Tag Archives: sin

Broken Reflections

James 1:23 “For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was.”

Over the last decade or more our society has experienced a breakdown in our humanity. Exposure to social media has revealed some great gains, but even greater losses. Communication, now in its peak since inception, is at best a misdirected attempt at coming together while forcibly, if not purposely, pushing each other away. We retreat into our “protected” technologically created shells to become an unrecognizable force fueled by media enhanced images of who we crave in the words of Shakespeare, “to be or not to be.” But, Shakespeare was correct, “that is the question.”

The recent school shooting in Florida has once again fueled the gun debate, creating yet another wedge between people of all race, class, age, region and religious or political agenda. People want to blame the POTUS, law enforcement, religion, races and AR-15’s. The real issues of desensitization, the demise of moral and ethical principles, lack of accountability and respect, and indoctrination through controlled media resources, agenda-themed music, and film still remain. Instead of coming together as a people in support of those grieving and mourning the loss of their loved ones, people choose to use the platform to ego-boost their opinionated ideas and agendas of how much things in this world would be different if we would do this, this way or not do that, that way. The reality is most of us are incapable of just doing the small things needed daily. The small niceties in a day that can cause a infinitesimal ripple in the present, later resulting in fantastic or all to often catastrophic outcomes in the future.

Today, while shopping in Walmart, I had the unfortunate opportunity of witnessing a ripple of irresponsible behavior. There was an older Caucasian, well-to-do woman, standing one person ahead of me in the “10 items or less” line. Directly in front of her was a father and son of Mexican descent, which was apparent by their facial characteristics, skin shading and traditional clothing. The woman was obviously annoyed by the fact that this father and son had more than “10 items or less”, and she had no intention of hiding her disdain or contempt. Firstly, she spoke brazenly with another woman standing behind her, making several remarks under her breath while noticeably glaring their direction. But then suddenly after a deep sigh and rolling her eyes back into her head, she stated aloud for all to hear, “I guess they can’t count!” The father and son looked her direction briefly, peered around, then hastily looked away. As I studied their faces I could see the sizzling sting of pain that comes with being ridiculed and singled out. Their body language displayed silent efforts to make themselves appear smaller so as not to draw any more unsolicited attention.

Now, the “ignorant” person will immediately make this whole observation about race or color or even counter-racism (if such a thing exists). But the truth is most of this dreadful display just solidified the already obvious direction our society has been headed in for a long time. I can not explain the barrage of emotion that washed over me in that moment. Sadness, disgust, and shock filled my body. What bothered me most was the impatient, vulgar reaction of this woman who was obviously part of the Baby Boomer generation. A generation known for their fortuitous tolerance mixed with the ability to express wisdom and knowledge that comes from a life of reflective existence. Instead, she displayed bitterness, hatred and inexplicable rage more than likely related to the over-exposure of mainstream media combined with a silver platter attitude in which she thought herself better than those around her. She even had the nerve to say something about “karma”, as if it had something to do with retribution undoubtedly she felt due to the man and his son. And all of this because of a possible 5 items over in the “10 items or less” line. (Some might say “well it is a ’10 Items or Less’ line for a reason”, however, is it possible that the man and his son did not even see the sign?) Maybe the man and his son were just trying to get a few things for their family from Walmart and in their haste were completely unaware of all the “turmoil” they had just “caused”.

In my astonishment I began to shake my head side to side unable to wipe the judgement from my face. The impertinence of this woman reconfirmed the reason so many outsiders look at America in disgust, scoffing at our elite self-assessment of who we think we are. Just then I heard a voice speak out, “wow, shameful behavior”. The resonating disappointment at the center of that voice momentarily stopped me from recognizing it was my own. I could not believe the audacity with which this woman conducted herself, because I knew she was capable of better. As much as I wanted to stand in the gap for the man and his son I could not lower my standards. Although it might have gratified my flesh, using some cleverly humiliating quip on the woman so she could feel the same sting the man and his son felt, I resisted. But the one thing I did do was pray.

I prayed for the woman to be released from the bondage of her pride. I prayed for the man and his son not to be bound by the embarrassing, dehumanizing example displayed by this woman at Walmart. I prayed for those around who may have witnessed the exchange and ignorantly sided with the injustice. But mostly I prayed for my loved ones and myself. I prayed we would not become so jaded in our experience with others that we would thoughtlessly discount who they are as fellow human beings. I prayed we’d remain humble remembering that not one of our lives are better or more important than anyone else’s. I prayed we would remember the example of unconditional love the Father left us through His son Jesus. Jesus epitomized this fact. And unlike Jesus we did not have to prove our unconditional love by sacrificing everything till the point of death. My final thought was a desire to at least try my best to emulate the gracious example left by Christ and to not jump so quick to judgement instead remembering the grace that had been extended over my once wretched life.

James 1:25 “But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.”

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Foresight, Hindsight, Eyesight: Dimensional or Demonsional?

Matthew 6:22, 23 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your vision is clear, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your vision is poor, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!”

It is said that the eyes are the windows to the soul. We all know this to be true if we have ever lovingly gazed into the eyes of another individual in close relationship or have dared to confront the eyes of those opposite us while in conflict. Even the act of looking directly into the eyes of others in conversation is a sign of respect or disrespect, depending on what side of the world you are from. In law enforcement officers are trained to watch body language when questioning suspects or witnesses, one of the focuses being the eyes, which have a hard time concealing their meaning. When we are stressed, over-stimulated or in a state of contemplation it is either natural or recommended for us to shut our eyes in order to bring a state of rest over our mental status and physical body. And the body, when exhausted, will naturally and almost immediately send direct messages to our brain which in turn tells our eyes to close themselves almost automatically. Ultimately, the eyes can be a direct gateway into our psyche, dreams and visions. So then why are we not more conscious of what we expose them to on a daily basis? I, myself am guilty of this very dangerous behavior.

Despite having a testimony, before Christ, of witchcraft, occultism and knowledge of the enemies methods of attack and bondage, when in sluggard-mode I can become complacent in the guarding of my eyes and the “things” that I allow into them. I fell victim to exactly this on a night after receiving some devastating news about the progressing illness of a close family member and allowing myself gratification while attending my own pity party. The attack manifested itself after this self-indulgence of the flesh, which in my case, heavily influenced by the eighties, resulted from a horror movie. Before salvation I purposefully exposed myself to many horror novels and books satiating my flesh to the sadistic sacrifices and blatant bashing of God and Christ that is oftentimes displayed in such films. (I am in no way judging or condemning anyone who watches horror films, but instead am exposing my weakness that led me to the choices that would eventually lead me into complete and utter darkness.)

As I skimmed through my cable channels looking for some sort of diversion from the overwhelming thoughts in my mind, I came across a movie that I had never seen nor had ever desired to see. The movie was the 2009 horror film Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, directed by Patrick Tatopoulos. Now some might say, why mention the name of the film, surely the experience is enough? And in some instances this may be true, but for this particular experience I believe that what happened to me was a direct result of my morbid curiosity combined with the desire to fulfill the need of my flesh to be served. I was angry and felt  slighted by the circumstances of life that had overtaken someone I truly loved. And so I decided to indulge, open my eyes and watch.

In the movie it became quickly obvious to me that this was a dramatization about vampires vs. werewolves, aka Lycans. As the movie progressed it revealed that there was a war between the two “bloodlines” and that the vampires had enslaved the Lycans, hence the title of the film. During a particular scene there were some Lycans fully transformed into their horrific, monstrously wolf-like forms, chained up to the walls in some dark, gloomy dungeon awaiting their victims. Ironically, as I sat alone on my couch, pupils fixated, watching in my dismal, somber living room, besot by the image of the Lycans chained to the wall, I verbalized a spiritual prognostication,

“So that’s what they look like,” (referring to the demons that are chained away in Hell awaiting judgement, 2 Peter 2:4). 

Shortly after the revelation, I could no longer watch the movie. I switched over to something less grisly, but then swiftly, suddenly and hypnotically fell into a deep sleep. I had not even realized that I was asleep when I started to dream. In the dream I saw my ill relative and my two grandchildren. My relative began to violently vomit on the floor. One of my grandchildren did not see it and stepped in it. When I grabbed them to rush to the bathtub to clean them off in water I was surprisingly transported back to the couch, only all the cushions had been removed and I was lying instead on the black material that laid at the bare bottom. Everyone kept walking by me as if I was not there. I was paralyzed and could not move or call out to them, even my vocal cords were in a state of suspension. No matter how hard I tried to move or speak nothing would happen, I was helpless. I had been here in this condition before but my numbness clouted my head. My body temperature rose and I began to panic as my senses recollected the familiar mode of fight or flight. 

Without warning the fold where the backside of the couch meets the bottom opened up and I could feel my body tilt as if on a slant. The smell of ash filled my nostrils and I heard unsettling sounds of fires burning and crackling. Intently listening, the sound of disturbed, guttural snarling opened a hollow in the pit of my stomach. I felt a large, heavily clawed grip holding tightly to the back of my shirt, ripping the material on the couch as it began to drag me down into the bowels of a place I knew I did not want to go. Terrified, I remembered my paralytic state, and knew I would be swallowed into a realm that nightmares could not conjure. My blood ran cold and my heart quickened and the gust of heat that arose abruptly dried the saliva from my lips. Until. I remembered. The name. The name that is above every name. The name every knee shall bow to…those in heaven…those on the earth… and mostly, those under the earth. The name that every tongue shall confess is Lord. My mind screamed out as I barely uttered the name of Jesus.

Instantly, the demon released his hold and sunk back into the unknown depths from where he originally emerged. As my eyes illuminated I could make out my surroundings and feel movement, fueled by the rush of warm blood, returning to my stiffened muscles. I must admit I was shocked to find myself still lying on the couch heavily breathing; the still lingering sensation of the fiendish grip on the back of my shirt beginning to fade along with the dreadful sounds of the underworld.

My pupils adjusted to the light of the television screen as did the understanding of my transgression. I confessed the open gateway of my pride to the Lord, asking for forgiveness and a hedge of protection for myself, those in the house with me, my family and our home. I thanked Him for His mercy and undeserved grace. I knew that once again my Savior had delivered me from my own stubbornness and vice. He did not forsake me. Never would. Then, came the revelation of what the Father had just realigned and restored. My vision. It had been shrouded by my three-dimensional sin, manifesting my fear, unlocking a doorway that God had purposefully shut, for the enemy of my soul to reenter through. Only by faith in the blood of Jesus and the power of His Spirit was I able to counteract the opening, closing it by way of the unveiling of the Father’s eternal, supernatural, multi-dimensional glory.

Psalm 139:8 “If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.”