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L I F E -thru- D E A T H's Journal
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Date:2003-03-30 00:51
Subject:RE: when your talking.. who is listening?

i am convinced that demons do speak to us. now today more than ever. i just realized today. i was thinking about something awful in my mind... and i answered myself with an audible "no i wont do that". who was it that i was answering to? how many times in your life have you been answering a question you thought in your mind that you created, but yet, you did not even have the slightest incling of doing that very thing?

it has happened to me far to many times than i wish to admit. (oh i just admitted that). ok . .now if you are smart you know that i am talking to you. its true. some idea comes in your head. and you think about it. . even for a second. . and then its gone. . and occasionally. . you answer yourself. only occasionally. .. but then when you do? who are you talking to? well we know that god is always listening, but . . .but . . who else is?

Date:2003-03-25 21:51
Subject:RE: THE PATH .......

I Will Wonder Off My Path, From time to time. That does not mean I have not covered much ground, in the dust behind me. I do not at this point, however,rub my forehead and wonder how far I could have gone not having strayed from my path. Rather, I turn back around and continue in the direction I was going, and thank God for showing me the way.

Date:2003-03-19 10:51
Subject:conditioned response

I just love my psychology class, so much in fact I have only missed 4 days this entire semester. I do truly enjoy the study of human behaviour, and why people do the things they do. What makes them tick? What makes them stop ticking, and instead lashing out and spewing venom all over everyone that loves them? Today we watched a video on Pavlov's dogs. Interesting man, ole Pavlov was. Pavlov was the scientist that discovered that dogs could be trained to salivate by the sound of a bell just as much as they would at the sight of food. This is considered a conditioned response. I was already familiar with his revelations to science, but it was interesting to see first hand. Also shocking was the saliva-collectors that were sown into the dogs cheeks, into their skin. Today if this experiment was conducted PETA would shut it down before it began.

Interesting enough, we began a class discussion regarding phobias, and fears and how to overcome them. This process was called desensitization. Gradually exposing a person to small doses of whatever the fear is in hopes that they will overcome the fear gradually through time. She then proceeded to tell the class we can desensitize ourselves to fears by simply talking to ourself. The good old "Im not really afraid of these snakes, Im not really afraid of these snakes," or "I know I can ride this elevator, I know I can ride this elevator."

So I had to ask, and I had to raise my hand. "Just curious, if the problem lies within myself, and the fear consumes me and who I am, then how can talking to myself, wherein the problem lies, provide a way solution? How can I resolve a phobia that lies deep within myself, by resorting to the same being wherein the phobia lies?

She basically responded, "Well, it doesn't work for everyone, some people need help from others, but others can find that help in themselves." "Huh?" Needless to say, I did not understand her answer nor did I feel she answered my question. So I am off to contemplate further.

If the problem lies within myself, then how can the solution come from the same place the problem does?????????

Date:2003-03-17 12:41
Subject:RE: A diet coke and a pack of marlboro lights.... huh

Cashier: Will that be all, one diet coke?
GUY: Ummm... no I also need a pack of Marlboro Lights please.
Cashier: A pack of Marlboro Lights and a Diet Coke, ok your total is $5.22.
Guy: Oh woops, I forgot I also need one of these high protein, health food, Power Bars.
Cashier: Ok ... So that is a Diet Coke, a Power Bar, and a pack of Marlboro Lights?
Guy: That will do it....

Date:2003-03-13 13:37
Subject:RE: Time
Mood: discontent

why does it seem as of late that time is moving on without me sometimes. i mean, the days change, the date changes, but the only difference to me from yesterday to today is the number on my watch changes, the sun may be shining more one day the the next or the day before. it is cycles, the cycles of living that have begun to grind upon me. how do i step outside of this cycle? it seems now i am only just counting the time before my next unfortunate outcome. i am not expecting something bad to happen all the time, but i am just waiting and watching, and life as usual is passing right by me.

where is my focus at? where is god in this picture? it seems i have put all my eggs in one basket again, and someone dropped the basket, all the eggs are broken and my hearts yoke is running all over the tar stained ground. how can i put humpty dumpty back together again. does anyone really care, or do you enjoy more the artistic value of the picture that is broken eggs and a basket on the ground.

a man from church asked me the oher day. how are you? i replied good, but i have my share of struggles. he told me, thats good, your going to have those in your life! the question is how you face them? he said, you dont have cancer do you? your not dying are you? no one you are close to hasnt died recently have they? see. things arent that bad are they? i answered to him no, but inside the yoke was runny and i wanted to say yes. i need to get out of this spiral and lift my chin again.

she was not meant to be. and if she was we would be together, and if she is we will be together one day. just not today. so of what value is it to sit and stare at my watch, or the calendar? what value is it to watch time go by like and books i read pass my eyes like a word train. and conversations i am participating in because i feel like i have to. where is my zest for life. where is the fight in me to live a more victorious life? where has that gone? did it leave with the girl? if it left with the girl then it was never there. because that is something from deep deep within. and i know i had it. it was god and his presence and in actuality it never left. he never left me. my acknowledement of him is what has dwindled. my giving thanks to him for the good things had ceased. and my blaming him for the bad things in my life had increased. so where is the hope in that.

i need to wake up and smell some clean linens, but in order to do that it is time to change the sheets of this bed of self pity i had been laying in. it is time to not focus any longer on the have nots. that is all i have been doing, and the matches have been building up and so have the ciggarette butts. its time james. its time now to either turn around and go back to that place where god is at the helm of your ship, or its time to start wandering down that lonely road that you have already become accustomed to once again.

which shall you choose? are you going to continue to watch the word train go by or are you going to jump on board? you decide this very day. which way you shall choose. its all about a choice.

Date:2003-02-26 13:56
Subject:Two Hearts, One Dance...

Two Hearts, One Dance...

I stared off into the distance, that dark gloomy day
I noticed a dark siloutte, against the waters surface
The sky, a shade of gray, the fog divided the suns rays
I knew in my soul, this siloutte had a purpose

Suddenly from afar, this dark shape became clear
It was a porpoise cutting effortlessly across the sea
It made its own way, it had no fears
Controlled by no one, this being was truly free

As I walked closer to the waters edge
With my own eyes I did behold
Not one porpoise fin, but two shimmering on the water
A perfect rhythem, a poetic dance, was about to unfold

I noticed across the water that day
The rhythem of two soulmates united and free
They each swim their own poetic dance
But to others, united as one, they appear to be

Date:2003-02-18 11:55
Subject:Finish Strong

Finish Strong

That term holds new meaning to me today. I just rec'd my first D today on an English test, that I did not study very hard for. What was I doing instead of studying for my test, that I knew I had today? I was going out with my new friend Stacy, and I was playing on the internet, and computer games, and sleeping, and watching some television. Wow, what a great excuse to come up with why my flying "A" average crashed into the earth today in my COMM1 class.

I always read about finishing strong. And today it has a renewed sense to me. I have worked very hard, well I have successfully turned in on time every assignment, until today, and put forth effort on my past tests and a had a good grade. But one slip, one false step, one "D" and now my A is a B-. Or even worse, a C+. Ok so lets say your not a 3.0 student. Lets say your content with writing substandard papers and just complying your way thru the course. Even at that level, you must continue to exist at the same rate you started to carry that grade thru to the end of the semester. If one does not finish strong, then all the efforts and all the endeavors they put into what it is they are striving for become cancelled out. Look at my english class. I hope I can learn from this life lesson.

Date:2003-02-17 13:43
Subject:What is my identity?

This is a question that I have pondered recently, and a few things came to mind:
* When one comes to Christ, He gives you freely an identity in Him. A new life, finally a purpose and a reason, and a better understanding in many regards, to the world one lives in
* When one goes back into the world, the world trys to suck the new identity out of him or her, conforming him or her back to the worlds (standards, values, beliefs, etc.)
* I always thought living the ministry life, in the bubble of the safe haven of the ministry just wasn't real life. But to those people, that live there IT IS. And we can just allow God, to live within us when we leave the safety of the place where God first met us, GOD COMES WITH US
* It was a mistake and I regret it, How many times have you said that? For me its far too many to count; the good news, the road to Christ was paved with mistakes. That was the only reason I came to Him in the first place was because I lost the desire to live, death would have been relief from the pain I lived in, (when I was living by my warped standards and belief systems).
* It took me falling away, realizing my human incapacities, coming to a place where I was empty before I could truly be FILLED.

When I got home, I looked down and saw a thick layer of dust on my brand new shoes. It did not bother me, rather, it comforted me, because I knew where I had been.
-James Anthony

Date:2003-02-17 13:35
Subject:Enchanted Valentine

Imagine the perfect Valentines day
And picture if you can...
Perfect situations, and magical incantations
A dream of every woman and every man...

A full moon bright in the sky that night
A meal fit for a king...
Closeness and gentleness under the starlight
A gentle kiss, a granted wish, against the backdrop of a serene river scene...

Two people with one purpose
And be true to it, till the night ends...
Holding hands and moonlit glances
As inside their hearts and memories transcend...

Imagine, for but a moment
Resting your hands in warm embrace...
Imagine that your dreams of the sweetest Valentine
Are revealed right in front of your face...

This night has happened for me
And thinking back, I feel so blessed...
An angel held my hand that night
I felt the tenderness of her caress...

And this Valentine night to remember
God blessed them with a sign, their own special tune...
He painted in the sky that night
A perfect circle of ice crystals around the moon...

thinking of you...
James Anthony

Date:2003-01-07 16:29

The other night I found myself outside at 1:00 a.m. looking up into the night sky. I am 30 years old, and I am back in school at the local community college BCC, and working part time, and have no female companion to speak of currently, and really just had some questions for God. God why me? Why now? God why am I 30 and just now going to college, single, and seeming to not be doing what I want to be doing right now in my life? God why do I feel like I have settled for less? Why do I feel like life has moved on past me, and I am sitting, slowly dying?

God show me a sign? Show me a sign?

God said look up into the sky, at the stars the way they twinkle. God said look at the sunset that I painted for you today. God said

Date:2003-01-07 16:29

The other night I found myself outside at 1:00 a.m. looking up into the night sky. I am 30 years old, and I am back in school at the local community college BCC, and working part time, and have no female companion to speak of currently, and really just had some questions for God. God why me? Why now? God why am I 30 and just now going to college, single, and seeming to not be doing what I want to be doing right now in my life? God why do I feel like I have settled for less? Why do I feel like life has moved on past me, and I am sitting, slowly dying?

God show me a sign? Show me a sign?

God said look up into the sky, at the stars the way they twinkle. God said look at the sunset that I painted for you today. God said

Date:2003-01-07 16:29
Mood: cheerful

The other night I found myself outside at 1:00 a.m. looking up into the night sky. I am 30 years old, and I am back in school at the local community college BCC, and working part time, and have no female companion to speak of currently, and really just had some questions for God. God why me? Why now? God why am I 30 and just now going to college, single, and seeming to not be doing what I want to be doing right now in my life? God why do I feel like I have settled for less? Why do I feel like life has moved on past me, and I am sitting, as life is being lived all around me?

God show me a sign? Show me a sign?

God said "James, my son, the signs you desire you already see." "Look up into the sky, at the stars the way they twinkle. God said look at the sunset that I painted for you today. He said look at all the green lights I gave you as you were running late to class. James, the love you have in your heart, and the love you have from others is that not a sign? What about the very fact you are alive, and free, and not incarcerated which you deserved to be, is that not a sign? My son... the signs are all there, and I watch you go to sleep every night and hope that one day you will notice. One day you will see, all I have done for thee."

Thank you God

Date:2003-01-06 15:07
Subject:It seems I am now a Sunday Driver.....

I had a wonderful weekend of barbequeing, fellowshipping and sharing with friends more so like brothers at the city of refuge, in sleepy Okeechobee, called Dunklin Memorial Camp. It was a really inciteful time of reflection and introspection on where I am in life and where I am going.

As I drove home on I-95, the traffic seemed rather pleasant to me, actually considering the way traffic goes. I do realize that my mood was elated considering my weekend, and so the drive was more pleasant than it might have been otherwise. I had Santana playing in the background, the album Sacred Fire actually, and found it rather hypnotic.

Next thing you know, something catches my eye, like the glimmer of light off a chrome bumber of an old chevy, its my rear-view mirror and its someone flashing their bright lights from some ways back, and gaining on me quickly. I quickly glanced down at my speedometer and noticed I was travelling at 75 m.p.h. So I quickly pressed the pedal down to the floor and in an instant I was at 80 m.p.h. That was not good enough for the vehicle behind me. I found myself switching lanes on the two lane highway and being passed by a barage of cars all going 90-100 m.p.h. Was I going to slow, or were the other vehicles going to fast? Perhaps he was an organ donor, or even an organ recipient. Or maybe he was the president of a large corporation and my pace was slowing him down. Maybe he was about to become an organ donor and was trying to speed up the process by speeding down I95 at 100 m.p.h.

In any case, as I watched the whirlwind of vehicles whizz by me, I pondered my state of being. What circumstance or cause could provide enough validation for endangering every other driver on the road? What life or death situation was worth risking potential lives and causing numerous deaths to speeding so excessively?

In my ponderance of my own personal driving, I realized how much I actually enjoyed using the cruise control. While using cruise control I can stretch both my legs out at the same time. I can change cd's without having to focus on accelerator pressure. And you know what, while driving at a safe speed I noticed I was not overly concerned about running into someone else that was driving slow ahead of me. I am now offically a sunday driver. But you know one thing I learned from this little experience. Being a sunday driver may decrease your odds of being an organ donor!!!!!!!!


Date:2002-12-24 17:31
Subject:Christmas ~ The reason for the season
Mood: cheerful

Wow, just got done doing my last minute Christmas shopping. Loads of fun, now that its done. Funny isnt it? We wait all year for this holiday, then in the midst of the hustle and bustle, we can hardly wait till it ends. I found myself in an ocean of vehicles today. It was peculiar to actually have all my faculties this season, as I was driving from store to store, I noticed those around me. One was a couple companions to some degree, holding each other, as she was crying deeply on his shoulder. Why I wondered, but dared not ask. Then as I perused through the mall, I was startled by the shrieking scream of a woman exiting a clothing store, tiny daughter probably two in one arm, and shopping bags in the other. "Don't you run off like that again!!! I thought somebody stole you!" The girl sobbed as the mother dragged her along behind her like a rag doll. As I made my way home, its seemed like everybody around me felt like their errons and their shopping and their business was just more important than mine. I began to get frustrated, thats when I quickly put in some relaxing music to mellow me out, the Cocteau Twins actually.

So as I made my way home, and walked in the front door, peace filled my heart. Thank God, I'm done with this shopping. But why, I pondered am I happy the season is coming to a close, when the rest of the year, we talk about how fun next Christmas will be.

The answer came to me deep within me, like the steady rumble of a locamotive. We have all forgotten the reason for the season. We are so caught up in self, and gifts, and presents, and decorating and mistletoe and turkey stuffing and cornbread muffins that we lose sight of the reason why we are celebrating Christmas in the first place.

You see the focus to me seems to be more on the works, and on the gifts and on the exchanging and on the company and the parties and the elements surrounding the holiday, instead of the holiday itself.

Jesus Christ was born some 2000 years ago, in a manger. Innocent and blameless He lived an upright life, only to die a horrid death on a cross for you and me. Because that is just how great His love is for us. That is the reason for the season Christmas. . .not Kris-Kringle-Mass. But Christ-Mas.

I admit this very journal entry I am writing now applies to me. I am not free from this character flaw in my perception of Christmas. I do pray from the bottom of my heart, that I take not of what God revealed to me today. And remember when I am sharing, and laughing and eating tomorrow, exactly why I am able to do so. Why I am able to walk and talk normally. How thankful I am to have a family that loves me. And friends that care about me, enough to tell me the truth.

I will be the first in line, being the patriot I am to thank our men and women in uniform that are fighting for our freedoms abroad. And I will be one who will wave the red, white and blue, and the freedom to read, worship, speak, do the things I want to do, the freedom, soldiers we owe to you. The freedom to love and be loved, the salvation of my soul, knowing when I die I will be in eternal glory with my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. That I owe to Jesus Christ. Lord thank you this day for your love and your life. Thank you this day for your Spirit living within me. Thank you for dying for me. Thank you Jesus for living for me. And living in me!!!

Date:2002-12-21 11:14
Mood: energetic

Change begins......WITHIN!!!!!

Another Christmas God, another Christmas that I am single and without a companion to bring home to the family and share the season with. And why is that? Before I delve to deeply into a question I already know the answer to, why don't I begin by sharing just what two Christmas' ago were like. I woke up about 3-330 in the afternoon on Christmas day. My family had already done all the gift exchanging and all the opening and sharing of gifts. They were about to sit down and eat the Christmas turkey. Of course I was not hungry, I was still very bloated from drinking all night before. I had no appetite for anything other than maybe some vodka and tomato juice which at that time was the miracle head-ache remover.

I had no heart, no conscience about myself, I was basically addicted to myself. I was addicted to satisfying the desires of my flesh, I was addicted to James, Numero Uno. Honestly, at the time I really didn't even feel bad that I was late. What I felt most bad about was my headache. So the wheels kept spinning and I kept drinking, and drink I did. Straight into the ground, any meaningful relationship that I had in my life. And then new years. .. another drunken mystery night that I once again blacked out and do not remember really what I did. I don't think I got in any trouble because I did make it home that night. God help me. These were the events of my life leading up to getting help for my problems and addiction.

So where am I today? I will tell you. Today I wake up in the morning and I can honestly say I am happy to be alive. I used to wake up in the morning and run to the bathroom as fast as I could to throw up whatever residual alcohol and food were in my stomach from the night before. Sometimes my eyes would swell to the point of popping out of my head from the intense gag reflexes of continuous vomiting. And so the cycle wore on and on... Until I met Jesus.

That is something that even today I can not put into words as a step by step process. I came to the end of my rope. I came to the end of myself. There was no way but up. Thats when I heard about Dunklin Memorial Camp in the swamps of Okeechobee Florida. There I met Jesus probably for the first time in my life.

I realized some things right off the bat. I gave alcohol and drugs entirely too much credit for my screwed up state of being. For a long time, everyone around me that loved me developed passionate hatred for alcohol and drugs blaming them for the devastation of my life, and I let them. I encouraged it really, oh if it wasn't for the demon alcohol I would not have all these problems in my life. YEAH RIGHT. Take any bottle out of the hand of an alcoholic and see how positive the changes take place. REMOVING THE DRUGS AND ALCOHOL FROM THE MAN DON'T CHANGE THE MAN. AN INNER CHANGE INSIDE THE MAN, WILL REMOVE HIM FROM THE LIFESTYLE OF DESTROYING HIMSELF WITH DRUGS AND ALCOHOL.

Sounds quite simple doesn't it? Well its not simple to do, because unfortunately denial feels pretty good. It feels good to ignore life issues and shed responsibility. Thats why why we medicate in drugs and alcohol. But you know what is at the core of that abuse?


And that is why we continue in abuse. Watching the walls of our world crumble around us as we hit the crack stem or drink another bottle of MD20/20 or another quart of Old English 800. We sit with a fake smile on our face, as any glimmer of conscience fades as the creeping effects of alcohol slowly take away any pain we feel.

That very place in our spirit is where the healing needs to begin. Not at the bottle, and not at the pipe, but at the pipeline, that is the heart and the spirit of the man. INNER HEALING needs to occur, and God is the only surgeon that can do the job.

Back to my life today. I struggle with a serious drug and alcohol addiction that is no secret. But what am I doing with my life today? The greatest thing of all is the gift of life God has given me. He changed my heart from the inside out, in awesome ways, I will never be the same again. You see, I live sober today, I live with victory today. But I DON'T wake up in the morning and say "GOD, PLEASE HELP ME MAKE IT ONE MORE DAY, SOBER TODAY, ONE DAY AT A TIME." I DO wake up in the morning today and say "LORD JESUS, THANK YOU FOR ANOTHER DAY OF LIFE AND VICTORY IN YOUR SPIRIT."

You see my focus is not on my addiction, my focus is on my victory over the pain and woundedness that was within myself. My FOCUS IS ON THE LORD LIVING IN ME. I heard a wise man say one time, what we focus upon we feed, and what we feed grows. The best sermons are lived, not spoken. So I live today at peace with God. No longer in the selfish, self-centered, lifestyle that controlled my very being.

Do sober Christians have fun? Thats what I always wondered? I will tell you. Just last night I was at a bonfire party in Titusville, with 50-60 other men and woman and kids. Roasting hot dogs and marshmallows on an open fire under the brisk night sky. Listening to Christmas music and singing carols, fellowshipping with friends, and I even had the company of a beautiful christian woman with me. And the best part. Its the next day, I'm not hung over, I'm not broke, and I am not depressed because of something I said or did the night before. I have true life today all because of Jesus Christ. That is something I am thankful for.

When you are in your addiction, you are the problem. If the problem is you, the solution will not be in the same place the problem is. GIVE JESUS A TRY.

In His Service

Date:2002-12-21 10:06
Subject:All by myself...
Mood: groggy

Christmas is drawing near once again. Here I am, at a place in my life, at the culmination of the greatest holiday of the year. And I don't have anyone to spend it with. Well anyone in human form that is. Why do you think that is? Why do you think it is that whenever I find myself in a position of success, or good tidings, I often find myself alone as well. Why is that? I have been trying to figure that out all along. I have been wondering why that whenever I have a whole smoked turkey, or roast, or a bonfire function or a picnic or BBQ or some event in my life, I don't often have someone to share this event with. Why do I end up alone? God talk to me.

--> My son you are not alone, but then again you already know that. You are not at a place in your life yet that you are able to distinguish that sense that I am with you no matter what you do or who you are with. The fact of the matter is James that sometimes the people you are with, and that warm tummy feeling you get by having company, those people are not really with you in the first place. The fact of the matter is James, you have done more introspection in your life today, and who you are, and what you are doing here than you have your entire life. I want you alone in the physical realm right now. I am doing something good and something new in you. James, if you had a girlfriend, female companion around you all the time, as in times past, how much true, honest, introspection would you be doing? How hard would you actually be looking at yourself? How detailed would your moral inventory be? You see James, people like being around people in some way or another because it allows them to take a break from introspection. You don't have to look as deeply into yourself when you have someone else with you all the time you can critique and judge in your mind.

James that is why you are set apart, separated, you are where you are so you can focus on your relationship with God. I want you to be the best man you can be, and the best companion you can be when I do bring that special woman to you. But some deep, intimate, introspection needs to happen on your part first.

Why do you get uptight when your father confronts you on issues? Why do you get upset when your mother shares comments or suggestions about how you should do certain things? Why are you getting flustered even now, as you are hearing my voice speaking the truth in love to you? Those are some core issues you need to get some healing on James so you will be able to be an effective, fervent, minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ. As soon as you hand over the reigns again, we can get down to business.

Date:2002-12-20 00:17
Subject:Structure, Stability, Support
Mood: grateful

I was outside this evening watching the palm trees against the black sky and the full moon and bright stars, and meditated on just how beautiful it was to see the wind make the trees dance. No coins or video games. No bells or whistles. No blinking lights or sirens, just the natural peace of God at work, effortlessly as the trees and their limbs danced against the night sky.

I thought about the house, in the corner of my serene beach scene. My house stands strong, unaffected by the wind or the weather. Strong enough to withstand many variance of wind and breeze. But it occurred to me. The house stands with the aid of 4 walls and in those walls many many beams of wood. Many nails are holding those countless beams of wood which make up the four walls and structure that holds the house up strong.

I have yet to see a house standing with one support beam holding it up.

That made me think of my life. My life without the aid, and help and support of others that love me and care about me and encourage me and exhort me. Some of the things I have been learning as I have been walking with the Lord is that the more open I am with those that love me in both sharing and receiving the stronger I become inside and out. This life walk is not a battle that I am excited to face alone. And I know by the visual picture in my mind of a roof, standing by one beam in the center holding it up, would not be a pretty sight. It would surely not be dancing like the palm trees against the sky. It would tumble and it would collapse at the first strong wind.

That is what my support system is like around me. I have friends and family that are around me, that love me and care about me. They are the four walls of my house. They are the support beams that make it strong. God and his Spirit in me are the windows in my house that enable me to look out the window and see the serene beach scene. Without God in my life today I have no idea where I would be.

I have yet to see a house standing with one support beam holding it up.

Thank you Lord for those I can lean on in times when the winds of trial blow strong. And thank You for enabling me to be that same support beam for others in their time of need. I know that the wind will blow, but I know who is greater than the wind...

Date:2002-12-18 19:58


I am one of those people who loves heart-felt quotes. I like quotes because someone else said it best first. So I learn from others, and I quote wise ones before me when the situation calls. One thing I do not enjoy is the played out, applies to everything, "cliches," that have crippled our English Language and given everyone a crutch for communicating without, thinking creatively today.

One of these cliches, however, that has grabbed my attention lately, is this one. "You can't see the forest, for the trees." I have heard it a thousand times, maybe more, but today, this day, it sounded different then ever before.

I was at a Christmas party the other night. It was a Christian social, with all varieties of people from different walks of life. I was happy to be there, and to be honest, I knew it was an "Christian Adult Singles Function," and the fact of the matter is part of the reason I went was the remote possibility I might actually meet someone interesting that evening, and there was going to be food and desserts there.

I arrived at the party, and I scanned the room carefully, seeing if any potential bachelorettes met eyes with me, stopped what they were doing, and ran straight at me to jump into my arms. Well that did not happen, surprisingly. It was probably ten minutes before I shook my first female hand. So already, MY gameplan and MY agenda was not seeming to go the way I had planned.

Maybe it was a buger hanging from my nose, maybe I had some of that dry skin you can't feel, that lingers on your nose or cheek, that everyone can see, especially after you shave. Maybe my hair was out of place, maybe my tie was crooked. There was too many red-flag concerns to delay any longer so I quickly made my way to the bathroom. To my surprise, there was no buger, no dry skin, no hair out of place, and my tie was straight. So what was it that was keeping people from approaching me? Thats when a revelation came upon me, like a school of birds approaching and flying overhead.

I spent so much time focusing on meeting a woman, so much energy on looking for someone to meet, I did not even notice the 50 people standing around me all along. There were some by the door, some by the food tables, there were people by the drink table and others by the fireplace. But my focus had changed. Instead of looking for a woman that was attractive I began to look for someone to share myself with, someone to talk to, someone to share Christmas with. I began to look for someone to share what Jesus meant to me.

Before I knew it, less than a minute later, a woman walked right up to me. "Hi, my name is Brenda, I'm from Titusville, how are you tonight?" The conversation progressed quickly, and before I knew it I was making a new friend. Thats when God spoke directly to my heart.

I began to share about my life before Christ. When all I lived for was myself, and partying and living in the fast lane. The empty, shallow man that hurt everyone around him, especially his family. Thats when her heart opened to mine and she shared about her son, 16 years old, and killing himself with alcohol and drugs. Grief filled her eyes as she shared with me, openly and uninhibited. She began relating to me some painful memories that reminded me of my troubled past. At that point, I was literally directed from the inside out to share the HOPE of Jesus living in me with Brenda. Where I came from, where I am in Christ, and where I am going in Eternal Glory. I could see the dark clouds in her eyes and the tension in her face begin to change. God was touching her heart and giving her HOPE. The same path to destruction her son is walking, I was entranced within.

You Can't See The Forest For The Trees

Are you seeing the trees? Or are you spending too much time like I was lost in the forest? God shared to me in this that no matter who you are in Christ. No matter where you are at in your walk with the Lord, God will put people in your path of life that you can minister to. Everyone of us is an able-bodied minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Now the question is, how willing and how able of a minister of the gospel of Christ do you want to be?

Are you going to focus on the forest or the trees? God tells me when my focus, initiative and my attention is placed upon Him, good things happen in my life. And good things happen in others lives around me.

My prayer today is that I spend a little more time focusing on the Lord whether I am amidst the trees or lost in the forest of my life. I thank you Lord Jesus for walking this walk with me day by day.

Date:2002-12-13 15:51
Subject:Do you want your words to be remembered? ~THEN THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK~
Mood: hopeful

I was watching a movie today. The Patriot with Mel Gibson in it. The movie is remarkable and memorable and i recommend it to anyone who hasn't seen it. Something stood out to me today. Mel Gibson and his character. Colonel Benjamin. When he said something, when he did anything, people were watching and the listened to what he said. With intensity from his children to the men he commanded in the militia. Interesting enough, the Colonel chose his words carefully. He thought before he spoke. On every occasion. That is something that most people do not do. Its almost a sad parody how much people love to hear their own voice. You know, there are very few people in my walk of life today that I would dare quote. How many people can you think of that you live with, that you might borrow a clever analogy or illustration that they have come up with or even borrowed from someone else? I can not think of any in my household. Fact is, they talk all the time, and yes there is meaning and significance behind their words. But they are only as worthy as their cause or message they are trying to convey. They are not quotes that I will take to heart or jot down on paper for a later journal entry or introspective discussion. Why is that?

Because today people spend far too much time talking and not enough time listening. And when they do listen or when they do quote someone else, think of from whence it came? It is usually from some 18th century colonist or even further back in time. Jesus is quoted more often than anyone I can think of in this modern age. And I know why that is. Because He had something meaningful to say. He wasn't talking all the time. And when he spoke people listened to Him.

You know I often quote people that have said something wise before me. The reason why is because they said it first, and I can learn from their folly. So using that equation, my generation, right now should be the most intelligent that ever lived. So if that is so, then why do we continue on quoting patriots and saints from our past? And not our fathers and mothers today?

Maybe our fathers and mothers today could think a little more before they speak, then when they speak, make sure that they are walking in the paths their mouths create. I think when we do that, as leaders in our communities, mayhap we will be quoted by our children, we will be role models they can look up to and be proud of. Maybe then people will actually listen to what we say with an endearing ear, and walk in the paths uprightly that we have walked before them.

Date:2002-12-13 01:00
Mood: touched

Have you ever taken a moment and contemplated your vision? Not your physical sight, nor whether your glasses prescription works anymore. Rather, your spiritual vision: Where your focus is and what you are focused upon. “Your Spiritual Vision.” Too often we spend more time focusing on where we came from and how difficult the road was and how tedious the journey was than we do where we are at, the sites and scenes we saw along the way, and the bright future that is to come. We get caught like a deer in the headlights looking at the brilliance of the Sunrise, and often times don’t appreciate the consistent light, heat and energy we enjoy all day. The same is true in the world beneath the sea.

It seems to me there are two types of fish in the ocean. There are those that eat other fish, and those that are eaten. I saw a documentary on the Discovery channel recently about sharks. I noticed something in the fish that eat other fish, the fish that are Pro-Active in the ocean and not Re-Active. Their eyes sit right directly in the front of their head. Looking straight ahead. Dead ahead if you will in the case of the shark. They are focused, and they are determined. The will stop at nothing to attain their goal. Then you have the fish that are eaten. So often they are more beautiful to look upon, and they swim almost thematically, but beyond their blank, awestruck, eyes, placed awkwardly in the middle of their heads is fear.

They are re-active to everything around them. The are constantly looking around, forward, backward, ahead and behind, looking out for their predators. They spend their lives basically in survival mode their only motivation is to not be eaten any particular day. They never really even notice or acknowledge their color, their dance as they swim, their beautiful harmony as they swim in schools magical to the eye. Their focus and their vision is primarily motivated and steered by that which happens around them. So how does one change their surroundings? Are relationships in your household on the rocks? Are things gloomy in your life today? Do you lack hope today? Do you want change to occur in your life today? Do you want change period?

I want to challenge you today to take the steps that we all must take for change to occur. I will take them with you. This is where we are going to start. Do some things different in your home that you do not normally do. Do the dishes or clean up after dinner or even help make dinner some night. Push a mop or a broom or take out the garbage. Make your bed in the morning and not let your laundry get three weeks behind. Get up in the morning and sit down and talk to God. Bring coffee and donuts in to work to share with your co-workers, un-announced. Open the door for someone, and hold it open for someone else. Tell someone you love, that you don’t normally tell you love him or her today. Tell someone that you are working on loving that you are glad they are in your life. Write a letter to that relative you’re not on speaking terms with. Pray for someone that hurt your feelings today. This is where we start. I promise you, I promise if you begin with these small steps, guess what happens? CHANGE!

Because what happened first, you changed your “Heart Condition.” Your heart condition changes because you are doing for others because you want to, not because you have to. And a heart condition is more contagious than the flu. As soon as your heart changes, as soon as you are PRO-ACTIVE, and take the steps to change yourself, your surroundings will automatically change!

Give it a try. What do you have to lose? Please contact me, let me know what happens. I can assure you this, CHANGE BEGINS IN OUR HEARTS, AND IN OUR HOMES. I heard a wise man tell me on time, “The best sermons aren’t spoken, they are lived.” Lets begin in our hearts and in our homes to live, to really live, as Christ lives in us.

my journal