Thursday, May 31, 2007


How many of you ever listen to the Christian radio station K-love? I only started listening about two months ago, in early April, but I've fallen completely in love with it. It's pretty much become the only radio station I ever listen to.

Odd, really. Before, I could never get into the newer, more modern Christian songs--what I suppose would be called contemporary Christian. However, I've found that there are some really very good songs out now-a-day. "So Long Self", "Shine", "Hold Fast", "Every Time I Breathe", "The Breakfast Song", "Give Me Words to Speak"... the list could go on and on. I'll be perfectly honest here, I think there are better Christian songs coming out today than there are songs of any other genre. At least I'm beginning to think that way.

I wonder how many people are actually saved, at least to some extent, because of the influence of listening to stations like K-love. I've been battling out a lot of stressful and frustrating things in my life lately, and I'll admit that listening to these songs has held me together, calmed me down, picked up me, and drawn me closer to the Lord. Whatever made me start listening, I'm glad I did. Maybe I just needed some good ole music in my life again. I don't really tend to listen to music very regularly--the mood to do so usually comes in spurts--but I know I'll definitely continue listening to K-love.

Do any of you ever listen? Let me know some of your favorite songs.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Everything Is Meaningless: A Chasing After the Wind

In the last couple of months I'll admit to having felt a little bit of a desire to just give up... on all things. I've tried hard to fix things in my life, and with little result, and I've been so very frustrated and disappointed with myself. I haven't honestly been too good to myself lately. I've been in despair--full of hopelessness. I've wallowed in self-pity and regret. I've wished for things to be so different, when sometimes things just can't be. Not everything can be changed. Although I'll admit that with God, all things can be. I'll never limit the power of God to change a life. However, it can be so hard trying to what seems to be no avail. There again, that's where patience can be a virtue. Waiting patiently for what you want can sometimes be so very discouraging.

I read a book by a man named Bob Blackford back in the winter. A friend had pointed it out to me and so I ordered it online, got it, and read through it in a flash. I couldn't put it down. The book was called "Heaven's Back Row". Anyone who gets a chance to read this book should. It's a tremendous testimony. But I will admit it is a somewhat sad testimony at that. It's one of the very few books that can actually make me break down in tears crying.

When I finished reading the book, I decided to email the author (His email address was given at the back of the book). He replied back to me, "Life is hard, but sometimes you get a patch of light. Keep falling forward, Brandon."

I love what Mr. Blackford told me. Life is hard. Of course we all know this. There are so many stumbling blocks to get in our ways. We all do things we live to regret. We all face challenges. We all struggle with something. Life is hard, beyond a shadow of a doubt. But whenever we feel that things can't get any worse, oftentimes we do get a patch of light--something that lifts us up and reveals to us that better days are indeed ahead. Things can't stay bad forever. But even if they do, we have a great hope that will shine upon us in our darkest of hours. We are given a hope from God that will pick us up out of the gutter and give us the strength to carry on. And when we get that hope, that strength, that patch of light, we pick ourselves up and continue along our way. If we are true followers of Christ, we will always move forward, trying to do God's will and obeying His ways. No doubt, we will always have our falls though. "Keep falling forward, Brandon." I think that's tremendous advice. In other words, don't give up. Keep on trying, no matter how hard things get, no matter how frustrated I get, no matter how hopeless I become. "Keep falling forward." I think I'll always remember that.

At times, I do feel that everything in life is meaningless. What's the point really to most things? Nothing in this world is incorruptible. Nothing is absolute. Nothing lasts forever. So, what's the point? Anything of this world worth chasing after is meaningless. It is a chasing after the wind--something that even if you ever do manage to grasp hold of, it will inevitably slip right through your fingers. The only real thing worth chasing after is a relationship with Christ. It's the only real thing that matters. Everything else is meaningless. That is, everything is meaningless without God.

I didn't go to church last Sunday morning. I'd been holding a grudge against God and a few others at my church for a few things, and I just honestly felt no desire at all to go. I ended up feeling bad about that decision the whole day through. I had also been skipping the Wednesday evening services as well as our Sunday evening services, both of which I had formerly attended regularly. I forced myself to go to our last Wednesday night service. And I'm glad I did go. The lesson was on a passage from Ecclesiastes. The lesson in general gave me that patch of light I had been looking for. I had been feeling so hopeless about everything. I was wanting to give up and just drift for awhile. Then I was reminded that my thinking was right, only if God was not in the equation. Well, God is in the equation. It's not all meaningless when I have Him in my life. It's all worthwhile. Life is indeed worth the living.

In the last month or two I do believe I've fallen quite hard. Not as bad as I could have, but certainly more than I should have. But I think I will continue to move forward. I'm sure I'll fall a bunch more times before all is said and done, but it's the goal that has to be kept in mind. "Keep falling forward." I think that's wonderful advice for anyone. Giving up and turning away never is the answer. And in our tiredness, God will always give us that patch of light so we can keep falling forward. He will never allow us to bare more than we can withstand.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Brotherly Love

There have been numerous times in my life when I've wished I could have been an only child. I've not always gotten along swimmingly with my younger brother. Today, however, was definitely not one of those times. Today, I cherished the fact that God blessed me with a little brother (even if he is a foot taller than me).

Despite whatever hold ups or ill feelings I may experience with him, and despite whatever differences of opinion we may have, I know he's there for me. I know he cares about me, and I know he wants to help me. I can rely upon him. Truth be told, he's probably my best friend.

We did everything together when we were younger, fought like cats and dogs half the time despite that, and that's never really changed as we've gotten older. The only difference is that we've learned to lean on each other more when facing difficult times, and we've learned to forgive each other more for the wrongs we've done to each other. We've learned to be brothers through and through.

I hope my brother knows how much I care about him. I know I've not always been the best brother I could have been--and there's no excuse for that--but I do love him. And I am glad God gave me a little brother. I've been blessed abundantly by having him in my life.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

All Work and No Play

I'm tired. Well, tired and frustrated. I'm not going to go on some sort of a rant or anything, but I will just say, "WHY CAN'T ANYTHING EVER GO RIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" It just seems as if I have no time for myself anymore, and nothing I ever do turns out the way I wish it would. I feel like I'm working all the time, or doing something for somebody, and I'm really just feeling worn out from it all. I haven't had a "me" day in over a month and a half now. I've felt tired, depressed, and lonely, and basically... no wait, I said I wouldn't go on a rant, so I'll stop there. Anyway, I really could use some extra praying for right about now. Well, that and some sleep. One or both would really be great actually.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Spidey 3

Okay, so I've never been a huge fan of Spider-Man, but I have loved the messages presented in all three of the Spider-Man movies. I just saw the third one last night with my dad, and I have to admit that I thought it was probably my least favorite of the three. It's a good movie, but not without it's faults. I won't get into all that, but I will discuss the message presented in that movie, as I saw it.

The overlying message was that "With great power comes great responsibility." In the movie, virtually every character is given some new power, authority, or prominence. What each one does with this new power determines the outcomes of their lives. Basically, they all choose to abuse their powers, and to do wrong rather than right. And in the end, some choose good, while others forcibly and eagerly choose bad. I felt that the movie really did do a great job of showing how in real life, we all have a choice in what we do. We can either run towards what is right and good, or we can plummet towards what is wrong and bad. To quote another movie for a moment, I love the phrase by the character Vesper Lynd in the newest Bond movie Casino Royale, "Just because you've done something, doesn't mean you have to keep doing it." That's so true. We are all given a choice in what we do in life. We can be good, responsible people, or we can be bad, irresponsible people. Our actions always have their consequences. Some consequences are good, while others can be so horribly devastating. And the biggest point is that it's never too late to turn back. All people are redeemable. We can always stop and turn back, before everything in our lives and in the lives of those around us is destroyed or ruined.

Probably the best thing about this newest Spider-Man movie was the ending--to see the choices they each made. I won't reveal those choices right now, for fear of giving away the ending for those who still haven't seen it, but it was very real life, and proved how turning back, forgiving, and choosing love over hatred can really lead you to a far better place than the other way around. We always have a choice in what we do.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Let God Be God

In the last two weeks I've heard this phrase twice, and from two different sources. I think maybe I misunderstood it the first time I heard it (at least to some degree), but the second time, it hit home somewhat.

I'm not God, so therefore I shouldn't try to be God. I don't have to have all the answers and I don't have to be (nor should I be) in control of everything. I find that it's when I try to do those things that I get myself into trouble. I either start getting really frustrated with myself, or with others. I also tend to become easily angered or upset, which is never a good thing. I worry and I struggle, and then I begin wishing and hoping that things were different. I become impatient, and the next thing I know, nothing's right in my life and I'm holding a grudge against God and everyone else I know.

I feel like I've done a pretty poor job of letting God be God in my life. After all, God's the one in control--not me. Thanks to Joyce Meyer I was reminded of this. She also helped me remember that "patience is a virtue". I'm such an impatient person so much of the time. I keep wanting to speed things up, without having to wait, and in doing so, all I ever do is make things worse for myself. That's where I should let God be God and rely on his timing for everything in my life. I should also rely on him to provide the things I truly need, and to have faith in him as my ultimate provider.

All this reminds me of the Exodus--when Moses led the Jews out of Egypt. They spent forty years wandering about in the desert, when the trip into the promised land shouldn't have even taken a full month. It was due to their wanting to do things their way, rather than God's way, which kept them in the desert that long. But then, it was also God's timing that was involved with all that. God wanted the Jews to be prepared for the promised land. There was reason to their wait. They had to be patient, and they had to rely upon God. They had to let God be God.

That's what I should do from now on--let God be God. Because the good Lord knows, I'm no good doing His job.