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God’s been on me lately to write on this blog again. I’m always resistant, because it’s always a rough process to put my heart out there, and I also doubt frequently how much good I am really doing. But I promised God that I’d write this blog, and there are still stories left to tell, and so I’m here again today, writing, hoping some good comes from it, though I have doubts.

I suppose I should start by talking some about what actually happened on the weekend that I rededicated my life to Christ. It was a weekend at Prayer Lake, and where to begin? It’s a weekend hanging out with God. People who have done this themselves find this easy to grasp, plenty of outsiders would try to tell me I just talk to myself for 2 days, or keep an imaginary friend. But I know the “sound” of my own thoughts, and I know the “sound” of someone else’s thoughts.

Withholding some of the discussions that were too intimate to discuss here, this is what I wrote in my journal about it, to help me remember:

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Jan 18-20, 2018:

This [trip] was fairly different from the one before. It was more with the Father than the Son. I thanked Him many times for His Son, Jesus. I had been thinking recently that a lot of Jesus’ work was to get me to, and in love with, His Father, whom Jesus loved so deeply and derived his personality from, and was trained by. So I spent a lot of time in intimacy with the Father, too, talking to Him.

When I got there the first night, I kept going around, straightening up my belongings, stopping to think about things, etc., and at one point I said, “I know, God, I know. I’m avoiding You.” Something evil had been active in me lately to keep me from being able to hold still or focus my thoughts to commune with God or receive any healing for anything. It had been up and kicking terribly lately, so much so that several times I’d walked out of church. And while I didn’t have as much trouble entering the cabin [as I did last year], my mind constantly darted around, not holding still long enough to interact or pray for any length of time.

I did not realize how badly my mind had become scrambled by that point – probably from phone and internet use — until I went to sleep that night, and being in a room all by myself, I was waking up in the middle of the night saying, “give me 5 more minutes son, I need more sleep,” and “I’ll help you in a minute, give me some time to get out of bed,” and a million other pointless, meandering dreams masquerading as reality.

Saturday I woke up, and my brain felt like it was starting to unscramble itself and get back to normal. I spent a lot of the day talking to God, about different things, much of which was not particularly important. But I told him how I was having doubts lately, how through comedies and stuff I was watching on YouTube, so often the message was that religion is ridiculous and there is no God. “I worry, sometimes, God — what if they’re right? What if I am just imagining You? And even if I’m not, how am I supposed to be a light in a country where people are so disproportionately against you?”

“Magic talking box telling you about reality again, eh?” He responded.

And that was pretty much the end of that fear. Because He was right – a rehearsed, recorded show does not include near enough information to know the heart of these people, their spirit, their circumstances, their background. I have no way of knowing what or why or how they stopped believing, or even if their words are true or just for comedic effect. As it’s strangely hard to remember sometimes, entertainment is not reality.

As evening came, I crawled up comfortably in a chair, and looked again at the compilation book from Passion of the Christ, where they take stills from the movie and match them to a well put-together account of the Passion, woven together seamlessly from all four Gospel accounts. When I closed it, God drew my attention to Him. There was an open door to the bedroom, where it had grown dark — I hate the dark. The Father said very clearly to me, “come be in the dark with me, and let me wrap my arms around you.” I hesitated for just a minute, then rose and crossed over to the bed in the dark room. Without any resistance or pretensions I came to Him, just a sincere desire to let Him be able to have me as He had made me. “After all,” I thought, “how often does He get to have me all to Himself?” (Sometimes I think of how human beings like things like fishing or sleeping or golf, but avoid these tasks because of their responsibilities to work; and when a day comes that they’re able to skip their work responsibilities, they are overjoyed to be able to do what they really wanted to do. For God, whose greatest drive seems to be intimacy with humanity, how wonderful must it be to have a moment where He is able to put aside all testing, encouraging, arguing, etc., and just be with a person, surrounded by the joint love of belonging to one another?

I crawled into bed, full of the joy of being His… completely unsure what to expect next, but unbelievably happy. Some kind of extra joy was welling up in my heart, too. It was the realization that our interaction, though brief, were things that only people who really love each say, or care about. There was no rehearsal and no falsehood and no fear that I didn’t fully believe what I was saying and doing. By the workings of the Holy Spirit, I had grown over the last fourteen years; grown through those first days of shouting and throwing things at Him; through those later days of making peace with Him; now His love welled up inside of me every time I looked at Him, and I got to experience a small reflection of that wonderful love only He could fathom. And further joy was the realization that “come be with me in the dark, and let me wrap my arms around you,” might not just be for tonight, but also a calling placed on the rest of my life.

I remember the dim gray outline of the sheets as I slid in, wondering what would happen now. Before I knew it, I was asleep. What happened during that sleep, I have no memory of. But when I woke up in the morning — Wow! I was so completely, perfectly joyful. Not laughing, not sleepy, just joy.

I wondered at first if I should even get out of bed, the feeling of joy laying there was so utterly complete. I found myself rolling from one side of the bed to the other, orienting myself in one direction or another, amazed for some reason that at all angles and in all shapes, the joy was still on me.

I got up eventually, reluctantly, and began doing the simple tasks of cleaning up and greeting the day.

At the end of the weekend, He started talking to me about the idea of rededicating my life to Christ. In a voice full of affection, God the Father told me, “I’m not opposed to starting all over again.” It struck me as somewhat romantic – a promise to keep trying, to do whatever was required to keep the marriage of souls alive and fertile.

That night, on the ride home, I decided to rededicate my life to Christ. The idea had begun to take root during my time at the cabin, but came to a fully-formed thought just miles from home. I pulled over, rededicating my life to Christ, with praise, with a commitment all over again to restore His throne in the seat of my Heart.

God bless you, and have a good weekend.

*As I have mentioned before, quotes attributed to God on this site, unless scripturally referenced, are simply my closest understanding to what I believe I felt Him say to me. They are not meant to substitute for the Bible, and may be distorted by my own cracked lens of perception. Thank you.*

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Life is a Highway

Hello all,

It’s been a long, long time since I wrote, and I feel like I owed it to the Lord to keep my commitment to keep writing on this blog… after all, a lot of it’s for my own benefit…

I don’t have time for a long entry today, but I wanted to at least share this… In the theme of sharing secular music with God, I wanted to introduce one you’ve probably heard but never thought about as a religious song… But strangely, it works perfectly. People my age will remember it from Tom Cochrane, and younger people will remember it from Rascal Flatts. It’s Life is a Highway. 

I’ve presented it here in shortened version, if you don’t believe me:

“There’s a world outside every darkened door
Where blues won’t haunt you anymore
Where brave are free and lovers soar
Come ride with me to the distant shore

We won’t hesitate
There’s not much time left today

Through all these cities and all these towns
It’s in my blood, and it’s all around
I love you now like I loved you then
This is the road, and these are the hands

Knock me down and back up again
You’re in my blood; I’m not a lonely man

There was a distance between you and I
A misunderstanding once
But now we look in the eye

There ain’t no load that I can’t hold
A road so rough this I know
I’ll be there when the light comes in
Tell ’em we’re survivors

Life is a highway
I wanna ride it all night long
If you’re going my way
I wanna drive it all night long

Life is a highway”

God bless, and have a good weekend. – M. Hart

You Never Belonged

So I had the most wonderful conversation with Jesus Christ recently. I hadn’t felt His presence in what seemed like eons. I had decided to push on in prayer, through sheer force of will, and just hope for the intimacy to be restored — it feels like walking through hot smoke and ice water when I can’t feel my Lord near me.
I don’t know what caused him to show up out of the blue, one afternoon. But I had recently gone through a huge personal struggle about being upset with my status at work, and ultimately, consulted the scriptures and decided to pursue humility. If I were to guess, it was this conscious decision that brought my Lord near me, as humility always brings God closer to us (Micah 6:8; James 4:6-8; Psalm 34:18, 51:17-18, 149:4; 1 Peter 3:3-4, 5:6; Phillipians 2:3-9; Isaiah 66:1-2; Luke 14:11; Proverbs 3:34; 2 Corinthians 12:9-10). Or perhaps it was just my continued wanting him (James 4:8, Jeremiah 29:13). But it’s not mine to know: we “walk by faith, not sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7).
At the particular moment he came to me, I was praying and  struggling with some very unhappy things in my heart. In my mind’s eye, I saw myself standing alone. Then Jesus approached me, and wrapped his arms tightly around my shoulders, resting his head against mine, my face against his shoulder. He gave me a moment of quiet, then broke the silence in a gentle but assured voice:
“I know that you feel like you’ve never belonged anywhere,” he said, slowly. “But you do — you belong here, you belong with me. I want you here with me, forever, every time you wake up, every time you go to sleep.”
Then he quoted to me from John 14:20: “On that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you are in Me, and I am in you.” And it struck me for the first time that, this wonderful man whom I admired and loved so much – I was actually a part of Him. I had always understood that Christ was in me – a piece of his heart metaphorically beating in my chest – but I had never, ever thought about, that was a part of him.
I was in Him – who I was, in some small way, contributed to who He was. He let that sink in, with an equally amazing idea that I really did have a job to do for the Kingdom of God, that I really was chosen for a reason and tasked to maintain some crucial role in the will of Jesus Christ and His goals here on the Earth, a “member of His body,” as Paul described it. And Jesus said to me, in my mind’s eye, “you belong with me, here, forever.” He emphasized this last part: “and you are exactly the person I wanted.” I was elated. I could not think of a kinder commission he could have spoken over me. I’m still reeling, weeks later.
Forget sin, forget failure, all that is behind us now. As far as my Lord is concerned, I have always been, and always will be, the one who fills a tiny hole in His heart, the lost sheep so crucial that He’d leave everything behind to redeem me.
God bless, and have a good weekend.