The Want of Intimacy

I read a very good article on loneliness recently.  In it they defined loneliness as the want of intimacy.  I thought it was a great definition.

The article was both good and bad for me.  I would much prefer just to be depressed sometimes but it always seems to stem from the want of intimacy.  I have to guard myself with great pains to avoid trouble.  This leads to greater loneliness and depression.  The physical pain is intense.

Is there a solution to this problem?  There never seems to be.

The want of intimacy.  To share my life with someone.  What joy.  What joy.

So I purchased a book titled “The Path of Loneliness” by Elisabeth Elliot.  It has a lot of good in it.  It is difficult for me to receive any of it.  I almost highlighted text early on but refrained.  Then this morning I had to underline some text from the book.  [It isn’t available on Kindle so I had to get a paper book.]

It is possible both to accept and to endure loneliness without bitterness when there is a vision of glory beyond.

My question was “How?”.  When there is a vision of glory beyond.  How do I get there?  How do I see that?

There is no false intimacy that can fill the void.  And I do not know how to fill it with the love of God.  And I do not want to claim loneliness is a gift.  And even though it is a gift, I do not want to be thankful for it.  I do not even know how to be thankful.

If I say I am unlovable, people want to fight to the death to prove this statement false.  They define love broadly not really understanding (or wanting to understand) the truth of my statement.  The want of intimacy is not the same love you want to tell me I have.  

And this loneliness is a gift.  Being unlovable is a gift.  Thank you Lord for the gifts.  Help me to see the glory beyond.

A Glimpse of Heaven

I do not know what the truth is but typically people imagine First Baptist churches in America to be suit and tie churches. First Baptist Nederland has this feeling to me. This feeling has a way of pushing people who are not suit and tie people away.

Several years ago, I was in a Sunday School class at First Baptist Nederland. A couple (Kevin and Rachel) walked in but it was clear they were not First Baptist people. They were wearing nice clothes but they did not really fit the mold of a First Baptist person. Rachel had a star tattoo behind her ear. There were probably other tattoos that they had hidden since they knew they were going to a First Baptist church.

When they walked in, God said to me “Those are your people.” I watched everyone greet this couple. “How are you?” “What is your name?” “Where do you work?” As I watched this, I knew that was not what this couple needed. I kept thinking “Someone talk to them the right way!”. And I kept hearing the words “Those are your people.” in my mind.

I was afraid and so I did not get up and talk to them at the beginning of class. We started class, prayed, and the lesson began. I am sure I paid attention to the lesson on some level. I may have even participated but I kept hearing those words “Those are your people.” So I began preparing myself. I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do but I knew God was talking to me and those were my people.

The lesson ended. We prayed again and class was dismissed. I jumped up and walked over to the couple and introduced myself and did the exact same thing everyone else had done – made small talk.

I went home after church that day and cried at my failure. I prayed all week that the couple would return the following Sunday. Yet, I knew they would not return because they were not First Baptist people. I prayed for them for weeks. I pleaded with God to forgive me for not talking to them the right way and to send them back. He never did. It was a painful lesson to learn.

The first night in Niamey, we were taken to a church. Anthony was asked to give the message. We arrived and I just sat there watching them worship our Lord. I was exhausted from traveling and did not understand the words being spoken but I knew the worship was authentic.

I’m not sure when but at some point either during the worship or during Anthony’s message God gave me a message for the church. I sat there a bit confused. I tried to talk myself out of it but I kept remembering other times when I failed to listen to God. Eventually I told myself that I had to say what God wanted me to say. I tapped the pastor on the shoulder. Luckily he spoke some English and I told him I needed to say something to the church when there was time.

He nodded and I waited. Anthony finished. They did a few more things and then he called me up. I was scared but had to do this. I got to the lectern and thanked them for the glimpse of heaven they had given me. I then read Revelation 5:11-12.

Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels in a circle around the throne, as well as the living creatures and the elders. Their number was ten thousand times ten thousand—thousands times thousands—all of whom were singing in a loud voice:

“Worthy is the lamb who was killed
to receive power and wealth
and wisdom and might
and honor and glory and praise!”

I thanked them again for the glimpse of heaven and sat down.

They continued on with announcements and then more worship. Then the worship leader thanked me for my prophetic word. A few minutes later the pastor leaned over and thanked me and told me it was a good prophetic word for the church.

I was exhausted so I wasn’t really thinking at the time but after some reflection I realized that it was a prophetic word for that church. That is interesting because I have never really thought about having prophetic words. For me it wasn’t really about anything other than being obedient. God had given me something to say and I had to say it no matter what. I did not want to fail my Lord as I had in the past.

He Will Strengthen

I have struggled to read my Bible for a few weeks.  I have been bouncing all over.  Yesterday was Philippians 1 and part of chapter 2.  This morning I went to continue Philippians 2 and could not.  Because of my sin, I knew I needed to be in 1 Corinthians.

I started in the beginning.  I just highlighted things in the first few verses.  The first thing I noticed was “their Lord and ours”.  Obviously I have read this many times but I could not remember having seen those words before.  I am not even sure why they were brought to my attention at this point.  [I’m writing this just a few moments after reading the first few verses.]

The next thing that hit me was “He will also strengthen”.  I wondered why He has not strengthened me.  My journal from earlier in the morning says “That’s how I am supposed to go to You.  Broken.  Here I am Lord!  Broken!”

Just a few words later it says “God is faithful”.  I found that interesting as well.  Yesterday I stated that I did not believe His promise and yet I knew He was faithful.  And here God is telling me that He is faithful.  I could scream “Help my unbelief!” if I thought it would help.

Someone I know is dealing with a serious issue in their life.  This has lead them to drinking.  I found out yesterday but there is not much I could do to stop their drinking.  This morning I was thinking about them and realized that I too had abandoned God for my own devices.  I was slightly disappointed in them when I found out but I was even more disappointed in myself for not seeing clearly my own sin, the log in my own eye.  Now I wonder how I can use this to help us both escape and run towards God.

The pain has been intense.  Yesterday part of my reading was being concerned about the interest of others.  How do you do that when we are selfish creatures?  I do not want to be concerned with others.  I want someone to be concerned with me!  Feel this pain of mine.  Be in pain with me.

Job 2:13 – Then they sat down with him on the ground for seven days and seven nights, yet no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his pain was very great.

They saw his pain was very great.  I sit here and think about that.  I am blind to those who are sitting on the ground with me.  How great is the blindness.  I must remember.  I must pray to have eyes that can see those sitting with me.

I know there is much more to be said.  Much more to be discovered but I want to stop there for now.

No Post

I began a post and had not saved it yet when Chrome crashed.  I guess it was not meant to be read.

Do I have to write an entirely new one?  That’s such a bummer.  It was called “No Direction” because I don’t have any direction today.

I am just waiting and waiting.  I’m normally really good at that game (really good) but days that involve traveling I am not as good.

So what am I doing?  Listening to “We Built This City” by Starship.  You remember that song?  I think my father liked that song.  I do not recall exactly.  

This leads to serious YouTube problems.  Songs from those days.  They show up and I have to play just one more.  And still it is only 6:40ish.  Here we go…




Grace.  This word is by far the best word in my life.  The kids know what it means to me.

Earlier this week I was in a one-on-one Bible study with someone when grace came up.  I talked about those moments when I have been overwhelmed by His grace.  It leads to a time of worship like no other in my heart.  These are the moments that I wish could be shared with those who do not know His grace.

Then yesterday during men’s group, one of the men said he wasn’t sure he really understood grace.  I am sure he does not understand it.  I suggested that he study grace.  He looked at me and said something like “I wouldn’t normally do that but you said it with such conviction that I will.”

I suggested we study grace in our group.  They said we would start when I get back from Africa so I looked up a few books.  One of the books I found was titled “Charis: God’s Scandalous Grace For Us”.  Ericka saw it and questioned it.  Normally scandalous is used in a negative connotation which threw her off.  But God’s grace for us really is scandalous.  I know I do not deserve it and yet I have it.  It is unbelievable.  It is scandalous.

I didn’t buy the book.  I have to finish one of the books I am already reading.  I am so tired.

Yellow Daffodil Rising

This morning was different.  The new business I am opening (Wreck It Room) was on the news.  James Ware came and did three live shots.  I was there but not on camera.  I had several people tell me that as soon as James destroyed a few things and turned to the camera, you could see the fun he was having.

I think the business is good and people will enjoy destroying things to relieve stress.  Or maybe even just for fun.

It was a long morning waiting for each spot.  I got to leave and fix a server.  My client’s server would not turn on and I had a T110 power supply in my office.  I think God gave me an extra T110 server a few months back for this specific purpose.  I am thankful that God does this.

There was more work to be done and then I tried to take a walk since I had missed it at my normal 5:30am time due to the TV crew coming.  Instead I got an invite to lunch which I accepted.  I had not seen this person for a few months so it was good.  Back to work.  A quick bank run.  More work.

Genesis 17 with Ericka.  We have been having short and long discussions over the Bible.  We had completed several shorter books and decided to tackle this one.

On my way back to Wreck It Room, I was told about a message on Facebook from someone.  I found out later that they had 90 (ninety) TVs for us.  That is crazy.  We have not even had our first customer yet.  The customers will come.  At least that is what I have been told.

Thankfully I get to leave Wreck It Room early.  I get to my driveway and what have my neighbors put to the street?  Another TV.  I often wonder why God does that for me.  It is such a blessing.  I read just a few days ago in Psalm 146 – how blessed is the man whose helper is the God of Jacob.  How blessed indeed.  I often wonder if there is anyone as blessed as me.  God is just so good to me.

I suppose I should retire.  I guess I’ll do that directly.

Be Someone Else

I opened up the program where the writings for my book project are located yesterday.  I skimmed several of the chapters I had written.  I remember those stories and the feelings but I realized I was not that person any more.  It was almost surreal.  Almost.

What could have possibly changed me?  The same thing that changes us all – time.  But even deeper than that – grace.

One thing I noticed in the stories was the self-loathing.  I recounted the depth of that hatred.  It was a deep seeded hatred going back decades.  I still have some self-loathing in me (no doubt) but it does not feel so strong.

Does that mean I am close to a breakthrough?  Or did I already breakthrough?  Or does it mean something else?  Or does it mean nothing at all?

Several times over the years I have reread parts of my journals.  Each time I remember seeing the change in me over time.  It was an interesting process but I had only seen the change from a specific point of view.  This was an entirely different point of view – from the negative side.  It has really fascinated me.

The whole of man is defaced. Look at our memory; is it not true that the memory is fallen? I can recollect evil things far better than those which savour of piety. […] For memory graspeth with an iron hand ill things, but the good she holdeth with feeble fingers. –C. H. Spurgeon, The Carnal Mind Enmity Against God

One of my problems is my memory.  Specifically, I hold on the the bad things and never remember the good.  In this instance, however, it seems as if the bad (self-loathing) is being let go of.

Now I wonder what it means for my book project.  Or any of my writing.

Idle Hands, Empty Words

I was asked earlier this week about my book.  I informed the person I was no longer writing it.  They told me I should pick it back up.  They told me to write about my depression and God’s grace.  I suppose those are two topics I am familiar with.  I would love to write professionally.  I love words.  I love placing them and arranging them so that they evoke feelings, even if they are just my own.  Words are powerful.

Sadly, I feel myself incapable of the task.  And probably more so, unwilling.

A few weeks back I read a brilliant math article.  I was just enthralled with the ideas in the article and wanted to be a math nerd.  I wish I could share this desire to the full extent.  I downloaded a book on Calculus that I have acquired a few years ago and began to read.  I finished the first page and realized I would never become the math nerd I desire to be.  So I removed the book and abandoned the idea.  I knew it was for the best.  I have an entire mind map devoted to dead ideas.  I can’t even get my Greek studies back on track, how will I get math studies started?

How will I write this book?  If I did, who would read it?  Why would they read it?  What is the value of it?  Of books there is no end, right?

I opened up some old words I had written.  Words from March 2014.  I will share a small paragraph.

I am sure you would like some uplifting word.  I can give you all the words of encouragement you need bar none.  But we do not need encouragement.  We need desperation.  I’m going to give it to you the only way I know how right now – with words.  I will tell you stories of the people I love.  The story of “A” who is lost in her own lasciviousness.  The story of “B” who is lost in laziness.  The story of “C” who is lost in worldliness.  The story of “D” who is lost in anger.  The story of “E” who is lost in hatred towards God.  The story of “F” who is lost in anger and needs love.  The story of “G” who is lost in people.  The story of “H” who is lost and doesn’t care .  The story of “I” who is lost inside cultural Christianity.  The story of “J” who is lost in life.  The story of “K” who is held captive.  The story of “L” who is in bondage.  The story of “M” who is lost in depression.  The story of “N” who is lost in a fake life.  The story of “O” who is lost in drugs.  The story of “P” who is also lost in drugs.  The story of “Q” who is one of countless more people in need of prayer.  Prayer that I cannot give or fail to give or tire of giving.

The most telling part of this for me was the last line.  Prayer that I cannot give or fail to give or tire of giving.  It gives me chills.

There is so much more from that one page (882 words – the program counts them for me).  I imagine that writing will reduce my idle hands.  I have that project I want to do next year but I surrendered that project already.  Maybe I could modify it in some way.  I need to think about words and my Greek lessons again.  Maybe I can pray God pushes me back into it.  Sadness still rules.

You Were Darkness

I have an unpublished post titled “Words of Darkness” that I began and have not been able to complete.  It is 212 words so I could probably post it as is but there is no completeness to it.  I have the words of darkness.

As I read Ephesians yesterday morning, I got to chapter five and realized how verse eight had been opened up to me months ago.

for you were at one time darkness, but now you are light in the Lord

If Christ has not saved you then you are darkness now.  When I was darkness, I did not feel like I was darkness.  But now I am light in the Lord.  I am not light out of the Lord because without Him I am darkness still.  But with Him…

There is no good apart from Him.  I am quite cognizant of this.  Aware of my total depravity.  Trying to hold on to the knowledge that I am holy in his sight.  It is not an easy thing to hold on to.

I have a new project I started yesterday.  I like this project but it seems like a difficult one to complete.  I decided to begin it and thus try to complete it.  If I give the project a probability of success, does that mean I am dooming it to failure?  It seems so.

Normally God gives me the designation for my years in October.  This year of prayer has been a learning experience.  One I will continue forever.  I have been trying to decide if I thought it was a successful year.  It does not feel successful but I do not think this can be determined without reflection from a future point in time.

But what about next year?  I think it may be the year of God’s Word.  We shall see.

He Chose Us

I disconnected yesterday.  It actually started Wednesday evening.  I turned off WiFi and the phone.  I spent much of the morning doing different things.  I tried to pray, meditate, read the Bible, and I read a few sermons too.  I ironed my clothes, ate food, and hit one of the trees in the back yard with a machete.  No worries about email or texts.  I turned on the TV mid-afternoon since it will not notify me of any form of human contact.

I turned WiFi and the phone back on this morning.  I did not miss anything.

As I walked the block this morning, I saw people waiting for some stores on Boston Ave to open.  I wonder what sort of “Black Friday” specials they have to create a line at a local shop.  I do not wonder enough to look it up.  I was planning on reading Ephesians since it can be completed while walking the block.  I did not get very far.  I have not been very far in my prayers lately either.  It feels so dark and empty.  The dark cloud lifted to some extent a week ago.  Not enough to begin counting.

How far did I get in Ephesians?  I’m glad you asked.

Ephesians 1:4 – For he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world that we may be holy and unblemished in his sight in love.

I read that over and over.  Stared at it with thoughts and without thoughts.  He chose us.  In Christ.  Before the foundation of the world.

That means he gave me grace with grace.  Yesterday I felt a few moments of grace.  It did not last.  I cannot even feel it this morning.  Looking at the words do not evoke any feelings.  I have not felt alive in an amount of time that seems infinite.  That could very well have been counted from the moment yesterday.  Time feels eternal without grace.  I ask how I could get it back but only God gives us this.  I think I am desperate but I do not even know what that means.

Before the foundation of the world.  Interesting words.  Does he really mean that?  What kind of grace is that?  Is that a grace that can be understood?

I asked myself this morning (and many other days), “why me?”.  There was no good reason to give me grace.  And I squander it constantly.  The time He gives me.  The money He gives me.  Squandered.  I do not know how to stop.  He gives that ability too.

You see that He did this that we may be holy and unblemished.  They tell me His blood covers me.  They tell me His grace is sufficient.  Still I do not feel holy.  But it says “in his sight”, holy and unblemished in his sight.  Not my sight.  Not your sight either.  In his sight.  Can this be true?  The Bible says it is true.  Holy in his sight.  Unblemished in his sight.  And he decided this before the foundation of the world.  He knew I would be one of His elect.  He knew I would fail miserably at serving Him and He still chose me.  Grace.

What is this thing?