Lonely, broken faces
On the outside, looking in.
How can we go on,
Without looking back at them?

Lonely, broken faces
With no place to call home.
How can we move forward,
When they have no where to go?

Lonely, broken faces
Cringing from the pain.
Trying to escape.
Crying in the rain.

Lonely, broken faces
Pleading through their eyes.
Praying through their tears,
When words were hollow cries.

Lonely, broken hearts
Barely keeping pulse.
Try to catch a breath,
But air is not enough.

Lonely, broken ears
Pierced by all the screams.
The lies that they were fed,
Ripping them at the seams.

Lonely, broken eyes
Staring at the world.
But getting shoved aside,
and left out in the cold.

Lonely broken faces
lying on the ground.
Close their tired eyes,
And try to block the sound.

They drift to sleep with lullabies
Of save the earth, and what it's worth,
Yet kill the children, and stop their birth. 
Their silent cries remain unheard.

And while we lay here in our beds,
And say our prayers for blessings yet,
They lay there in the dirty streets,
with tattered clothes and worn out feet.

And while we stay here, nice and warm, 
they're all out there, inside the storm. 
And while we slowly close our eyes, 
the nightmares haunt them with our lies.

While we were sleeping, they were hurting.
While we were sleeping they were bleeding.
While we were sleeping, they were fearful.
While we were sleeping, they were needing.

While we were sleeping, they were restless.
While we were sleeping, they were crying.
While we were sleeping, they were pleading.
While we were sleeping, they were dying.

Won't someone please tell me, how long will this night last?
 
 
I wonder if they know...
Just how much they mean to me.
When they tell me hello,
or what they think of me.
I wonder if they know,
how much it hurts.
When they walk away,
or say goodbye.
I wonder if they know,
how much my face lights up,
when I see their name,
come across the screen.
I wonder if they know,
how much my heart breaks,
when I see them,
say that they aren't worth the pain.
I wonder if they know,
how important they are to me.
How amazing I think they are.
How great of a friend they are.
I wonder if they know,
how much I care.
Because if I didn't,
I wouldn't wonder at all.
I wonder if they know,
how happy I am...
How proud I am...
To call them...

My friend.
 
 

So, I haven't posted in forever... Sorry about that. Heh, life got crazy. Anyways, I wanted to post this story for you guys. The back story is, this was for a contest. The daily challenge's inspirational word was "Crayon", and I had to create something using a crayon. It could be anything. Writing, drawing, melting... Whatever. And so, I created this. 
Hope you all enjoy it!


Author's Note: This is the story of an elderly, African American man named Johan, and his experience while baby sitting his neighbors' three year old daughter, Arlene Farold.

The Crayon

Ya know, I’ve had a lot of things happen to me in my lifetime. Some experiences better than others, I won’t lie. But they were still experiences...

And I won’t lie to you.

Out of all the things that I’ve experienced, all the the memories, all the tests, there is no greater lesson than the one that I learned about a week ago. It all started with a child - a child and her crayon...

You see... the Farolds were going out to a party that night with some of their family friends, and they were in need of a sitter. Why? Because of their three year old daughter, Arlene. 

Now, Arlene was a good girl, but I’ll tell you she was definitely a mischievous one. That girl could spin circles around even the most hyper-aware of babysitters. But, oh was she a cute one. As you can imagine (being churchgoers, and neighbors and all), I happily - happily, but warily agreed to watch her for those few hours.

For the most part, everything started out pretty smoothly. I was more than relieved to hear that she’d been out all day with her friends (resulting in her being less-energized than normal). Her parents dropped her off around two P.M., with a bag of supplies and a number where they could be reached if need be. She was thrilled to see her old “Uncle Johan”, and spend time with him. Can’t say that didn’t make me smile, heh heh.

We did some typical things every young kid enjoyed: Spent some time in the backyard, which she couldn’t decide whether was a forest or a jungle most of the time. (We agreed to call it a “Jorest” after some debate.) Eventually she got tired of playing outside and wanted a snack. Feeling hungry myself, I went in and fixed us each a glass of milk and a large plate of oreos.

I remember her squealing with delight when I placed the tray in front of her. I promise you - her eyes were as big as her grin. Her matter-of-fact statement “Momma never gets those, but I love them” earned a chuckle from me.

I started to dip one of my cookies into the milk, when she promptly shrieked and grabbed onto my hand. “That’s not how you do it!” She cried, dragging my hand away from the glass. “Watch, I’ll show you!” She nodded, taking a cookie in her small hands, and breaking it apart. She then proceeded to lick all of the icing off of the two dessert pieces, and dipping them both in the milk. After eating the cookies happily, she handed me one of the oreos. “Now it’s your turn.” She grinned.


Being amused by her antics, and also not wanting to hurt her feelings, I took the cookie and followed her previous instructions. Right down to the milk mustache. She laughed at mine, unaware she had her own. That is, until I told her to look over in a nearby decor-mirror. Gasping-rather overly dramatic, I might add-She rapidly rubbed her arm back and forth across her small face. “Did I get it?” She asked, wide eyed. I responded positively, apparently pleasing her, as she sat back in her chair happily.

A few minutes later, she was resting her chin upon her folded arms, with puckered lips. “I’m bored.” She sighed, emphasizing the word ‘bored’. I shook my head, smiling to myself. Boy, kids these days really did come from an instant gratification generation, huh? 

“Well,” I stated, rising from my chair. “How about we check that bag of yours to see what kinds of things your mom thought you should do.” She puckered her lips even more. “Probably addtration (a three-year-old’s mix of subtraction and addition) or those nasty vitamins.” She furrowed her brow, causing me once again to chuckle. “Don’t worry, girl. If there’s anything like that in that bag of yours, we won’t be havin’ any of it.” 

Some searching resulted in finding a couple stuffed animals, her favorite blanket, a colouring book, and some crayons. She seemed more than happy to settle down on her blanket and colour for a little while before having to go to sleep, so I spread out the cloth and materials and let her get to work.

I worked on one side, while she worked on the other. It’d been a while since I had done that sort of thing, seeing as my kids were grown and had kids of their own, and momma was with the Lord now. Doesn’t seem all that long ago, honestly. 

I was somewhat wrapped up in a daydream when Arlene tapped me on the arm. When I eventually responded, she asked me to hand her the orange crayon. Noticing what she was coloring, I raised a brow in confusion. “Now what would you need orange for? You’re colouring a picture of a hill, with a tree on top, and the sky. During springtime.” I’m positive you could hear the misunderstanding dripping from every word.

Not being phased, however, Arlene simply shrugged. “For the sky.” “The sky?” I pressed further, looking at her incredulously. “But, Arlene, the sky is blue.” 

“Not always.” She replied. “Besides, I like the color orange.” Taking a moment to let this sink in, I decided to challenge the young girl just a bit. Curious as to what her response would be, I added, “But, Arly. God made the sky blue. How do you think He’d feel if He knew his little girl was changing the order He made?”

Arlene seemed a bit taken aback by this. She furrowed her brows once more, as though pondering every word in which I spoke. Concentrating, she glanced at her picture, and then at the crayons, also stealing a glance out the window from time to time. The sky was soon to fade into the night, with only a little amount of time before sunset.

Eventually, the young girl’s eyes brightened, as though a brilliant idea had hit her. She looked to me, to her picture, and then back again, grasping a blue and orange crayon within her fingers. “That’s just it, though.” She started, her eyes shining brightly, though her brows still locked in thought. “I think that people have made that too big of a rule.”

“Too big of a rule?” I asked, genuinely curious. She nodded. “Yeah. People think that everything has to be a certain way. Like, girls have to play with dolls and do tea parties, not play outside and stuff like that. But I don’t like playing with dolls that much, and I love going outside. It’s the same way with colors. I’ve always heard that the sky is always blue, and the grass is always green. But that isn’t true! Well, not always.” She emphasized ‘always’ as much as possible.

“God made things lots of different ways. Lots of different shapes, and sizes, AND colors. Sometimes, the grass is brown. And sometimes, it’s yellowish. Sometimes the sky is purple, or grey. Sometimes it’s all kinds of colors! Like when we have to get up for church, and we’re up before the sun is.” She made a face, sticking out her tongue in distaste for the early hours.

“But people only see it as one thing, and then they put a big sticker on it saying ‘this is the right way’, and don’t like it when it’s anything different! But how do they know it’s the right way? ‘Cause God makes things in all different colors. I think God’s an artist. And a very creative one at that. I mean, look at you and me! Your skin is dark, and my skin is light. Kinda like the oreos. We’re different colors, but that doesn’t make us bad. It makes us be-bea-bu- Uh. Pretty.”

Arlene giggled, crossing her legs indian style before continuing. “And besides, I don’t think God would mind if I made the sky orange. If I’m His little girl like you said, and He’s my father, then that would mean I get some of my artistness from Him. So maybe He’s using me to make the world a prettier place. And to get people to stop being so simple. Cause that’s what they are when they are like that. Simple.”

I have to tell you, there was a lot of wisdom in that little girl’s words. It made me think for a pretty long time, I’ll tell you what. As she went back to coloring the sky orange, I sat there, pondering every word that she had told me. It was so simple, yet, there was so much truth. 

If you were to really, truly look around you, you could find beauty in even the smallest of God’s creations. I had to marvel at the thought, honestly. It was true, God made things in all shapes, sizes, and colors. People, plants… Life itself was a masterpiece, created by the true Master. We as humans can’t possibly comprehend just how much love he has for his creation, and we can never understand just how much beauty there truly is. We can’t put a limit on God, nor can we creation itself. And it takes the eyes of a child… One so innocent, and pure as this. To have enough faith and understanding only one so young could hold, to see life and love for what they really are.

As I sat there in awe of everything I was taking in, I heard Arlene frantically calling my name. “Come to the window!” She shrieked. Slowly, I got up from my floor seating and walked over to the window. “What is it?” I asked looking out.

“An orange sky!” She cried, beaming triumphantly. Sure enough, sunset had broken out across the sky, painting it in the most fiery colors I had ever seen.

“Well what do ya know?” I smiled. “An orange sky.
 
 
Here is a Kingdom Hearts Fan Fiction Poem I wrote a few days ago. I really like how it turned out, and wanted to share it with you guys. (Though few will get the context. At all.) Also, I do not own Kingdom Hearts.
Enjoy!
(Light text is Namine, Dark is Roxas.)

I'll Be Waiting.


I wish I could tell you,
Everything I feel.
Everything I see.
What I think is real.


But I cannot,
As we know well.
For we are nothing.
Emotionless shells.

That’s what they tell us,
Anyways.
That we weren't even,
meant to breathe.

And yet, we are.
Yet, we do.
So, just why should
I not feel you?


When you walk into
my lonely room.
Your hooded face
made out in gloom.

I know that you
are feeling hurt.
is it that I sense it?
Feel it?


But… That’s impossible…
Isn’t it?
We’re nobodies.
We can’t.

Yet we do.
We are.
We breathe.
We exist.

Even if it’s only half a person.
Or, maybe, none at all.
But, I won’t let that stop me.
I’ll catch you if you fall.

I’m tired of pretending.
That I don’t care.
That I don’t feel.
Because I do.

I know I do.
When I see you stand there.
Asking yourself.
Why is it that I am?

When you brush your hand
against the page
Betrayal, sadness,
even rage.


I hate to see you,
look at the window.
See a reflection.
And hate what you see.

I hate to see you,
Sit there in silence.
Wondering, what if.
How things could be.


I want you to look at me,
And give that dorky smirk.
That you copied from your best friend,
That makes my heart jerk.

I want you to see me,
And give that reassuring smile.
That gleam in your eyes.
That makes things worth while.

I want you to see yourself,
The way that I see you.
The way that I know you.
The way that I feel you.

I want you to see yourself.
The way I see you.
The way that I understand,
and put faith in you.


Do you want to know
Just what I see
When I
See you?

I see a boy with dreams, 
and aspirations. 
With a heart full of gold,
and adventure, and truth.

I see a girl who cares,
more than ever.
With understanding in her tone,
And compassion in her heart.


Yes.
I said heart.
Don’t believe me?
Think again.

With deep, ocean eyes
That carry me away.
That hurts me when they hurt.
Or brightens my day.

With a bright, caring smile.
A calm, gentle voice.
A reassuring whisper.
An encouraging choice.


Someone who gets me…
Who actually understands...
Someone who knows me…
Who’s willing to lend a hand…

Who feels.
Who knows.
Who listens.
Who cares.

Who’s willing to go against what they say.
It doesn’t matter what they think.
We aren’t mistakes.
We were meant to exist.

We can feel.
I know, because I’m doing it right now.
I’m not sure exactly what this feeling is…
But it’s there, and you caused it.

It sort of hurts…
But in a good way.
Like, even though there’s pain...
Everything will be alright.

So, I’ll sit here with my crayons.
And I’ll sit here with my keyblade.
And I’ll think of you,
To help get me through.

I’ll be sitting here waiting,
for that one special day.
When we meet our others,
and won’t ever go away.

I won’t fade into the darkness.
You said I’ll be made whole.
I believe you.
So until then, I’ll wait.

I’ll smile.
I’ll laugh.
Thinking of you.
Wherever you are.

We’ll meet up again.
Someday soon.
And we’ll talk about everything.
You promised.

I’m going to say goodbye now.
But, I won’t let go.
Some memories are not ours.
But these are definitely our own.

Some things we’ll forget.
Some things we’ll let slide.
But not this moment.
Not this night.

Just promise me
That the time that we meet
It will be soon
Because I don’t want to wait.

I promise.
I promise.

Just...
One more thing…

love you.
 
 

Just something I wrote today. Sort of a mix of poetry and prose. ...I think.No matter. I hope you enjoy it.

Silence.
She takes in a breath, as shallow as it may be. Her face is streaked from tears shed many.
Why?
Why is she running?
Why is she hiding?
Why is she crying?
She has no answers, for her too any questions. She seeks them, she needs them. Yet she has them not.
Why she cannot find them, she does not know.
Why she searches, she does not understand.
Why she is, is a mystery.
Yet she presses on.
Why does it feel like she is so empty?
A shell.
Maybe that’s what she is.
Clearly.
Invisible.
While the world goes on.
Without her.
Looking beyond her.
Looking through her.
Through her.
Yet nothing is there.
Through her…
Emptiness.
Why is she?
She is.
But she is not.
Is life a paradox?
Perhaps so.
Perhaps not.
She may never know.
Again her eyes blur over.
They are swept with…
Water?
Tears.
They fall slowly.
But surely.
Upon her knees.
So close she holds them.
Holding herself.
Against everything.
Or…
Is everything…
Against her?
Another shallow breath.
Another tear let fall.
Another day gone by…
Without purpose.
Without meaning.
Or…
So she feels.
So she thinks.
So she does not know…
The truth.
The night has fallen, as she looks up to the stars.
Surely something so great could not be…
Without someone to let them be.
But, where is this someone?
Who is this someone?
Yet again questions without answers.
Or are they answers, without questions?
Or are they both?
Or neither?
Why can she not feel?
Can she not think?
Understand?
She feels emotionless.
Numb.
Has she given up?
Searching?
Yearning?
Trying?
Living?
One thought surrounds them all.
One thought to end it all.
But is she really willing?
Or is she really that blind?
Another night without rest.
Another toss.
Another turn.
And all she feels.
Is nothing.
Nothingness.
Nothing more than…
Nothing.
Perhaps she is helpless.
As she always feared.
Perhaps she isn’t good enough.
As she always heard.
Perhaps she didn’t have enough faith.
As she always was scolded.
Perhaps she cannot see.
Cannot feel.
Cannot understand.
As she feels in her heart.
Her heart.
Broken.
Falling apart.
Yet…
Still beating.
Isn’t that worth something?
Or maybe it wasn’t supposed to beat at all.
Maybe…
She was never meant to exist.
But…
She does exist.
Her heart does beat.
As shattered as it is.
Her breath...
As shallow…
Still breathes.
So…
Why then…
Why is she?
Why?
Why can she not find answers?
She is looking.
But is she not looking hard enough?
Or maybe…
It is that…
She is not looking in the right places.
In the right spaces.
In the right faces.
She glances at the water before her.
Drip.
Drip.
Ripples.
No.
This is no time for tears.
Says her thoughts.
Scolding her.
Mocking her.
She shakes her head.
In fear…
Or disgust…
She does not know.
But she looks down into the water.
At the girl before her.
Who is that girl?
Who is the face that she sees?
Is it the face of the lost?
The face of the forgotten?
The face of the abandoned?
The face of the lonely?
Perhaps so.
But perhaps not.
As she looks, she searches.
To find the answers.
Not only within the reflection.
But beyond the reflection.
Beyond the body.
Beyond the mind.
Within the heart.
To find is to lose.
To lose is to find.
She has found that she has lost, but that she has found.
What is this, this thing she has found?
She continues to look.
To search.
When she sees not only herself.
There is another.
A being in the water.
Or…
Beyond the water?
She looks up.
Still holding back...
Everything to which she must let go.
Tears.
Pain.
Anger.
She looks up.
There is a man there.
He’s looking at her.
Looking…
Through her?
But…
What is this expression He wears?
It is not what she usually sees.
When others see her.
Not of anger.
Or frustration.
Of judgement.
Or superiority.
But…
Of…
...Love?
...Understanding?
Forgiveness?
Kindness?
Compassion?
Mercy?
So many things.
To which she knows.
But does not know.
Has seen.
But has not seen.
Has not felt.
He looks at her.
A smile playing upon his lips.
He kneels.
Still smiling.
Eyes twinkling.
They speak for Him.
With firmness.
But gentleness.
He reaches out His hand to her.
He brushes the hair from her eyes.
And smiles bigger.
Deeper.
And as she looks at him.
She feels…
Better?
She tilts her head in curiosity.
For she does not know His name.
Or where He is from.
Or who He is.
But she feels…
Warmth.
As though…
He is…
Radiant…
With light…
True light.
A spark of warmth.
Of hope.
In this land of darkness.
She opens her mouth.
But no words form upon her lips.
She is speechless.
But that is…
Okay?
Perhaps words would ruin the moment.
The feeling of…
Comfort.
She looks at the ground.
And then back at Him.
He is still smiling.
But stays silent.
Saying nothing.
She says nothing too.
But nothing needs said.
She may not know her answers.
But she feels…
She will.
Someday.
As long as He is there.
Everything…
Will be alright.

 
 
Hey guys,

Sorry for the sudden lack of proper bold and italicized text. It happened during the move. I promise I'll fix everything when I have more time. Until then, hope you enjoy my site! 
                                                                                                               ~Sam
 
 
"I am rubber, you are glue. Whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you."

Have you ever heard that saying before? Perhaps when you were younger, or when you were babysitting your neighbors little boys. It's as old as Methuselah, sure. Childish? Beyond words. However, it works. Works in the way intended? Probably not. But it works more than you think.

When a little kid says this, they usually mean to let their playmate insult themselves by insulting them. (I.E. "Hey doofus!" "I am rubber..." "...") However, what if we didn't look at it as the insults, but the persons themselves?

Now you're probably sitting there wondering, "Look at the persons? What?" Well, actually, yes.

Throughout all of history, words have been a key cause of problems. Have you ever read this verse?

Proverbs 18:21
"Life and Death are in the power of the tongue. And those that love it shall eat of its fruit."

How about this one?

Galatians 6:7-8
"Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life."

There are several verses I could post right now, but I believe I'll stick with these two for now. These verses mean so very much to me. Why, you ask? Well, let me explain. Have you ever heard the saying "You reap what you sow?" It's based off of the Bible. It means, whatever you do, it shall be done unto you. If you do good, good will be done unto you. If you do evil, evil will be done unto you. Your actions cause a chain reaction. You have to remember, one spark sets off the growing flame. You have to be the one to choose:

Is your spark going to be for the flesh, or for the spirit?

Pretty strong words, huh? I know, It's crazy. But so, so true. What we do not only affects ourselves, but those around us. Everyday we have a choice. A choice to do for the better, not the worse. A choice to do for the Spirit, not the flesh. A choice to do for God, not for Satan.

Before I get to the main point of this post, which is on words, I want to talk about a little bit about actions.

Definition of Action(s):
1 : An act of will:

a : a thing done (deed)
b : the accomplishment of a thing usually over a period of time, in stages, or with the possibility of repetition

Actions speak louder than words, guys. It's true. What if I went out today, and committed a bunch of sins, but didn't way a word? You'd kind of figure I was a bad person. What if I went out, committed a bunch of sins, and preached while I did it? My words might be saying one thing, but if what I'm doing contradicts what's coming out of my mouth, how do my words mean anything? It's just like... Talking air. Literally spitting hollow breaths from my mouth.

It goes the same for anything. You don't have to be robbing a bank to be contradicting your words or "status" as a Christian. You could simply be listening to unnerving music. Wearing immodest clothing (I'm not going to say what is or isn't modest, that's not what I mean.). Saying things you probably shouldn't. Watching things you probably shouldn't. Anything. If you say you're a Christian, and then turn around and do some very unChristian-like things, how is anyone supposed to know the difference?

Which goes into my main reason for this blog post. Words. Words, such little things, such great consequences. It's nothing to be taken lightly, you know. Our words can affect anything. Everything.

Life and death are in the power of the tongue. You reap what you sow. You see sayings, I see a way of life. Of the Christian lifestyle. It's up to you guys to make the right choice. What you say and do affects not only your life, but the life of others. I just cannot say that enough. You can speak life to others, and watch them grow in love. Or, you can speak death to a person, and watch them grow in the same hate. Or, perhaps, not grow at all.

Same goes with anything, really. What we say and do... Gosh, I'm getting repetitive, aren't I? Forget that. I want to show you all something. It really touched my heart when I learned it.

NOTE: I do not own this story. It belongs to CBN, and all credit goes accordingly.

BETWEEN THE LINER NOTESMandisa's American Idol MomentBy Raquel Dunn with Renelle Richardson
The 700 Club

CBN.com – Her soulful sound and winning smile not only captured the hearts of America but the judges on American Idol too. But it wasn’t just Mandisa’s singing that made a statement when she appeared on the fifth season of the hit show.

American Idol host Simon Cowell commented on the singer’s size saying, “Do we have a bigger stage this year?”

“It was my worst fear come true,” says Mandisa, “because it’s been the biggest struggle of my life and because it’s something I feel so vulnerable about. For him to have said that and for it to air on national television -- I was devastated. After the show was over, just a bunch of my friends gathered around me and they began to pray for me. They began to pray for Simon. They asked the Lord to have mercy on him, and they began to ask the Lord to help me to forgive Simon. I realized in that moment that this was about so much more than me and my hurt feelings."

Mandisa began to realize that this was an opportunity for her to glorify God.

“It’s funny, because the producers were setting me up,” she remembers. “As soon as we got there, we were all in a room, and the producers said, ‘This episode is all about reaction.’ Then the producers looked directly at me and said, 'If Simon says something mean about you, you tell him off. You let him have it.' They know that you’re going to tell them off, so you just say whatever you want to and we can bleep out anything that is not TV friendly. I just thought, ‘Oh, trust me. I’ve got some words for him.’ It’s not what they expected, but I did it because it was what the Lord wanted me to do."

“You hurt me,” she said to Simon on that show. “It was painful. It really was. But I want you to know that I have forgiven you. You don’t need someone to apologize in order to forgive somebody. I figured that if Jesus could die so that all of my sins could be forgiven, I could certainly extend that same grace to you.”

Simon said he was humbled and gave Mandisa a hug.

“I knew telling him that I forgave him would kind of disarm him, if you will, and that he would be graced. I didn’t know if he had ever felt that before,” says Mandisa.

Forgiveness is a main thread that seems to be run through Mandisa’s life.  She came from a broken home, and when she was young, her dad moved half-way across the country.

“As a child I started to wonder if it was my fault,” says Mandisa. “Did I do something that made dad leave?  I was only two years old, but as I grew up, I just started questioning that sort of thing.  I started feeling like I had to perform in order to warrant his love. At that point I think I started wrestling with feelings of abandonment and -- not having a father figure in my life -- he is still a very big part of my life, just not right there with me.  I just started turning to food in order to comfort.”

Mandisa realized that she needed to forgive her father.

“When I realized that he was able to go on and live a very happy life, it was holding me back. I did not want my unforgiveness to have that affect on me, and I have learned that forgiveness is just as much for the person that is forgiving then for the person being forgiven,” says Mandisa.

But it wasn’t just abandonment issues that drove Mandisa’s food addiction. As a teenager, Mandisa was raped.

“When that happened at 16, it was like a floodgate opened. I started to eat and eat and eat.  I think I was sort of shielding myself off from anybody else that could harm me,” says Mandisa.

It took a long time, but Mandisa says she was finally able to forgive her rapist.

Since American Idol, Mandisa has been a busy woman. She started modeling for Ashley Stewart -- a plus size clothing line.  She’s making progress with her food addictions.

“I have to choose between eating something healthy or driving through the Krispy Crème,” she says.  “Every time that I do that I get stronger and stronger. Every time that I face it and I am victorious, I am able to reflect on that the next time and that gives me more strength.  It’s choosing to get up half an hour earlier and exercise. Those are all healthy lifestyle changes that I need to make as opposed to dieting.” 

Mandisa has also written a book, Idoleyes .and her first CD True Beautyhits stores in a few weeks.

“I think the Lord allowed me to go through a lot of difficult times beforeAmerican Idol,” she says. “And while I was on it because there are so many other people that can identify with it. So I thought it was important for me to tell my story and be completely honest about it and we get free together. That’s what I think it’s all about. Everything is possible with God."


This. This is what Christianity is all about. I have always loved Mandisa's music. She's fun, and upbeat, and always has a good message. But I had no idea just how far she had to run to get to where she's at now.

I absolutely loved this. It was amazing. Everyone knows how mean Simon can be. And any other person, even Christians, sadly. Would have copped him out for making them feel so horrible. But instead, Mandisa and her friends not only prayed for him, but she went out in front of everyone: the crowd, judges, and national television, and the very first words out of her mouth were "You hurt me, but I want you to know I forgive you."

So few words, such strong meaning...

You know that saying, "Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me?" Yep. Biggest. Lie. Ever.

Words hurt. People hurt. Hate hurts. There's always going to be that one person out there that just treats you like dirt. Lord knows, there's probably going to be more than that. But, it's up to us on how we take it.

I want to show you something in Matthew before I begin to close this up.

Matthew 5:38-48
“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’  But I say to you,Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.  And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.  Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you. “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’  But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,  so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.  For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?  And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

The golden rule is, "Treat others how you would want to be treated." or "Love your neighbor as yourself." It isn't "Treat others kindly and with respect, only if they treat you kindly and with respect." It isn't "Love your neighbor only if they do the same." No, it's "Treat others how you would want to be treated." No ands, ifs, or buts. Period.

Did you know that God even loves satan? Now you're probably thinking, "Um.. lolwut? How could God love satan? It's satan. You know... God's enemy..?" Yes. I do. But, what did that verse just say? Jesus said, "Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you." That's right. You heard me-er-Him. Even when it feels like this entire world is against you. Even when it feels like nobody loves you. Always, always love them. And forgive them. Just as God forgave and loved you.

1st Corinthians 10:31
"So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God."

Everything we do should bring glory to our Father. This... This shows it. You know, people just don't understand. What we say and do... It doesn't reflect the other people. If we call each other names and treat each other like dirt, it isn't a reflection of them as a person... It's a reflection of us.

Who do we want to mirror when we reflect? I don't know about you, but I would like to reflect Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior when people see me. When people see what I do, and hear what I say. When people see me, I don't want them to see me. I want them to see the one within me. Beyond me. Bigger than I could ever be. I want them to see Him when they see me.

This path that we walk on... The footsteps we leave behind... They're there forever. The steps we take, the choices we make. So that's why we have to be so very careful about what we do and say. One day, someone else just might walk our path. Our footsteps. Where do we want to lead them to? Heaven, or Hell?

All that's really left to say is this: Live like Jesus is watching. Because ya know what? He is. Everyday. He knows our thoughts, our hearts. He is there, watching, listening, waiting. Waiting to see. Waiting to know. Waiting for us to know. He is here.

Would we really want Jesus to be listening to that song we were just listening to? Would we really want him to see that movie we just saw? Would we really want him the hear the things we just said? To see the things we just did?

If you said yes to any of the above questions, you may want to rethink your current path. If God is everywhere, He is right there. Make Him happy with what we do and say. What we think and know. What more can a Father ask than for his children to love and obey him?

Love. Think. Pray.

And.

Live like Jesus is watching.

~Sam
 
 
Greetings readers!

Today I have something a little different for you guys. Well, not entirely, but I'd like to think so. It makes me feel special.

Anyways, here is a short story I wrote for school sometime back. Thanks to Jesse Rice (http://booktyper.blogspot.com/) for editing and proof reading. You guys should check out his blog, it's awesome! 

~~~xxxXxxx~~~

Dawn of a New Day

I watched from my small, corner seating as large, rambunctious crowds began to gather around the feast before them. Dancers danced to the dark, steady tempo of heavy drums; sending chills up and down my spine. The entire event seemed eerie and, frankly, quite pointless to me. Though, I would never tell my father that. He enjoys these affairs very much: Too much, in my honest opinion.

An hour had now passed, and I gazed about my surroundings. Large men wearing robes of deep purple and, admittedly, stylishly set women who adorned themselves with much gold and jewels all laughed and carried on foolishly. They were acting as small, misbehaved children, really. That’s what they get for having too much drink, I thought, rolling my eyes.

The air was getting thick with smoke from a blazing bonfire below, and the chaotic noise was enough to drive one insane.This was too much, I decided, and slipped out to the courtyard.

-----------------

Stepping out onto the walk, I lifted my head towards the night sky. A bright full moon rose high, shedding a blanket of light on all below. I glanced at the land before me, as a cool, still breeze brushed against my face.

You would think, since my father is captain of the guard, that I would be used to the scenery by now. But, no. Every time I catch a glimpse of the royal flower beds, or the beauty of the large, flowing tapestries hanging proudly upon the castle walls, it still takes my breath away.

Just as I turned on my heel to leave, I heard a raspy whisper of my name.

”Amoria!”

I looked all around, but saw no one.

“Amoria! Over here, in the bushes!”

I slowly crept over and peered into the brush. “Sira! Moriah!” I gasped. “What are you doing?”

“We-we came to warn you!” Moriah replied, breathlessly.

“Warn me?” I asked in alarm. “What of?”

“About what we saw,” Sira answered, tugging nervously at his dusty brown hair.

I was just about to ask their meaning when a thousand frightful screams suddenly pierced the air around them.

“Oh, no!” Sira cried. “I hope we’re not too late!”

-----------------

We raced up the walkway and past the strangely empty guard post. My heart beat rapidly inside my chest as my mind flooded with questions and worry. What was happening? Was father alright? What was it Sira and Moriah needed to warn me about?

I shook my head and pushed the questions aside: There were too few answers to think on them now. “Come this way! There’s a shortcut to the banquet hall!”

We rushed down corridors and through a servants’ panel.

“If we go through this second door, we’ll be just east of the King’s seating,” whispered Sira as he placed his hand on a small opening.

“Oh, alright. But, please, do be carefu-” I stopped, mid-sentence.

As the pathway became fully open, a light like no other poured upon every inch of the room. Blinded by light, and frozen with fear, we stood completely still. Speechless.

Finally, Moriah gathered just enough courage to choke out, “W-what is going o-on?!”

I wanted to reply, and I sensed Sira did too. However, facts be straight, we couldn’t answer. We didn’t know. And honestly, I felt sure no one knew.

Suddenly, as if the three of us were all struck at once, upon the west wall a frightful, but wondrous, sight appeared: The image of a man’s hand emerged before us, the crowd, and the king, who was still in a drunken state.

He glared at the hand with unashamed fear as it slowly wrote a cryptic, and seemingly gibberish, message across the wall. His eyes filled with fearful tears and his mouth grew too dry to scream for his guards. (Though it wouldn’t matter anyways, as his guards were struck with the same fright that had caused the King himself to stop dead in his own tracks.)

The color of his firmly structured face turned from a becoming tan to a cold, ashy pale; and he quickly became too weak to stand. Collapsing on his throne, his entire body shook rapidly. As he did, the hand disappeared; leaving nothing behind but the mysterious, illegible writing behind.

“Sire!” cried Moravah, Captain of the Guard (and my father), as he regained his composure. Running to the king’s side, alongside the queen, he aided him with a glass of water.

“My king! Are you well?” shrieked the queen as she kneeled before him.

The king, who once wore such a frightened and disturbed expression, now wore a grave look upon his face. Beads of sweat crossed his brow and anger boiled inside of him. He stood up with such force that it knocked both the queen and Moravah over.

“What kind of Sorcery IS THIS?!” he cried, slamming his fists on the table in front of him.

“Sire! Perhaps of you were to calm down, we cou-” Moravah was cut off.

“Calm down? Calm down?!” the king snapped. “Calm down when there is some disrespectful madman loose, playing tricks on the kingdom and the royal highness himself? You expect me to CALM DOWN?!” He was now crying profusely, throwing a tantrum like a spoiled child.

“He’s acting ridiculous!” Moriah remarked, open-mouthed.  

“That’s what happens when one drinks too much wine,” I reminded her. Though deep down, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing either. All I knew was the obvious: The king was terrified.

The king found his voice again. “I-I know! I’ll tell you. Bring me my astrologers. All of them. All my magicians and enchanters and diviners. Whoever can read this, and tell me what is means, will be clothed in purple and have a gold chain placed around his neck.

“And,” he said staring into space, “he will be made the third highest in the kingdom!”

-----------------

And it was so. Within half an hour, all of his men were summoned. We watched as hundreds of men in strange colored robes flipped through books and chattered among themselves for what seemed like hours on end.

The king was growing impatient.

“Well?” he snapped.

A magician stepped forward. “We are trying, Sire. However, it is unlike any language we have ever seen! I’m afraid it would take a miracle by the gods for us to figure this out.”

The king slumped back in his throne and pouted. “Are we to remain in this hopeless state of being tortured by these unknown words forever? Is there no man out there to ease my wandering thoughts?!”

Just as he was about to give up, the queen said softly, “Daniel.”

“Daniel?” repeated the king, questionably. “What of him?”

The queen then stood firmly, speaking with great boldness and dignity:

“The man called Daniel. He has the spirit of the holy gods in him. In the time of your father, he was found to have insight and intelligence and wisdom like that of the gods! Your father, King Nebuchadnezzar, appointed him chief of the magicians, enchanters, astrologers, and diviners. He did this because Daniel, whom the king called Belteshazzar, was found to have a keen mind and knowledge and understanding, and also the ability to interpret dreams, explain riddles and solve difficult problems. Call for Daniel, my king, and he will tell you what you want to know.”

The king then stood up and embraced her. “An excellent idea, my queen. Guards!”

“Present, your highness,” replied Moravah.

“Bring me the one called Daniel. Let’s see if he can interpret this message.”

-----------------

Ten minutes later, Daniel was standing before the king.

“Are you Daniel, one of the exiles my father the king brought from the land of Judah?”

Daniel replied with a positive answer, and the king went on to explain what he had heard about him, as well as the current situation.

“And if you can read this message,” the king finished, pointing at the writing on the wall, “you will be clothed in purple garments of my highest quality. A gold chain will be placed around your neck, and you will be made third highest ruler in the kingdom!”

Daniel shook his head. “You may keep your gifts for yourself, and give your rewards to someone else. Nevertheless, I will read the writing, and tell your highness what it means.” With this, Daniel continued, saying:

“Your Majesty, the Most High God gave your father Nebuchadnezzar sovereignty and greatness and splendor. Because of the high position He gave him, all the nations and peoples of every language dreaded and feared him.

“Those the king wanted put to death, he put to death. Those he wanted to spare, he spared. Those he wanted to promote, he promoted. And those he wanted to humble, he humbled. But when his heart became arrogant and hardened with pride, he was deposed from his royal throne, stripped of his glory.

“He was driven away from people, and given the mind of an animal. He lived with the wild donkeys and ate grass like the ox; and his body was drenched with the dew of heaven, until he acknowledged that the Most High God is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth and sets over them anyone He wishes.

“Yet you, Belshazzar, his son, have not humbled yourself, though you know all this. Instead, you have set yourself up against the Lord of heaven. You had the goblets from His temple brought to you. Then you and your nobles, and your wives and your concubines, drank wine from them.

“You praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze and iron, and of wood and stone, which cannot see or hear or understand. You did not honor the God who holds in His hand your life and all your ways. Therefore, He sent the hand that wrote this description.”

Daniel then faced the wall and read:

“Mene, Mene, Tekel, Parsin.

“Meaning:

“Mene: God has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end.

“Tekel: You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting.

“Peres: Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.”

The kingdom fell silent, all eyes fixed on Daniel. My own glance bounced from the crowd, to Daniel, to the king, and back again. What was to happen next? I pondered deeply these words: ‘God has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end.’

“Brought it to an end...” I murmured to myself, still watching the scene. Ideas raced through my mind almost as fast as my heartbeat. My palms grew sweaty and my skin began to crawl. I didn’t want to know, all I could do was hope, and... pray.

All remained silent in the grand hall, until suddenly, with great outburst, the king stood up and cried, “Bring these rewards that I have promised; for the man named Daniel, who stands now before you, truly is the wisest man of all!”

With a wave of his hand, the crowd cheered vigorously.

“Please!” protested Daniel. “It is not of my own wisdom that brings these words to you!  Not of my own wisdom, but a greater wisdom, of a greater being: The Most High God!”

“Nonsense, my good man!” scoffed the king as he placed the golden chain around Daniel’s neck. “Now, let the celebrations begin anew! For the mystic message has been solved!”

“Celebrations!” Moriah snapped. “Is he even aware of what this message is saying?!”

“He is a drunken fool, dear sister,” Sira consulted. “He has no idea of anything right now.”

We watched as the king yet again wave his hand, creating a gesture we each assumed was to resume the festivities. We were right.

The dancers danced and the drummers drummed, and all was not well. In all the chaos, I noticed Daniel with his head down: He was praying.

Slowly he turned around, unnoticed, and headed out of the room. I knew what I had to do. Bidding goodbye to my friends, I followed him.

-----------------

Daniel looked longingly over the moonlit distance. His dark brown hair disheveled, and his ‘rewarded’ robe wrinkled. Truth be told, he looked restless. Before I could even speak, Daniel said, “I see you, girl.”

“How did you know it was me?” I asked, curiously.

“Oh, I have my ways,” he replied, grinning. Even smiling, he looked weary.

Pulling back a wandering strand of my light brown hair, I sat down beside him. “Daniel... I... I’m...”

“I know, child.” He comforted me, placing his hand on my shoulder. “You’re afraid. We’re all afraid. You fear for your people just as I fear for mine.”

“You know me well...” I noted.

Daniel sighed. “Do you remember what I told you when you first came to believe, Amoria?”

“You told me a lot of things.”

Daniel laughed. “So I did.”

We walked down the garden steps.

Daniel pointed at something. “Look over there. Tell me, what do you see?”

I looked about the courtyard. The same moonlit glow still blanketed every inch of the view as far as the eye could see. Royal roses and white tiger-lilies bloomed while willow trees draped their tender branches overhead.

“I see the garden...” I replied.

“Amoria, I know you better than that. What do you really see?”

I closed my eyes for a moment, took a deep breath, and opened them once again. “I... I see a once dark land. A once dark land whose flowers wilted, and trees and brush withered and died. Whose grass had burned, and water had dried. And whose flame of hope had gone out, for what seemed like could be forever.

“However, I see a once dark land that was seen in its darkest hour. Whose cries for love were heard, and answered. I see a land who was touched by tender hands and cared for by a tender heart. I see a land who now basks in sunshine by day, and sleeps in moonlight by night.

“And though the storm clouds may come and go, blocking out all in its path, I see a land who knows there is still hope. Hope because the sunshine is always there, and will always bring its warmth and cheer to this land once again.”

Daniel looked down at me and smiled. “Very good, child.” He then looked off into the distance and said, “Do you want to know what I see? I see a land whose needs were met by the One who meets all our needs.

“The One who worked through the rain and the sun, as well as ordinary people like you and I, to bring His piece of beauty back to life. You know what you said about the storm clouds and the sun?”

“Yeah...?” I answered, curiosity in my tone.

“God and our lives are just like that.”

“How so?” I asked. “Well, life is like a pathway... It has bumps and curves, troubles and trials. And, I won’t lie to you: It will get scary at times. However, never lose hope. Even though your path may toss and turn, and life may seem at its darkest hour;  God protects, and God provides.

“He is always here, and His hand is always on His people. Never lose faith, little one. God will always help you through your fiery furnace.” He then looked down at me, and smiled once more.

I smiled back. I’m not sure how or why, really, but Daniel’s words seemed to comfort me.

-----------------

All was peaceful for the next few moments, despite the chaos inside. That is, until I spotted Nahém, a royal guard, flying frantically up the nearby steps.

“Nahém!” I called out.

Hearing my cry, he stopped. “Amoria! What are you doing here?”

“I am with my father, who was invited to-”

“Your father is here?” he interrupted. “I must speak with him! He must know of... Oh, dear...” He tried to run past us, but Daniel blocked his way.

“What is it that troubles you, Nahém?” Daniel asked.

Nahém glanced at him, startled. “Do I know you?”

“I doubt it.” he replied, simply. “But I know you.”

Nahém wore a puzzled and slightly worried expression, but began to speak anyways. “I was summoned by Ruben of the west side to meet with him personally on urgent matters...”

“That explains the empty post...” I thought aloud.

“Empty?” Nahém jumped. “I assigned Lesmine to take over my post. Are you saying he never came?”

I shook my head no.

“Oh, bother with that now. Anyways, I had no idea what it could possibly be about, but I went. When I got there, we started right off. He told me that one of his spies had gotten word of a plot to overthrow king Belshazzar by an outside nation known as the Medes.”

“Medes...” I thought to myself. And by the look on his face, I believe Daniel recalled the same thing.

Nahém continued. “When Ruben learned of this, he immediately sent men to investigate: They were right. One of the men spotted a Mede camp about three miles south of here... The plan on attacking tonight. Which is why I came to warn you. All of you...”

He was just about to continue, when my father came rushing out of the palace.

“Moravah!” Nahém cried. “Oh, thank the gods I’ve found you! The Medes-”

“So I’ve heard,” my father responded as my friends suddenly appeared from behind him.

“Sira! Moriah!” I cried, running to greet them.”

“Amoria!” they replied, simultaneously.

Nahém then cut in once more: “Moravah? What will we do?” Whining and shaking, he began wringing his hands nervously.

Moravah answered, annoyed. “Stop that! You’re acting like a mere child! We will do as any self sufficient kingdom would do: Get into position and prepare for battle.”

And that’s when I knew just how wrong my father was. No man, nor kingdom, nor nation alike could ever be self sufficient. I knew that now.

I was lost in thought, when suddenly the silence was shattered by the sound of swords and hooves of army horses. Hundreds, maybe thousands of men were coming to attack us right this very second.

“It’s too late! It’s too late!” Nahém cried in desperation.

“Pull yourself together, man!” my father snapped. “It’s never too late!” Drawing his sword, he turned towards my friends and I. “Go to your homes. Now. There is no place for children here. Take the secret pathway. Go, now!”

Turning, the three of us rushed towards the hidden road. My father called out once more, “And Amoria, when all else fails...”

“Head towards the bridge!” I finished. Then, stopping, I looked back and cried: “I love you, father!”

“I love you too, my darling daughter.” He smiled back at me, and then disappeared. I felt a single tear drop trickle down my face.

-----------------

After running with all my might, ducking and dodging to remain unseen, I had finally reached home. I rushed inside and into the secret room.

Heading over to the small cot, I plopped myself upon it. I felt weary and tired, my heart ached, and I finally let the tears that I had desperately tried to choke back fall from my cloudy, green eyes.

The following night was horrible. I tossed and turned frantically as nightmares filled my head. I was restless. However, when dawn arrived, the anxiety of knowing whether or not my father was alive was enough to bring me out of bed and up to our meeting place.

When I got there, the sight before me brought tears to my eyes. There stood my father: Beaten, bruised, weary, and worn... but alive.

“Father!” I cried as I ran up to embrace him.

“Amoria!” he cried as well. “My beautiful, wonderful, darling daughter.” Kissing my forehead softly, he smiled at me.

“Father, are you well? I worried about you all night.”

“And I you.” he replied. “I am alright, but I cannot say much for our land. Last night... It was a massacre. We were outnumbered by the thousands. I have no idea if it was from fear, or what.. But it was as if all of our men just gave up!

“Either way...” He paused and sighed. “The king, Belshazzar, is dead. We are now under new rule of Darien of the Medes, the very one whom had Belshazzar slain. And, I feel we are under a new age... From now on.”

Father then looked off into the distance, and I did as well. The sun was rising high in the sky:  It was the dawn of a new day. And, as father said, a new age. I pondered all the events from the previous day and following.

God sure works in mysterious ways. Did I know what was going to happen next? No. Did I understand? Of course not. I still had much to learn. But, one thing I did know: God always protects, and God always provides.

Even if this turns out to be one of life’s storm clouds, His light will always shine through. His hand is always on His people. Forever.

With this I smiled, and continued watching the sun rise.

~~~xxxXxxx~~~

 
 
Just something to make you guys think a little bit. ;)

Dark clouds rose over the once blue sky as the church gathered for Sunday's service. Hundreds of faces, weary and empty, filled the pews of the somewhat lifeless sanctuary. The large band started sorting through chord charts as the choir hummed their scales quietly. Everything was about to begin, and the pastor shook hands with the many people. It was a typical Sunday. Or, so you would guess.

Greeters stood at the front doors, shaking hands and welcoming many new comers. There were several among the normal crowd. Though they wore joyful expressions, you could see the unease they felt by the piercing look of their eyes. Each visitor felt the judgment like a knife through their heart.

One man in particular, caught the men by surprise. And they had no intent of letting him past. "I'm sorry, sir, but you cannot come into this place." The stranger, a tall, bulky figure with deep blue eyes stared at them with a puzzling shock he had never felt before. He wore a bandanna over his face, but you could plainly see the outline of his open mouth through the thin, wrinkled cloth.

"Excuse me?" He asked in reply. The greeter, who had now regained his composure, looked him directly in the eye. "You see, sir," he started. "This is a house of worship and glory to the Lord. We must look presentable before His mighty throne, don't you agree? And, well," He paused awkwardly. "I'm afraid you are by no means presentable this day. Perhaps if you washed up in the creek nearby, you will be well enough for tonight's service?" He spoke with a pretend courtesy that could be marked as so by anyone within the place.

The stranger looked down at his threadbare garments. His shoes were scuffed and his pants had holes. His shirts were patched from yesteryear and his hair was matted. His jacket was torn in two places, and he smelled like he hadn't showered in three weeks. However, he never thought that the God he had heard of would care.

"Sir," he replied, coolly. "Are you saying that my wanting to worship depends on my outward appearance?" The greeter looked him back. "I said no such thing." "Then why can I not come in here?" Now annoyed, he closed his eyes, and took a deep breath. "I'm sorry, sir. But you just cannot come in here. I will kindly see you to your vehicle, however."

The man looked on with a blank expression, though you could hear tones of disappointment and sorrow in his voice. "No... No thank you. I do not own a vehicle, and I do not need to be seen out. I will go on my own." He faced away from the man towards the great unknown about him, but turning back, he added, "God bless you, sir."

With this the greeters looked at each other, closed the doors, and went in the sanctuary for the beginning service.

A pianist began playing a simple, yet, beautiful melody at that moment. The choir sang softly;

"Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now I'm found, twas blind, but now, I see."

Tears filled many a member's eyes as they did so. It reminded many of their past, or, of their present. Perhaps even of their future. No one knew for certain. And all went on smoothly from there. The choir continued to sing songs of love and forgiveness. Mercy and compassion. Being a lost sinner who was found and freed by the power of God's grace. It was a mostly good start. However, then the song service ended, and the pastor walked up to the pulpit.

Offering was taken and a small prayer said, but his demeanor made the crowd uneasy. His tense, stiff moves implied that he was about to start a sermon that would make the skin crawl.

"Evil," he began quickly. "Evil is among us." He glanced around the room at the many people. "This is the house of the Lord. We cannot have darkness in the presence of light, can we?"

"No!" Shouted the people.

Now, think of every phrase as a snap. And every snap as two more people gone. He continued. "The Bible says that we are in this world, but not of this world. Amen?" "Amen!"

"But, what does that mean? What does it mean to be in the world but not of the world? Does it mean dancing and goofing off like every other teenager in this world? NO!"

Snap.

Two gone.

"Does it mean cutting and coloring our hair to make us look like we're from another planet like every other person? NO!"

Snap.

Two more.

"Does it mean going and getting marked with the devil's ink just so we can look 'cool' and 'hip' in front of our friends? NO!"

Snap.

Two more.

This went on for quite some time. The more into his sermon he got, the more aggressive he got, and the more oblivious he was to the fact of, snap. Two more.

Little by little the sanctuary emptied. More and more tears were shed, and more and more hearts were broken. The sad thing was that no one moved. No one dared to make a difference. And the clock ticked on.

In the back row, there was a young woman with three small children beside her. They were fussy and a bit restless as the hours dragged along. Their clothes were baggy and too large for them, and patches covered what wasn't completely thread bear. Their hair was messy and knotted as if they had just rolled out of bed. Mothers who sat with their young ones around her quietly, or not so, scoffed at her. Rebuking how her children behaved, and how she 'wasn't fit to be a mother'.

Painful tear drops slid down her pale face as every last word stabbed her heart. No one knew that she was really a poor widow trying to raise three children in the basement of an innkeeper. No one knew how she was trying to work two jobs while still taking care of her children. And no one knew how she had had to sell the last memoirs of her deceased parents and husband, whom had just been killed in the army not five months before. No one knew, and probably no one cared. All they knew was what she looked on the outside, not what she was on the inside.

Finally, it was too much for her to take. She had been scarred enough. And with that, she took up her children and things and disappeared into the shadowed hallways.

About an hour had passed since that, and more and more visitors disappeared from the scene. The pastor was too caught up in his own words to even notice. He continued to harp on the church's laws and doctrine.

"The Bible says that, 'Thou shalt not make thyself in the appearance of a man.' That is, in so many words. So what does that mean? It means those who call themselves 'Christian' and still walk around in pants are sinning! Right?" "Right!"

Snap.

Two more.

"We are not apart of this world. And let me ask you, church. What does that make 'Christian rap' and 'Christian rock'? False advertising! It's slapping a godly title on the devil's music and calling it good! Lies are suppose to look as much as the truth as possible. And let me tell you, God's people. THIS is lies!"

Snap.

Two more.

"And let's not forget the heretics around us who call themselves Christians and yet listen to the rock and the rap. They wear their makeup and their pants, and dance around like a bunch of demon possessed monsters. You've got your Pentecostals and your Baptists and Your Catholics and..."

Snap.

Two more.

"And, do not even get me started on..." And it continued, time crawled by. Every tick of the clock echoed in the ears of those among the crowd. Those who hadn't judged had been judged, and those who had searched had not found. Hundreds had been dropped to tens, and time seemed still as cold words condemned those in and around the church.

Snap.

Two more.

Snap.

Two more.

Snap.

Two more.

The expressions remained empty, and the voices silent. No one looked back on the flood of lost sheep going astray from the truth. That is, what was supposed to be the truth.

As the pastor listed his dos and don'ts, most being false don'ts taken out of context, more and more pews became empty. More and more tears fell. And more and more people looked on as if nothing ever happened. The scene was a shadowed portrait of the shallowness of their hearts.

A completely reckless storm on the sea of Christianity.

                                                      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The clouds parted a bit and a ray of sunlight beamed down the alleyway. The warmth of the sun felt wonderful after the dark and chilly weather had gone on for so long. A crowd of people gathered around discussing the previous events.

These weren't ordinary people, though. Two by two the strangers that had been tossed aside as hopeless in a building of lies, grouped together in the shadows.

"I just cannot believe it..." One spoke up above the rest. "Persecuted within the church..." "It's just like when the church first began, remember," another replied. "The church has always been this way at one point or another." "Still." Was the disturbed reply.

"The sad thing was how many people actually got kicked out or judged out. I felt very bad for them." "I know, I felt it too." "Well what are we to do?"

"Nothing." Came a voice from behind the crowd. It was the man from the greeter incident. He still looked as before, same wrinkled clothes and matted hair. "We are to do nothing."

"But, I do not understand... We are to do nothing but watch as the church practically digs a detoured path to hell?" The man then removed his bandanna, his expression solemn and steaks from dried tears lined his face. He looked away for just a moment.

Then, suddenly, a bright light flashed about the pathway, bouncing off both the walls and floor. Even the clouds seemingly. There was a sudden pause as the light faded away. The strangers who were once were no longer that, but those of heaven. Several angels gathered about, and spread their wings. Disciples, angels, and those God had once used for great importance all stood there in that simple, quiet alleyway.

Among them that were speaking were Mary, Paul, Mark, Luke, and John the Baptist. They were distressed to see what they had first believed to get better. But, that was not all.

The stranger who had once been denied access to worship the Father, and turned away from the very church that had sang of loving and forgiving all, was the very one and only Son Himself, Jesus Christ.

No longer did He wear rags or patches, but His robe of light and glory. Yet, His face still wore the lines and His expression the same. He sighed, "The ones who claim to be of light and are of darkness, the ones who preach man-made rules instead of my word, and the ones who dare turn away the lost; they will soon see their judgment, as they have judged."  He closed His eyes.

"These...These are the times of the lost. The days of rebellion, and self-living. The church... They have replaced My grace for a fictitious superiority. They have replaced My love for a restrictive hate. They have replaced the price I paid with a greed for worldliness. They have replaced My hand with a temporary hold. They have replaced My law with false doctrine. They have replaced My path for the path of wickedness. My light for darkness, My truth for lies. And soon they will pay. Deny Me before their fellow man, and I will deny them before My Father. Turn away and I will turn them away. Shut their doors, and I will shut mine. Until they can stop judging and condemning among the body, this will be My will."

All went silent for a moment. Thoughts of how, if they had truly been people, like the real people that they had indeed turned away, imagine what opportunities they could have just stopped within a seconds' choice.

One man could have accepted Christ and quit a drinking addiction. He could have then become a missionary and reached 3000 native tribes in Africa. Another woman could have accepted Christ and go on to reach 10,000 people in Asia with a husband to which she could have been true to. Another lady could have accepted Christ just before getting in a car accident, or maybe another man could have planted a church somewhere in the mountains. Maybe a woman could have helped save her friend at the deathbed. Even one life saved is precious in God's eyes.

                                                                 But no.

They were too busy fighting and judging among themselves to reach out. When the lost ones reached out from the dark, they drew their hands back in ignorance. They bickered about themselves, even if it was just within their very beings. The war of faiths never ceased, and true faith had gotten slashed upon the rocks of reality.

And now those who could have been saved, whether they were of them or of the actual ones turned away, might never hear the name of Jesus now, all because of prejudice in the hearts of the church.

                                            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Sadly, this is a big part of the church today. Most any denomination, any organization. They condemn anyone outside their own. And anyone who is on the outside and tries to come in is judged as a hopeless sinner. A black sheep among the flock.

They put a list of their church's and/or organization's do's and don'ts, and don'ts, and don'ts up in a big book and then teach that this is the truth and the way to get to heaven...
                                                            But it isn't.

Jesus said, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one gets to the father but by Me." However, a lot of times Christians add tag-alongs to what the way truly is. They take scripture out of context, or add their own rules and reasoning and pick and choose what they want and don't want for their church.

They hold their church/religion/denomination/organization is the one and only way, and if you are not apart of that way and/or do not abide to every church law, then you are not a true Christian.

Sin is sin, yes. Wrong is wrong. But there is a difference between wrong, and false testimony. You see, being a Christian doesn't mean losing your life. It's not a prison that if you break a rule of church doctrine or something, we'll go directly to hell. God isn't like that. Follow His word, not someone's preferences. There are false teachers out there. I will be the first to say that. But, just because someone's personal convictions are different than another doesn't make them of a false faith.

They condemn the outside world instead of reaching out to them. We are to witness to the ends of the earth. But, if we are constantly judging and condemning instead of reaching out to those who are so lost, how will anyone ever get saved?

I understand that we all have differences and will never believe the same exact things. But what bothers me the most is when people condemn and judge and hold everything against his brother in Christ when he should be encouraging and showing brotherly love to him.

If you feel like someone is on the wrong path, don't judge them and turn them away. Reach out to them, guys. Seriously, love reaches out, it does not draw back. So do so in remembrance of what God did for you.

Yes, again wrong is wrong. Apart from His word, we do not know the exact way. And even then, everyone seems to interpret verses differently. But, think. We are not our own judge. That is the job of the Father. In the end times He will tell us what was right or wrong in our beliefs, and he will be the one who says what. Not us. Until then, we just have to keep moving on and getting along together. As one body. The body of Christ.

If you feel like you should not wear pants or makeup or something, that's fine. There is nothing wrong with that. The difference is... That is a personal conviction, not a Biblical fact. Don't press personal convictions as truth and then condemn those who don't follow it. That's the bases that most churches thrive on. And it's wrong. I'm sorry, but it is.  

Learn to love, not to hate. We are all a part of the body of Christ. In the end, most of us will end up in Heaven together in the end. That includes Protestants, Catholics, Pentecostal, Baptists, Methodists, Church of Christ, all of them. I mean it. We all believe in a central truth. Jesus Christ. And as long as we believe in him, and what He did and does and continues doing for us, then we will always be apart of that one main faith. Disagree? Probably. But as for me, I think I'd rather love a brother than judge a brother.

I probably have some crazy, out there beliefs, sure. Maybe no one in the world agrees with me. But I'll stand true to my word. I love calling all of these guys my brothers and sisters in Christ. ^_^

Thanks for reading all.

~Sam

~Just something to think about...What if the person you judged last really was Jesus in disguise?~

 
 
"I look at the painted smiles on your face. The emptiness shows that you never had a place.

I look around and see an empty pew, that could have held someone like you.

I hear the preacher at the pulpit, teaching words hollow as his heart.

I wish someone would open their eyes to see how things really are.

I watch as the stranger stands in the back.

The judging whispers of the crowd piercing like an attack.

I feel the pain as rejection tears streak down his face...

He would have been better off anywhere but this place.

I listen as the choir sings songs of acceptance and love for all,

Yet when someone different comes in, prejudice arises and that love falls.

In the shadow of the outside, people wander in the dark.

We teach of holding out our arms, 'it only takes a spark'.

But when someone from the outside tries to reach out from the black.

We sit here in ignorance, taking our arms back.

Now I sit here in wonder... What are we in Christ?

If we refuse to make a difference... I have to wonder why?"

I wrote that poem earlier today as I was thinking about things. I was listening to the songs "If We Are The Body" "Does anybody hear her?" and "Stain Glass Masquerade" by Casting Crowns. And, you know? It really got me thinking. I get so tired of the 'fakeness' of the church. Now, you can go and attack me all you want; "Oh, my church isn't like that at all. We all love each other and the Lord." Well, if that is true, then I'm very happy for you. I wish everyone was like that. But, stop for just a second and ask yourself. Really think... Is it really like that?

Let me expand on my usage of 'fakeness' for a moment. What is fake? It's not the truth, is it? It's imaginary. A lie. A mask to make you think one thing, when it's actually another. It's not what it appears to be.

Sadly, this is a good description of the church. Not only the modern church, but any and every church. It's been that way from the beginning. People judge and hold prejudices against each other for every little detail. It's wrong.

James 2:1-4
2 My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism. 2 Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. 3 If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” 4 have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Romans 12:3-8
3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. 4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your[a] faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead,[b] do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

1 Corinthians 12:27
27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Take a close look at these verses. What do you see? I see something that everyone avoids...

I see the truth. We are all apart of one body. Christ's body. And in that body, things should run in love and forgiveness, in compassion and mercy, in acceptance and trust. But what actually happens is far from it. We are prideful, judgmental, suspicious. It's quite bothersome, in all honesty.

The church is one of the most judgmental bodies out there. That is what upsets me most to know. Prejudice consumes our hearts, and we hold that against each other in grudges. I mean... Why can we not look through each others eyes? Why do we move on with fake grins and sayings that life is a bowl of cherries and everything is okay. When in reality, it's not. We're afraid to say anything, and we move on, wishing that someone would understand.

Anyone who is not in our denomination or do not believe the same way we do are wrong, right? Anyone who picks and chooses, anyone who doesn't dress or act like we do. Anyone who dislikes our church rules or beliefs is just going to go to Hell. That's it. End of story.

No.

I get sick to death of this judgement of each church against each other. Catholics and Protestants. Baptists and Methodists. Pentecostals and Church of Christ. Why do we spend so much time hating on each other, when we are all apart of one body? If we spent half as much time trying to reach out to those we judge on the outside, instead of judging on the inside, imagine how many believers we would have in the world! We could touch ten billion lives... But instead, we're sitting here within our own church walls picking out the other churches and preaching against them. I long for a day where a Pope and a Pastor, a Priest and a Bishop, Catholics and Protestants, can all come together in peace without argument of who's religion is right or wrong, who's faith is truer, and who's more worthy of heaven, and just glorify God together. Because, in the end, isn't He all that matters in the first place?

We also hold the outside in constant judgement. Is there darkness in the world? Sure. Should we be careful about who we associate with? Of course. But that doesn't mean we turn our backs on the lost and broken. Did Jesus do that? Did He only walk with the ones who believed just like him? Did He only talk to the wealthy? Did He only love the ones who loved Him back or those who were already a part of the believers? No. He didn't. He reached out and loved the unlovable. He gave hope to the hopeless, and life to the lifeless. He touched the untouchable and gave second chances to those who thought it was the end. It didn't matter that they were covered in markings or looked, acted, or talked poorly. It didn't matter if they were rich or poor. It didn't matter that they had murdered in their lifetime, nor did it that they were thieves or liars. He loved all, and as believers, we should too.

"If we are the body" ~Casting Crowns

"It's crowded in worship today

As she slips in trying to fade into the faces

The girls teasing laughter is carrying farther than they know

Farther than they know

But if we are the body

Why aren't His arms reaching?

Why aren't His hands healing?

Why aren't His words teaching?

And if we are the body

Why aren't His feet going?

Why is His love not showing them there is a way?

There is a way

A traveler is far away from home

He sheds his coat and quietly sinks into the back row

The weight of their judgmental glances

Tells him that his chances are better out on the road

But if we are the body

Why aren't His arms reaching?

Why aren't His hands healing?

Why aren't His words teaching?

And if we are the body

Why aren't His feet going?

Why is His love not showing them there is a way?

There is a way

Jesus paid much too high a price

For us to pick and choose who should come

And we are the body of Christ

But if we are the body

Why aren't His arms reaching?

Why aren't His hands healing?

Why aren't His words teaching?

And if we are the body

Why aren't His feet going?

Why is His love not showing them there is away?

There is a way

But if we are the body

Why aren't His arms reaching?

Why aren't His hands healing?

Why aren't His words teaching?

And if we are the body

Why aren't His feet going?

Why is His love not showing them there is a way

Jesus is the way"

"Stain Glass Masquerade" ~Casting Crowns

"Is there anyone that fails

Is there anyone that falls

Am I the only one in church today feelin' so small

Cause when I take a look around

Everybody seems so strong

I know they'll soon discover

That I don't belong

So I tuck it all away, like everything's okay

If I make them all believe it, maybe I'll believe it too

So with a painted grin, I play the part again

So everyone will see me the way that I see them

Chorus:

Are we happy plastic people

Under shiny plastic steeples

With walls around our weakness

And smiles to hide our pain

But if the invitation's open

To every heart that has been broken

Maybe then we close the curtain

On our stained glass masquerade

Is there anyone who's been there

Are there any hands to raise

Am I the only one who's traded

In the altar for a stage

The performance is convincing

And we know every line by heart

Only when no one is watching

Can we really fall apart

But would it set me free

If I dared to let you see

The truth behind the person

That you imagine me to be

Would your arms be open

Or would you walk away

Would the love of Jesus

Be enough to make you stay

Chorus (x2)

But if the invitation's open

To every heart that has been broken

Maybe then we close the curtain

On our stained glass masquerade

Is there anyone that fails

Is there anyone that falls

Am I the only one in church today feelin' so small"


"Does Anybody Hear Her?" ~Casting Crowns

"She is running

A hundred miles an hour in the wrong direction

She is trying

But the canyon's ever widening

In the depths of her cold heart

So she sets out on another misadventure just to find

She's another two years older

And she's three more steps behind

Does anybody hear her? Can anybody see?

Or does anybody even knows she's going down today

Under the shadow of our steeple

With all the lost and lonely people

Searching for the hope that's tucked away in you and me

Does anybody hear her? Can anybody see?

She is yearning

For shelter and affection

That she never found at home

She is searching

For a hero to ride in

To ride in and save the day

And in walks her prince charming

And he knows just what to say

Momentary lapse of reason

And she gives herself away

If judgement looms under every steeple

If lofty glances from lofty people

Can't see past her scarlet letter

And we never even met her

He is running

A hundred miles an hour in the wrong direction"

These lyrics are so true. It pretty much sums up all the feelings I have into three songs. Why do we judge before we've walked a mile in their shoes? Why do we wander about lost within our own church walls? Why do we hurt on the inside, but act as if it's fine on the out? We shouldn't wear masks and put on an act. If we wouldn't do it for Jesus, we shouldn't do it for each other. And, trust me, Jesus is watching. Don't live a lie.


In a round about way, I'm trying to say... Stop. Take a look around. We are all different. We face different problems and we all have different ways of doing things. We all look different, we all act different, we all are different. That doesn't make us any less apart of the body of Christ. Don't tear a brother down, or turn him away if he doesn't 'fit the part'. Love him as Christ loved you, and give him encouragement. If he's lost, show him the way, don't turn him away.

If one of us cries, we should all cry. If one of us laughs, we should all laugh. If one of us rejoices, we should all rejoice. And if one of us mourns, we should all mourn. We are one body. We should lean upon each other and encourage one another. Because we are all ONE body in Christ.

Don't be a hypocrite, fellow believers. Don't just talk the talk; walk the walk, and do what is right. Remember, in the end, God is the final judge, not us. He will tell us whether something was right or wrong. In the mean time, love like Jesus is watching.  Because He is, and He commands us to. Even if no one else is loving, don't be a crowd follower. Take a stand, and make a difference. Because that's what we are to do. We are to shine a little bit more of the Everlasting Light in this dark world, one person at a time.

"Somebody like me" ~Jason Crabb

"The congregation parted like the Red Sea

When that old drunk stumbled in down the aisle

And took a seat

Right in the middle of Amazing Grace

He could feel the judgment they were passing

Thought to himself “Ain’t that just how some folks act”

He’d rather be on the street than in this place

And with tears on his face

You’d think somebody would put their arm around him

You’d think somebody would hit a knee

Pull him in, say a prayer

That’s what I’m talking ‘bout right there

You’d think somebody would practice what they’re preachin’

Well, I wonder who that somebody could be

Prob’ly somebody like me

Well, he’s got problems nobody wants a part of

When he got up and slipped out nobody stood up

They don’t wanna make a scene

So they let him walk outta there without a prayer

You’d think somebody would do something different

You’d think somebody would go against the grain

Be the one to run him down

Bring him back and turn him around

You’d think somebody would wanna make a difference

Well, well I wonder who that somebody could be

Prob’ly somebody like me

Oh can I get a witness

Oh yeah

You’d think somebody would put their arm around him

You’d think somebody would hit a knee now

Pull him in, say a prayer yeah

You’d think somebody would put their arm around him

You’d think somebody would hit a knee

Pull him in, say a prayer

That’s what I’m talking ‘bout right there

You’d think somebody would wanna make a difference

Well, I wonder who that somebody could be

Prob’ly somebody like me"


As always, thanks for reading. =)

~Sam



 

    Sam:

    Young reader, writer, and all around dreamer.

    Categories

    All


The Sam Side