THE EDITOR (a poem)

Not until our roads intersect
Will my purpose become His.
Not until myself is lost
Will I find my true direction.
For what good is a writer
if his work is never edited?
He will never exceed his own wisdom,
or notice his own mistakes.
He will write in his foolishness,
believing it to be cleverness.
Yet when we call upon The Editor our God,
His ultimate wisdom becomes ours,
And our mistakes are shown to us
and repaired by His grace.
Hallelujah!! Praise Him for His wisdom
and grace in the midst of our foolishness!

*I was looking through my journal and found this. I thought it related pretty well with the picture I drew of Proverbs 3:5-6, so I thought I’d share it.

DAY 6 – FORGETTING OUR PREDICTIONS

I get awakened at 6:00 am. Megan and Elizabeth are praying for a waiter they met. I pray for him with the Word of God.

I put some music on, shut my eyes, and begin to pray and meditate on the LORD. As I relax I get a picture or image that I can faintly see – it’s a picture of a starry night sky. I start weeping again, as I hear the Father’s excitement as He creates the heavens and the Earth for man’s pleasure. Images of nature continue to flash through my mind and there’s Jesus excited to show His creation to mankind. The tragedy is that man appreciates, but is never satisfied. I feel the Father’s heart grieved that man instead finds pleasure in things that are defiled and detestable. I weep and cry out to the Father, saying His creation is enough for me!

9:00 a.m. and I pray with Nathan and Jonathan. Most of our prayers are proclamations and requests on the Word of God and I feel that’s the strongest type. We ask for boldness and repent of doubt. I love prayer meetings that are led by the Spirit! It’s good to praise His holy name together!

I go out refreshed and as I go through the day I realize that the reality I fall upon is the one I’ve been living the last six days. The one fully intending to obey God till the end, it’s as if that reality has been set as my default. I’m glad and never want to turn back.

I go to Simon’s talk at the Tusmore Church at 2pm.  He’s brilliant; full of life. Near the end we split off into small groups and I ask if I could have 10 minutes to share tomorrow morning.

Joel R. seems immediately concerned. Simon is approving but Joel wants me to run it through our pastor Steve. I slap myself as I’ve totally forgot to seek the approval of my elders and authorities, as I had planned to do before I came.

After the talk Pastor, Simon and I chat about tomorrow. I earnestly desire nothing more than to obey God and this means submitting to authority. I ask Steve not to say yes out of a sense of obligation, but he already knows that I am convinced that God’s will be done, regardless of what that looks like.

Out in the hall I realize that the old me would have been severely discouraged, believing that His plans were crumbling at the seams. Talking to Allie she gives me a letter for you Patrick and in my mind and heart I am completely at peace.

When I’m home I laugh as I see the situation from an eternal perspective regardless of the response. Yes or no God’s will is not hindered. At this point I feel as if it will be a yes.

6:00 p.m. and a heavy tiredness comes over me. I head to bed and fall asleep meditating on the LORD, and am awakened at 7:00 for dinner. I am unspeakably drowsy. I check my email and Joel has the verdict. Both he and Pastor Steve feel it is inappropriate for me to speak tomorrow. I blink at the email and feel absolutely no anger, remorse, despair, none of that.

My belief remains unshaken and I’m excited as to how God will accomplish His will in the following days.

I feel a tug on my heart to drive to Tusmore Church and seek the LORD there. I get there at 7:40 and walk around in the chilly night until I step outside the front sign.

“Where you belong.”

I stare at the sign and disagree. ‘Where I Belong’ by Switchfoot blares on my earphones as I look up to the crescent moon.

The night is beautiful and I feel like the only one on Earth. As I stare into the moon I know in my very core this place is not my home – I don’t belong to this Earth. I’ll never belong anywhere until Jesus takes me home.

I feel drawn to the park and I begin to make my way into the darkness. I wish the streetlights were off so I could see the stars better. I trudge through Tusmore and I feel Jesus meet me near the bridge. I say hi and I look across the creek to a wide open field.

I make my way to the center of the field, take my jacket off and lay on it as I look up to the beautiful night. I soon realize that the scene is what I saw that morning. God asks me if I like it.

“It‘s beautiful,” I reply.

As I stare into the wide expanse and wonder how high up the heavens are God teaches me a few things. Walking with God is like being washed downstream by a current. My plans are irrelevant; the current goes where it will, the destination is certain, but the road is not.

As Soren Kierkegaard says, “Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards.”

God’s plans for your life and mine have not all of a sudden changed Patrick; God doesn’t change. It’s up to me now to adjust and make sure I realign myself with where God is going. We’ll get there – have faith.

I thank God for the amazing show He put on for me and head home. I feel a new directive in my heart as I get home for this journal.

I’m not sure what the focus was before, but I believe these letters need to show you the journey with God. The relationship that we are called to have with the Living God. I hope when you or people read these letters they see through me, you, and circumstances to see God. This must be the focus of everything and it will be for my letters moving forward.

Patrick, all that God wants is obedience and that is what I am to do every day. At this moment obedience for me is keeping silent tomorrow. Have faith! God remains faithful, merciful, gracious, and just. Always be adjusting.

Terence

__________________________________________________________

Thoughts from Joel:

First off, sorry this one took so long! It was finals week this last week, and I had to make sure I’d graduate! Hopefully I’ll keep a bit more consistent from here on out!

On to Day 6!

The main characteristic I noticed in this post is the maturity growing within Terence as he goes through this journey where he has to put all his trust in Christ alone. The early posts, it’s quite evident that Terence believes he knows exactly what God is going to do with his relationship with Patrick, and he seems as if he can’t wait to get the credit for it, excited and expecting God to pat him on the back.

Now we see a new Terence.

Terence as of Day 6 isn’t worried of what will come next in his obedience to Christ; he is simply living life obediently to Christ! I thought this was most easily seen in Terence’s reaction to the news he wouldn’t be sharing at church as he was hoping. Terence now realizes that God is in control, and will guide him and Patrick to the place they need to be led. Terence has forgotten his own agenda, and embraced the unknown agenda of the LORD!

“Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards.”

This quote really cuts to the core of human nature. We will always be creatures who are trying to predict our next step, hoping God will confirm our prediction. Pretty quickly, however, we learn that we have no idea what we’re doing. God quickly gives us an unexpected turn. And another, and another, and eventually we are clueless as to how we arrived at our current situation.

And in our confusion, we look back.

We look back and see the beautiful trail left by following God’s unexpected turns along the path towards His will. We look back and think, “Wow. If I hadn’t done this one, seemingly insignificant thing in my life, I’d be a completely different person right now.”

When you reach the point of looking back, praise God and admire the trail He created! Praise Him that He is the potter and we are only the clay! The creator of the Universe loves us enough to guide us to exactly the place He planned for us! If that isn’t love, I’ll never understand what is.

Thank God we are terrible psychics!

Joel

AS I SAW IT – MATTHEW 5:45

My last post consisted of a picture. There were no stories, life lessons, or great life realizations included with the picture, but simply a picture that I drew, and a verse that inspired me to draw said picture.

“For He gives His sunlight to both the evil and the good, and He sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.”

And then I’ve gotten a few questions on what exactly the picture symbolizes. So I’ll describe the logic behind it all.

“For He gives His sunlight to both the evil and the good, and He sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.” – Matthew 5:45

I think the main theme of the picture is pretty obvious at what I was getting at, and how I was inspired by this verse. The earth is going through a storm, while also enjoying the sunshine provided by God. The earth is filled with good and evil people, but everybody’s been rained on once or twice. I think people understood that part.

The part that confused was the rose. Why a rose? What does that symbolize? Where is that in Matthew 5:45?

The answer is, it’s not in Matthew 5:45, and, to be completely honest, I’m not sure I knew what it symbolized until someone asked me that very question.

The rose symbolizes us. Let me tell you why.

First, roses need rain. Without rain, a rose can’t grow into the symbol of love it has become famous for. We also need rain, because without rain we will have never been strengthened or tested by God. Even Jesus experienced rain for 40 straight days, being tempted by the devil. Rain is there to simply make us stronger.

Second is the meaning attached to a rose. Roses are commonly sought out for their beauty, their fragrance, and the meaning put behind them. A rose is a good thing to be given. But there’s also something annoying about a rose: it has thorns. Despite these thorns, a rose is still generally seen as a good thing. It’s seen as a compliment, a flattery even after it stabs you in the finger.

That’s a lot like how God sees us.

The only difference is we’re the opposite. We are people who are mostly flawed, yet slightly beautiful. We usually are sinning more than we’re giving, even if we don’t realize it. Yet God doesn’t see us this way. God sees us as beautiful people. He knows we have flaws, yet is willing to completely overlook them if we simply recognize ourselves as a ‘gift’ to Him.

We are as the rose – seen as good, despite our flaws. We see a rose as a good gift to someone we love. God sees us as a good gift to someone we love – Him.

We will also occasionally get wet, but we’d never grow into who He wants us to be without a little bit of rain.

Embrace the rain and thank God for seeing us as roses without thorns.

AS I SEE IT – MATTHEW 5:45


“For He gives His sunlight to both the evil and the good, and He sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.”

*These “As I See It”  blogs are probably something I’ll start doing every once in a while. Sometimes I get an image of a verse I really like, so I try to draw what the verse leads me to see. These are scanned straight from my journal. Let me know what you think.

THE MEANING BEHIND THE NAME

Some of you (probably about 6 people) might notice I changed the name of my blog from “The Ascent” to “A Pitiful Masterpiece.” I know you’re really confused now, so I’m gonna explain (in three parts, nonetheless!) why I went and changed everything around on you.

Part 1: The Ascent

The Ascent was the original name of this blog. I named it that because of 1 Corinthians 1:13, which tells us to make love our highest goal. The name “The Ascent” came up because I will always be on the climb to reach the point where I can sufficiently love the people around me, including the ones I tend not to like much.

As everyone knows, it’s basically impossible to continually love everyone you come into contact with, unless you’re name is Jesus, which my name  isn’t. That means I’ll be continually on “The Ascent” to reach a point where I can love people as Jesus did, and I’ll probably never get there.

Don’t worry though. Just because I changed the name of this blog doesn’t mean I’m done trying to love people in spite of my shortcomings. I’ll always be trying to overcome my shortcomings in order to love people better. (You might have shortcomings too, but if I find myself not loving you it’s because of my shortcomings. Not yours.)

Part 2: Recognizing who I am

I decided about a week ago that I wanted to change this blog up a little bit. Mainly because the html was my name, and had nothing to do with the blog title.

So I started researching.

This research mostly consisted of reading my bible, and looking at my favorite verses in order to come up with a new name describing what I am and what God sees me as. I went through a lot of verses.  I also looked at my old blog background – the Banksy painting of the guy throwing flowers – and tried thinking of a name that could go with that. I almost named my blog “The Flowery Revolution,” but thought people would get confused when they read it and realized it has nothing to do with gardening. So I went back to the bible.

After searching for a clever word play on many, many verses, I came to probably my favorite verse ever. Ephesians 2:8-10. It says this:

“God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece . He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”  -Ephesians 2:8-10 (NLT)

To me, this verse pretty much defines Christianity and what it means. It was the verse. Now I just had to think of how it described me.

Part 3: Describing me (and everyone else)

I’ll start this off with my favorite parts of these verses. Favorite part number 1:

“And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done . . .”

We can’t take credit for our salvation. It isn’t a reward for acting nice or not using swear words. It has nothing to do with us, and we can do nothing to deserve it. It’s kind of like a Christmas present. We don’t do anything to deserve a Christmas present, yet we always receive one (I hope). We’re given these presents because someone likes who we are enough to buy or make something for us. We may make someone angry once in a while, but chances are we’ll still get at least one Christmas present regardless of the things we’ve done.

On to favorite part number 2:

“none of us can boast about it.”

I can’t boast about the gift I’ve been given, because I didn’t do anything to deserve it. I am nothing but a person that fails at a lot of things, succeeds at a few, and will eventually die. I am, largely, pitiful.

(Note: Just because I called myself pitiful doesn’t mean I’m depressed or anything. I’m talking large, Isaiah 64:6 scale here. I’m not going to start wearing man-scara and writing super angsty songs about my life. Don’t worry, I smile a lot.)

The good news is God doesn’t see me as pitiful. He has that covered. He sent the guy I was talking about earlier – who loved everyone – named Jesus. Because of Him, if I recognize my need for Him to cover for my failures, He’ll give me a gift way cooler than anything even Steve Jobs can come up with. And then he’ll see me as His masterpiece. Through His grace I, and everyone else, can go from pitiful to masterpiece. Then He can send us off to “do the good things he planned for us long ago.”


So that’s pretty much it. As nothing but a man who fails more often than he succeeds, I am seen as a masterpiece. Nothing I have done led to being recognized as a masterpiece, I’ve just recognized the One who recognizes me as such. I alone will always fall short. I alone will always be pitiful. Yet I am not seen as such.

We are all pitiful masterpieces.