What Is Truth?

The purpose.  The truth.  The emptiness.

Absolutely futile! Everything is futile!  –Ecclesiastes 1:2

Oh that does not mean we do not live life.  Exist and do our duty.  Maintain some semblance of decorum in the world.  Of course we do those things.

If only I believed that right now.  If only I believed anything.  I’d say it was a selfishness I was holding on to but that would not be entirely true.  I would say it was a desire to destroy others and myself.  Who knows what I believe at this moment.  I am sure I do not know.

Everything really is meaningless.  Wisdom.  Pleasure.  Folly.  Toil.  Advancement.  Riches.  Oh, I could go on but Ecclesiastes really embraces it all.

I told someone a few weeks back that Ecclesiastes was not the best book when in this state of mind.  How true but it is one of the books I am drawn to.  I know I could distract myself for countless hours but that would be meaningless.  Life would still exist in this state.  I would do anything and nothing.  Anything and nothing.

I can see now the steps leading towards destruction.  They are in my mind.  Eating away at me.  They like to repeat the word “destroy”.  I hear you over there.  Seeking my destruction.  I remember.  I do.  And you see, I could achieve those things with very little effort.  Destroy.  Destroy.  Destroy.

The heart of evil.

You know I have heard the words “return to the breath” quite a few times the last few weeks.  I began two different podcasts.  One by my good friend (I do not really know him), Sam Harris.  And another about Secular Buddhism.  It has been an interesting learning experience.  The thoughts come into existence and then disappear.  Yes, so as I return to the breath the idea of destruction is removed.  The main point is there is no other thought.  All patterns are zero.  I have achieved zero before (many times).  I do not think I have realized I achieved zero while being zero.  Only after the fact.  Yet we are supposed to see this zero while experiencing it.  I have set aside time for this thought pattern.  It will be of great study interest.

There it is.  Destroy.  It was only gone moments.  Again – return to the breath.  It sounds all Zen, I know.  Zen.

As the “Zen Master” speaks, what does he say?  I suppose I will need to read a book or two.  But given the amount of introspection I do.  The focus of the mind that I maintain.  I can say that I can see the “truth” in the words.  I must say it that way to avoid specific feedback loops.  I cannot avoid them all because people do not typically know what words mean and refuse to evaluate them more than a single time (in most instances).  We accept the flow of life we are in and realize that it will come into existence and then disappear.  Yes, that amuses me.  Yes, I experience existence and disappearance.

Distraction was induced.  The desire to destroy is reduced.

Waves of Pain

I have a wonderful life.  I sometimes suffer pain from sadness, loneliness, depression.  I do not want or need your sympathy.  I do not want or need your suggestions on how to change my thought patterns (or anything else in my life) to avoid this pain.  Today I am documenting my experience from yesterday for informational purposes only.  Again, I do not want or need your sympathy.

I wake up and it is not instantly upon me.  It is there, deep in my chest.  I can feel it but the weight is not heavy.  I wake my son up so he can get ready for school.  I make myself busy because that provides temporary relief.  I drop him off at school and my head is under water.  I get to work and dread the schedule but God gives me enough strength to get to my first appointment.  I solve the problem and chat with the client.

I return to the office.  It isn’t so bad.  I remote into a few computers and begin to resolve more problems.  I am masking it now.  I know the difference in myself.  One of my employees walks in and I make a comment about having no friends.  It is difficult to avoid using words like this when the pain is so intense.  It was so painful I could not think properly.  I go to a meeting and I find it unlikely that I hid the pain I was in.  I eat lunch.  Just another short distraction (5 minutes or less).

The pain continues to crash upon me.  It won’t stop.  Someone drops off some money to me.  I try to act like I am not in pain.  But there is no telling what they thought.  I meet someone to go vote early.  They see the pain in me.  It is too severe to hide at this point.  I fake a smile for a picture and return to work.  Head to the bank to deposit the money that was brought to me.  Find out I did not count the money properly.  The mind was gone well before that occurred.  Return to my office.  A respite.  Even so brief.

Dad calls.  Wants to schedule a weekend with Blaine.  I barely have enough strength to have a conversation with him.  Why won’t he stopped talking to me?  Please Lord, make him stop.  Make them all stop.  The call is over.  I can focus on the pain again.

My daughter texts me about my plans tonight as if this socialite had plans.  Seems there is a movie she wants to see.  Then she arrives at my office.  Our dinner and movie date is schedule.  The pain continues.  I make it through the next hour at work, by the grace of God, only His grace gets me through.  I did not accomplish anything but I survived.  I pick up both my kids and head out to eat.  We arrive but wave after wave of pain is crashing upon me.  I do not hear the words they are saying.  I am barely holding myself together.  Holding back tears.  I remember three waves during the 45 minute dinner.  There might have been four waves but I’m not sure.  I do know that I finished my food in three minutes – Kristen timed me for some reason.

My mind, normally well ordered, is in disarray.  It has been most of the day.

We head out to the movies.  I was hit at least once by a wave of pain on our way.  Now distraction.  My daughter next to me, laughing, joking.  Another brief relief from the pain.  Yet it is quick to return.  We are not out of the theater yet and I can feel the wave building.  Slowly building inside me.  I drop them off, head home, and crash into bed.  Free from this last wave of the day.

Today begins…

I could have described additional points to yesterday but my mind still lacks focus so I will have to leave it at that.  Two weeks ago ended my 110 day streak of days without major depression.  I experience the sadness most days but those 110 days were probably the longest streak I have ever had.  At least I do not recall ever counting that high before.

I was just thinking about the focus on the pain.  I am wondering if that helps ease the pain or intensifies it.  If the Lord sees fit I will contemplate that today.

Gall of Bitterness

The gall of bitterness.  It runs deep.  It consumes.  Freedom can occur but slavery soon returns.  I wish I could pronounce its demise but alas that cannot be.

Last night I told someone how deeply they were loved.  They said I was too but I just could not see it.  I told them even if I was I reject it.  I do not know how I could be loved by anyone but God.  Who is man that I should trust in him?  I know man and I cannot put trust in him.  Bitterness mixed with knowledge and truth are dangerous.

I scoff at the idea that a person could love me.  Do not think a state of mind could alter this.  I tolerate the idea when in the best of moods but accept it gladly in the depths of despair.  Let us just ignore facts.  Let us ignore reality.  My heart “knows” the emptiness.  My soul knows the void.

I have been reminded of late of Shakespeare.

by sleep to say we end the heartache and thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to

It continues on of course.  Lovely words.

I read words for so many people.  I see you here.  I see them there.  But where are the words for me?  He brought THEM out of darkness but He seems to have left me in it.  Yes, there is a reason He left me there.  To be His light in that darkness.  What a battle.  Ahh, tell me again why He gives some strength that others do not have?  To each was given grace.  Grace, I tell you, grace.

The one thing, the only thing, grace.  All else flows from that.  It is much more than the common grace but a saving grace.

Every Thought

So often it feels like every thought in my mind is fighting against me.  Every one of them.

Take every thought captive, it says.  Make it obey Christ, it says.

I wake up with the thoughts swirling in my mind.  One after another.  Last night on my knees in prayer.  Expectant prayer.  Knowing I cannot do anything without Him.  My identity is in Him and still I fight.  This morning I wrote words about running away.  Where could I run from myself?  From my own mind?  Distractions during the day help but not enough.  Always in prayer.  Till the night comes and I ask for just enough peace to rest my weary mind.  Trusting in Him yet again for whatever I receive.

Waking up for no reason and again surrendering the thoughts to Him.  How often I surrender this way is upon Him.

I know when this battle really began, when He saved me.  It was slow at first but has grown over the years.  I have thought my mind was decently organized, not of my own doing but by His grace alone.  Yet it is far from where it needs to be.  Every thought captive.  At some point in the past (I’ll share my time thought pattern later if time permits), I realized that I could give up these thoughts to Him.  “Lord, this thought is not fitting a man of God, I cannot escape it, You must take it.”  Pride is the biggest one but desires of the heart is there too.  Along with many others.  I could be on my knees all day surrendering thoughts to Him.  And still they come.  Relentlessly.

Today, once again.  Here we go…

Time thought pattern – I was white boarding recently and I realized that when I store memories, I store them without reference to time (for the most part).  It is very interesting as I look upon the memories in this way.  So much in the past was as if it occurred only moments ago.  I attempt not to store great detail but that is not easy.  Data input is significant and the mind takes in much more than we could ever realize.  Yes, there is more but I do not want to write much longer.

We seek small victories today.  Victories in the Lord.  In Him Alone.  Knowing that He takes every thought captive for us.  He helps us each step of the way to manage all that we are so that we can serve Him with every fiber of our being.

Words She Wrote

I saw a draft post just now.  Words she wrote about me years ago.  I did not read the words.  I did not need to.  I remember them.  Part of it has to do with being all things to all people.  That’s love right?  Being all things to all people…

How else can you serve them unless you are what they need?

I’ll begin here with saying I have not fallen so do not fret.  I am trying to fall but I doubt I will be able to succeed.  I created a few scenarios of life.  I reminded myself, as best I could, that it matters not.  Scenario one was quickly dashed.  Scenario two equally dashed.  I may have just deleted the second one.  I do not recall if it was the second or the third.

I wrote the above two days ago.  I am still trying to fall.  Still failing.  *sigh*  Grace.

I wanted to read more this weekend.  I wanted to accomplish more.  I accomplished little.  I did finish a book but I was mostly done with it when the weekend started so it doesn’t really count.  I needed to think upon things.  I needed to pray for a miracle.  I prayed quite a bit.  I cannot accomplish the task set before me without God which has made me quite desperate.  But not desperate enough.  :/

I think about time and the future requirements.  So much seems like it needs to be happening soon and yet what?  Me.  Excuse.

Yes, I tell myself I need the weekend to recharge.  My mind does not always accept this idea.  Hmmm, does it ever.  I suppose.  I cannot hide from even my own intensity.  I scare myself.  I pray.  The mind wanders.  Back on track.  Off track again.  Align this.  Align that.

The eyes.  I wonder if they are really that color.

Many Explosions

Well last week I got a $5,000 grant from Best Buy – courtesy of God.  It was confirmation that I should move forward on one of my projects.  The manager of the local Best Buy stopped by with her husband to visit.  I’ll get a big check.  That will be fun.  Working on people to help with this.  There is a lot that will go into this.  My heart was bursting with joy because of all this.  I promise I fell on the ground and worshiped the Lord so many times.

Another business meeting this weekend to finalize employment and hopefully, eventually, partnership.  Looks like everything is on track still for January 2nd open but God will really dictate all that.

I found out dates for the trip to Niger and have approval from Kara to take the kids (one schedule to confirm).   I get to talk to the kids tomorrow.  Blaine wanted to go from the beginning and Kristen has wanted to go since we had lunch with the missionaries and their kids.  She loved their kids.  Hopefully they still want to go.

I can put Kristen on the new business bank account.  That was good news for me.  This is the new business we are starting together.  I will take this slow – to the best of my ability.

Supposed to have lunch with someone with another business idea.  Maybe this week but if not, eventually.

One of my other partnerships is moving along.  I got the credit card processing application approved and entered into the website.  I have not setup the plans or anything like that but I think we are going to just start with one plan and move forward from there.

All that to say, my mind has been working much more than usual.  I keep praying for peace and He keeps providing it.  He loves me so much.  I wish I could just give people a drop of the love He has for me.  An everlasting love.  I know this is not a normal season for me but I will accept it.  And maybe my head won’t explode until after my heart does.

The End Of The World

It’s the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine.

A few years back my Sunday school class was going to study the end times.  I found out a few days in advance as we had not been warned but I did my best to study up on the subject.

We were regaled with tales of unicorns, butterflies, and rainbows.  It was a very poor showing and I knew next to nothing on the subject at the time.  I was told that Christians would not suffer during a tribulation because God doesn’t want His people to suffer.  This leads to the obvious question – then why do I suffer now.

I had printed out a document for the class showing the three major positions – premillennialism, postmillennialism, and amillennialism.  I thought it would be helpful but it was not used.  And rightly so with the topic that was presented.  This actually began a nice study for me as I sought to understand the three positions.  I grasped the first two but the third (amillennialism) was outside my reach.

A few months went by and I heard a teaching on the topic and became an amillennialist.  It was clearly the most logical understanding of scripture and end times I could see.  Again my knowledge is limited as I have only done minor research on the topic but I still believe this.

Fast forward to earlier this week when my sister suggested a book – Raptureless.  [She has not read the book so how she came to recommend it is a different story.]  I picked it up since I had just completed a book.  I was concerned as I started the book (the preface) but once the book began, the author started quick and I was soon convinced he was an amillennialist too.  Now as I pass the halfway point, I still believe this is his position even though he has not discussed it yet.

So many memories and scriptures have fallen into place as he walks through history (AD 30 to AD 70).  Very interesting book and I have since become a stronger amillennialist.  Not everyone can be a panmillennialist.

He Changes Times…

I saw something today that just knocked the wind out of me – as they say.  I escaped it for a bit thinking about “forward thinking” and then “free thinking” (if such a thing can exist).

I broke down and upgraded my Logos 4 Bible study software to Logos 7 which was just released.  I got a lot of new references with the upgrade.  I think about 800 new books and the like.  I was most excited about the sermons of Charles Spurgeon.  I found volume one and read the intro.  That will be a project – read the hundreds (thousands?) of sermons by Spurgeon.

The emotions returned.  They pulled me down pretty far.  Ericka distracted me the second time.

I would enjoy a nice conversation about the ramifications of autonomous cars, asteroid mining, whether free will exists or not, or something along those lines.  One with a spouse who knew me.  I am thankful for what I do have.  I remember just last week continuing a conversation with Kristen on “Black Lives Matter”.  That was a two hour joy.  Oh, it was not all on that topic of course.  We discussed many things as I am sure we will discuss again this Wednesday.

She has enjoyed her entrepreneurship class in high school so far.  Thus, part of our talk was on businesses.  She already has the idea for the business plan she will write for the end of the class assignment.  A marketing company – using social media.  I would actually be interested in seeing her attack the idea from a mobile perspective.  The business name (idea) “Mobile Marketing Ingenuity” has been in my mind for over a year.  I remember when it occurred to me and how I was missing something.  I have still not found that missing piece.

I know I was attempting to combine several ideas into one and I kept reaching and reaching.  Yes, I will attempt to remember this in our next talk.  I imagine this could be combined with autonomous cars.  Yes, that is the direction we should progress towards.

On a business note, I still have not found a partner or two for the new business.  And yesterday at some point I was able to integrate another idea into the business and create a third business out of the one idea.  It will be rather interesting if God allows me to do any of this.  When I was talking to Him yesterday, I told Him I couldn’t do any of this without Him.  There are very specific things that need to occur for any of my projects to progress and eventually succeed.  None of which are under my control.

So I began to crash again tonight.  Writing has helped slow it but not stopped it.  I have been praying the verses in Daniel 2 for a few days.  Daniel 2:20-23.  The beginning of verse 21 says “He changes times and seasons” and that is very true.  I have not surrendered the day to the sadness.  If God does keep me one more day, His name will be praised forever and ever.  If God does not, His name will still be praised forever and ever.  It is a great prayer so go ahead and read it.

It is only 8pm.  I suppose I will try to read a bit more.  That is always a distraction of some level for the mind.

Dependence

Dependence is not easy for me in times of peace.  I find myself feeling less reliant on God, less desperate for Him.

Last night, I could have fallen.  His grace was sufficient.  As I went to sleep and when I awoke, I asked to be kept safe the rest of this weekend.  Even now I ask.

I have been reading “The End of Faith” by Sam Harris.  I am almost 50% done.  I have thoroughly enjoyed it.  It does not match up to “The God Delusion” but thus far it is the second most mentally stimulating book I have read in the past two or three years.

We know, for instance, that no human being creates his own genes or his early life experiences, and yet most of us believe that these factors determine his character throughout life. It seems true enough to say that the men and women on death row either have bad genes, bad parents, bad ideas, or bad luck. Which of these quantities are they responsible for?  –The End of Faith

Here I read that although Sam Harris is an atheist, he is also a Calvinist.  Yes, that amuses me greatly even though it is not true.  Which of those qualities are we responsible for?  Why were you born here and billions of others were born into different circumstances?  Luck and chance?  I’ll go with grace but you can have luck and chance if you like.

Each morning as I read more of his book, I am amazed at the patterns I can extrapolate from his words.  They are beautiful and well organized.  Quite brilliant if you ask me.

Given the magnitude of the real problems that confront us—terrorism, nuclear proliferation, the spread of infectious disease, failing infrastructure, lack of adequate funds for education and health care, etc.—our war on sin is so outrageously unwise as to almost defy rational comment.  –The End of Faith

I could not agree more, our war on sin is outrageous.  Christians want to legislate their morality.  I suppose we all want to legislate our own morality.  It is rare to find a rational discourse on a topic such as this, if the media is to be believed.  I can hear at least one person’s voice in my mind now (not your’s Lisa).

Are we a Christian nation?  Many say we are.  I am not so sure we ever were.  I am not sure we should be.

Where will the war of ideas be won?

The Big Four Zero

I do not care much for birthdays.  Yesterday I turned 40.  It was the first birthday in many years that I was not severely depressed.

Friday and Saturday I began to think upon this.  It was the grace of God that prevented the sadness from overtaking me Sunday.  So I begin week eight.  I will always count.

Someone needed “my peace” so they asked me to go to Walmart with them yesterday.  I went earlier this year.  The first time, in at least six years, I have been to that place.  Yesterday makes twice this year.  I do not intend to make it a habit.  It was insane.  I left with a headache.  I made it home, fell on my couch, woke up some time later with my face buried in the couch.  It was just too much to take in.  After that nap, I felt much better.  It is difficult to not take in all the stimulation.  Large crowds can be deadly.

I hesitantly went to HEB yesterday evening.  I was afraid the people would be too much for me but thankfully it was not as busy as I expected.  My parking spot was available – my evening spot.  I normally go around 6am Sunday morning to avoid the people and park on one side but if there are reasons I must go in the afternoon or evening, I park on the other side.  It prevents me from getting lost.  Don’t make fun of me, it is a good system!

So my daughter begins high school today.  My son begins 7th grade.  Today I remember…always remember.