livelihood. Its our anniversary and I offer nothing to the table except my love. The blessing is that LOVE is enough for our happiness to remain constant and true. The pursuit of happiness, a universal goal sought by all and found by few. Even with all physical and financial struggles we remain among the few. ONE ONE DASH ONE, you are the third of the many to come. “A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9)
“Thank you Lord for blessing me, Amen.”
It seems that lately my mind has been stuck in some sort of rut. I haven’t had any new insights, or even felt like Ive grown or changed in any way the past month…. The lack of inspiration has caused a lack of thoughts and ideas for writing in my journal. I feel like I have been coasting through this past month on autopilot. Stuck in a mundane routine that is draining the very life-force out of me. I like things being simple, and leading a fairly simple life. Too much complexity would just cause stress and unhappiness in life but it seems that the opposite is true as well. It seems that life has been too simple this past month… So simple that I feel dead. Reluctant to get out of bed and once I am out of bed I dont want to move or do anything. If I didnt know any better I would say that these were symptoms of depression. No… the lack of motivation has seemingly spread. Infecting me like a virus turning the many quiet hours where I sit at home and wait for fellowship from my wife into a poison. a poison that is eating my morale and consuming my energy.
In light of all these things it appears the natural course of life is about to change all that. My non-existent life is being rolled up into a ball and tossed into the flames. I am going from nothing to having a full-time schedule, filled with work and studying of things that make absolutely no sense to me. The mundane routine that has been the center of this void is about to be disfigured and rearranged to create a pattern of change and filled schedules. I pray that this drastic change wont take a toll on me. That this disruption in my current pattern will not be too complex to where life is not enjoyable.
Love. The Core of a Christians life. A word that has lost its meaning in the modern world. What makes Christian love different from the rest of the world? The only one who can give the perfect answer would be Christ Himself. For we all are human; filled with error and sin. How many times do Christians abandon Christian LOVE? Too often we mold the Christian life to our design, which ultimately disgraces God. We cant reflect God without showing the love of Christ- THE CHRISTIAN LOVE. I want to look at Love from the view of Jesus.
How can you learn about the Core of a Christian life? The best place to start would be 1 Corinthians 13, aka the Love Chapter. Look at what Love IS. It is patient, kind, protecting, trusting, hoping, preserving, it always rejoices in truth, and it does not keep record of wrong doing. How many people in the world ALWAYS follow at least half of these? The answer is no one. There might be a time where you are following every single one, but how long is it till you slip? Lets break down each one.
“Patience is a virtue”, the phrase everyone hears growing up. The definition of patience is the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble or suffering without getting angry or upset. The key here is to tolerate without getting angry. People believe because they can compose themselves on the outside (while feeling irritated or angry on the inside) and tolerate someone or something, they are demonstrating patience. Wrong!!! To truly be patient you have to stay composed on the inside as well as the outside. When we are not being patient we tend to break a couple of the other ones. We stop being kind, we attack instead of protect, and we seem to remember all of their other faults right about now. In our lack of patience we tend to be rude and talk down to one another. I know a family, that will go unmentioned, that talks to each other in a belittling and degrading way. The parents and children all disrespect each other, talking as if the other were a stupid and pathetic person. I hate being around them when this is happening but what am I to say? Would they listen or even believe me?
If we can truly regard ourselves as humble servants and that we are to uplift others, then maybe we will be able to be patient in love. Look at how a young girl going through puberty treats a jock she is completely infatuated with, especially if he is a jerk. She constantly put herself aside and ignore the short comings of this jerk. Why? Because she holds him up on a pedestal (for the wrong reasons). Now obviously she is making a mistake but if the Christian could take the principle behind this and put everyone else above themselves then we would be like Christ.
Love is kind. The definition of kind is, having or showing a tender and considerate and helpful nature. To be kind is to be careful not to inconvenience or hurt others. Here we can see clearly the Core problem that keeps us from showing love, and that is Selfishness. Selfishness is what our human nature is built off of. The fall of man was caused by the greed to know all things like God. Greed is just another word for selfishness. Self is what causes sin, and prohibits love. How often are we actually concerned about what inconveniences another person? If we are full heartily seeking God then we should want to help others. Too many times we make self-righteous judgments and look down on one other. This gives us the “I am better than you” complex, leading us to treat people rudely instead of with kindness and compassion. In order to truly be kind in the Christian love, you must extend it to the people outside of your social group. Even the sinners love those who love them. Jesus talks about this in Matthew 5.
To protect/preserve is to keep safe from harm or injury. It is obvious how you apply this to your close friends and family, but how do you show it to the world? The kingdom of Heaven is available to the whole world if they accept Christ as their Lord and Savior. It is our job to bring the Word of God to the world so that they may be saved. the Word of God is their only defense against sin. Without Christ as their “lawyer” before the Judge, they are doomed to eternal damnation. In exhibiting Christian Love we should have the desire to protect them from their chosen destination. Once again in our self-righteous judgment we see them unworthy of Gods gift. How dare we condemn the blind to walk off the cliff. Shall we call ourselves murderers? Let us extend our hands out to the lost; show them the door Jesus is knocking on. If they refuse then they have made their decision, but should we stop praying for them? Never! Let us preserve the Word of God in our hearts so the we may be mirrors reflecting the light of Christ.
To trust is to believe in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something. Trust and hope are apart of faith. It means believing the best of it all. When we pray to God and it feels like there was no answer to our prayer we are to trust that he knows whats best. We need to let Him do His will and just have faith. No matter the circumstance we should have a positive outlook and know that all things happen for a reason and hope for the best. When we look out at the world the same still applies. This doesnt mean believe every little lie that is told to you because you are to assume the best. Rather, take each person and situation and look at it from the most positive perspective. Someone treats you like garbage- Should you judge this person as rude? No you should believe that they must of had a bad day and you happened to be there to see it. We shouldnt judge based on things we think or see, but only on those things that we know are facts.
It always rejoices in truth/ It does not keep record of wrong
These two are self explanatory… Yet we tend to get mad at truth when it is correcting us, like the pharisees being corrected by Jesus. Here is where pride comes into play. Having pride is being pleased with yourself, dwelling on your achievements, thinking about you, you, you, you… And we are right back at selfishness. It is truly our self-seeking ways that keep us from unconditional love.
We also tend to keep a detailed record book, for each individual person we know, that is kept in the bitterness file cabinet. When someone does something that makes us angry and we hold on to it, that becomes bitterness. The Bible says not to let the sun go down while we are still angry. If we hold on to it we are making a record of it and we file it away in bitterness. The cabinet needs to be locked up and the key needs to be thrown away. There is nothing in that cabinet except self-gratification. Theres that word again, SELF.
Self has got to GO
The Bible talks about in Romans 14 that we should be able make adjustments about our life not because its sinful but for the love and respect of our brothers. This can never be achieved if we put ourselves at the center. It was true when they said the nice guy finishes last. To live like Christ we must put ourselves last. Oh how beautiful it would be if all Christians lived fully devoted to God, with self placed on the shelf.
“Love’s Achilles Heel is Selfishness”
Last Sunday I got out of bed 20 minutes before I was supposed to be at Church. I threw myself together and hit the door. On the drive there my stomach began to complain about the lack of attention it got. I thought to myself oh this was a bad idea, I should of grabbed a banana or something!! We arrive one minute before Sunday School is scheduled to start(not that it ever starts on time). As we sit in the classroom I begin to pray quietly, “Lord, please don’t let this hunger distract me from you today”. Just as I finish praying the Assistant Pastor from another class walks into the room with a box of donuts and says, “Anybody want some donuts? We had one box too many”.
Now the Lord gave me something to eat to calm my stomach and let me listen to the message. I asked and recieved in the name of Jesus, but look at that a little more closely! I didn’t pray a selfish prayer, I didnt even asked to be fed. Instead I asked that He wont let me be distracted. My prayer wasn’t about me but rather about respect for God’s Word. I wanted to be able to recieve his Word. My heart was right when I made the prayer and He rewarded me with His blessing (which happen to be donuts). This should be applied to every prayer that we make. Our heart should be seeking Him, not some personal hidden agenda, or self gain.