I’m Trying . . . But it’s Not Enough

I let go of your hand and let the torrent of life take me along. I figured we’d meet again somewhere downstream, right?

I let go, and you kept on calling. Running after me. I told myself it was ok… so long as I could see you, so long as I felt you near me… So long as I did good works for others and for the church… So long as I heard you inside my mind I knew I was anchored and I could return.

Just today, I need to do this.

Sorry, I don’t have time to pray.

Oh no! I will be late for work, I guess no devotional time.

I was wrong. I want to go back. Take me home, because I’m terrified of what I’m becoming. I know you’re there, and you’re still reaching out for me. But now I’m too weak to even go halfway. I can’t. I’m trying to raise my hand… But I can’t.

Please…. save me

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For Those of Us Who Wait

God never fails to come through for me. I’ve been revisiting some of my entries from the Journal category…entries that just bare my heart open to the world, and I see how God has guided me in the past.
If you are waiting for an answer to God, remember that we all have to go through the discipline of delay. Hang in there.

My waiting continued an extra year after I wrote this entry, but he guided me in that year and manifested himself in my life in the most powerful ways. Looking back I connect the dots and I SEE how his plan played out.

Now I have a job doing what I love most in the world for a Christian organization, I count myself as one of the most fortunate people in the world. It is my passion spent on what matters most: God’s work.

I had to wait, and work, and live though so much. But was it worth it?

Yes. It was.

Tree

I am waiting for my laundry to be done.

To distract myself and take a break from these myriad household tasks I check my email for the twentieth time today. You see, while I’m waiting for my laundry to be done, I’m also waiting for word about a possible job opportunity.

But . . . there is not a single new message in my inbox. Nothing—not even those emails from WordPress that I like so much.

The timer goes off—it startles me, and then I remember that the laundry is now done. Well at least there’s one less thing to wait around for. I go with my laundry basket downstairs, and as I fold clothes and pair up socks I glumly think about my life and complain and whine in my head to my ever-constant companion.

Father, this waiting is maddening. One email, one phone call, one reply is all…

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Story of the Month: Paula Perez

Hey check it out! A chapter of If You Only Knew was featured at River Ram Press as Story of the Month. Awesome! and Thanks the RRP for featuring it and Ms. Alban for the lovely illustration. 🙂

River Ram Press #InspireWriters #InspireReaders

SOTMonth Header October

Zuri_illo

With falling leaves and hot beverages we welcome the month of October- featured this month is a touching piece by Paula Perez entitled “Zuri”. In this short work, we view a very thoughtful interaction between the antagonist and Zuri, the story’s namesake. Part of a larger work, please enjoy this excerpt. To read more of Paula’s work, please visit her blog, Tree.

To read the original piece, click here.


Zuri

By Paula Perez

Wednesday found me once more on my way to prayer meeting. As usual, Zuri asked me how my day in school had been, what interesting new books I was reading, and how my cousin’s health was. We lapsed into silence after that, because it was obvious that I did not want to talk, and Zuri was one of those rare adults who didn’t take that personally. She left me alone with my thoughts and  cheerfully navigated…

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We Were Made to Worship

I have started a new blog. it is on the production of a church service–mostly focused on the visual media aspect. Join me there too!

If visual media is not your thing–worry not! I wrote an introductory entry on the importance of worship. We all could use a reminder now and then 🙂

Church Visual Media

“ You are worthy, O Lord,
To receive glory and honor and power;
For You created all things,
And by Your will they exist and were created.” –Revelation 4:11

Someone once said that we were all made with the inherent desire to worship.

We can worship ourselves. We can worship money, sex, power, fame–all of them gold and silver idols of our own making–or we can worship God.

If we choose to worship Self or any of those little man-made idols, then we are curved within ourselves. We may develop physically or mentally, but are–in a sense–emotionally and spiritually stunted. We are incomplete. Letting God take the throne of our lives is more for our sake than His because in him we find fulfillment. Worshiping the one whom we were originally intended to worship lets us achieve spiritual clarity and our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual selves grow and develop…

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Alchemy

I am thy servant; give me understanding, that I may know thy testimonies… I love thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold. Therefore I esteem thy precepts concerning all things to be right…  Thy testimonies are wonderful: therefore doth my soul keep them

Psalm 119:124-129

Sir Isaac Newton was a scientific man of prominence. He is credited with discovering gravity, inventing calculus, and making a great many other contributions to science. Yet for centuries a significant amount of his work and published material on a particular subject lay forgotten—so much so that few people know that for a time Newton’s interests veered from the scientific field to the obscure art that was alchemy.

Alchemy dates back to antiquity, and some form of alchemy or another was practiced by ancient civilized peoples, including the Greeks and Romans, the Chinese, Indians, and the Muslims—all of whom, through differing methods, sought the same end: transmutation of base metals into gold, the discovery of a panacea, and the ability to prolong life indefinitely.

But the prize was elusive, and though there are some tales of men who were successful, the validity of such claims is highly debatable. More often than not many an alchemist ended up much poorer than he began—if he was fortunate. Others, not fully understanding the substances they were dealing with, were killed, maimed, or blinded by fire while others were poisoned by noxious fumes or suffered horrific illnesses from tasting mercurial compounds (Newton himself narrowly escaped such a fate, though he did display sure signs of mercury poisoning[1]).

Wealth, health, and eternal life—mankind’s ambitions, discoveries, and pursuits through all time hark back to those three, explaining why even “kings, popes, emperors, and other notable figures” took an eager interest in the art.[2] And while alchemy has been debunked by modern chemistry, the relentless search for that which will satisfy the soul continues on.

The avowed motive of “true” alchemists was spiritual rather than material gain. They claimed that the ultimate goal was “perfection, not the gain of gold. They sought to prove that the figure of transmutation of the ‘base’ metals into gold symbolized the salvation of man” tangible proof—if you will—that the transformation of man into a holy creature was possible.[3]

This concept was not limited to the Christian alchemists. Wherever it was practiced, alchemy was linked to spirituality. Eastern scripts were full of accounts in which the successful transmutation of a base metal into gold inevitably brought about enlightenment.[4] Christian adepts claimed that because the process required such great patience, devotion, and humility the “self” died, and salvation was achieved. Indeed, it was a means of salvation and a sign of divine favor.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t think many people practiced the art for the spiritual riches that could be gotten. Few people, I’m sure, derived spiritual enrichment from the fumes emitted by foul-smelling and bubbling chemicals.

 It’s impossible—more so than getting gold from lead or iron—to draw closer to the heart of heaven by going off and living our lives in pursuit of our own goals. We can’t devote the majority of our resources and attention solely to our job, school, loved ones, and at the end of the day prop our feet up, check our Facebook, and finally go to bed with a sigh of satisfaction because we are nigh the gates of heaven.

The sophistry of Satan is deceptive, but God is much stronger, and he wants to give us wisdom and salvation freely. He blows away the confusion and all the noise that surrounds us and offers us salvation—without asking us to first perform a miracle. Let’s remember that although we have to lead our lives and meet our obligations, we must deliberately set aside time to draw closer to Christ, and ask for the salvation and the spiritual riches that he alone can give.

 


[1] Schwarcz, Joe. Genie in a Bottle. (New York: W.H. Freeman and Company, 2001) p.90

[2]Holmyard, E. J. Alchemy. (New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1990)  p.15

[3] Redgrove, Stanley H. Alchemy: Ancient and Modern. (New York: University Books, Inc., 1969) p.2

[4] Klossowski de Rola, Stansilas. Alchemy. The Secret Art. (London: Thames and Hudson, 1973)   p.21