Category Archives: Spiritual Gleanings

A Warrior’s walk as Guided by God’s Word.

A Veteran’s Lament

By James Stickney

Out of the Chute
We are Young
We are Hungry

We Stood in Lines way to long
as adrenalin coursed through our veins
with the likeness of Kong

On a day of distress
We cleaned up the mess
On a day of delight
A warrior will fight

On a day of pain
We continue the same
On a day without pause
We fight for a cause

On a day with a faraway stare
we wonder, will anyone care

On a day that they grieve
What did we achieve

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Becoming Bob

Lately, I ask myself, “Have i allowed myself to become domesticated? Do I bypass the risk that makes me alive, really alive? Am I growing closer to being “Bob” from the movie fight club? Can I be a Tyler Durden, again? ” I, like Mr. Garland, believe we must frequently trade the asphalt jungle for Jack London’s wilderness in “To Build a Fire”.

 

Do you fear the force of the wind, The slash of the rain? Go face them and fight them, Be savage again. Go hungry and cold like the wolf, Go wade like the crane. The palms of your hands will thicken, The skin of your forehead tan— You’ll be ragged and swarthy and weary But—you’ll walk like a man._Hamlin Garland.

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Not Like Any Other Easter

Traditionally, Easter finds me sitting in a Church reviewing the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. Very important, I agree. However, this Easter I found myself somewhere altogether different.

Where, you ask? I found myself in an assisted living home. Easter Sunday, I and my wife gathered together with a close friend for dinner. Our friend, a woman in her mid-eighties who recently lost her husband. She is a resilient woman and is working through her grief in a healthy manner. She eats right and exercises daily. However, these aren’t the main coping mechanism she uses to work through her grief. The primary and most important thing she does is: She walks headlong into her vulnerability and strives to make new friends. She has only lived at the home for a month and already she has come to know almost everyone, over a hundred people. The real news is, she has made about ten good friends.

Now, you would think my wife and I were there to support and visit with our friend. You would be right. However, she wasn’t the only reason we were there on this Easter. The reason came to light at the ending of our meal. We slid our chairs out and began to leave the table when our friend said, “Can you hold on a minute? I need to push my wheelchair ridden friend back to her room.” I learned earlier, this woman was normally pushed to and from the dining hall by our friend. But, today the wheelchair bound lady was pushed to the meal by someone else and that person had to leave dinner early. After our friend spoke, “I asked, would it be possible for me to help her to her room?” The woman in the wheel chair said, “I hate to be a bother. I couldn’t possibly trouble you.” I said, “It is no trouble at all.” As I pushed her towards her room we chatted a little. Then, I proposed this thought to her. I said, “It’s much easier to be the one pushing than the one being pushed, isn’t it?” She responded, “Yes, it truly is. It is more comfortable to give than receive.” When she made this statement neither one of us were thinking about physical disability. We were thinking of an emotional disability many people, including myself, those with and without physical disabilities, suffer from.

This emotional disability is called “The inability to comfortably receive.” It is a disability because it inhibits healthy emotional movement. It keeps a person stuck in a “giver only” pattern. If I had to guess at the cause I would say it is because of cultural guilt. The guilt of not being good enough, to receive. The guilt of not giving enough, to receive.

I see this pattern a lot during the Easter season. During this season, the inability to receive concerns me not solely for the emotional repercussions. But, for the spiritual repercussions as well. When I get concerned about this topic I think this thought. “God sent his Son to die on a cross for me. Then He resurrected his Son on Easter Sunday so I may be saved and have eternal life. If I can’t receive from others in this life. How can I receive Christ’s invitation to the next?”

This Easter wasn’t traditional. I don’t think it has to be traditional and redundant. And, apparently neither does the Holy Spirit. I did not find myself in an assisted living home on Easter Sunday by chance. No, I found myself there because I and a woman in her wheelchair needed to know: The balance of life and spirituality is achieved only when our reception equals our generosity.

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Only The Wise

Good Day!

Today, an ounce of gold is $1700.00 per ounce, the cost of Frankincense is $10 per ounce, the cost of Myrrh is $6.00 per ounce.

So, why these three?

Gold = Jesus’ Divinity

Frankincense is made from sap which pours from slashes made in a tree. Frankincense = sacrifice.

Myrrh is used for embalming and = Death.

The story of Christ in three seemingly meaningless items.

Glean my friends, glean.  The word of God holds many more treasures.

Merry Christmas

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Religion Was Not Always A Repulsive Word

Those of us who side with “Grace” over “Religion” are often taught that “Religion” is inherently bad.  I think the reason I decided to look upon the terms “Religion and Religious” as the enemy of Grace is because the majority of biblical writers use those terms in a negative manner.  It is often used to describe an establishment of judgment and a feeling of oppression.

It wasn’t until recently my view towards the term “Religion” and “Religious” changed.  It happened as I was reading a book called “God Hates Religion.” This book led me to these words in Apostle James’ book:

Pure, unstained religion, according to God our Father, is to take care of orphans and widows when they suffer and to remain uncorrupted by this world.” James 1:27 GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)

This scripture allowed me to see “religion” was once pure and unstained.

This scripture allowed me to see “religion” was always about helping the suffering.  And nothing to do with oppression or judgment.

This scripture allowed me to see that “religion’s” purest intent was to help us remember: “We are in this world but, not of this world.”

In my opinion the term “Religion” did not begin as the dirty word it is today.  Just like the term “Christian” did not begin as the repulsive word, to many, as it is today.

From now on I choose to view religion in its true form.  To me, religion, in the truest form is the means by which “God’s Grace” is dispensed by His people.

I know it would be futile to try and convince the “religious” to see religion this way.  However, I am glad God saw fit to show me, through scripture, what unblemished religion looks like.

When you think of the term “Religion” what thoughts or feelings do you have?

Peace to all

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It’s Ok To Fight!

I have to admit, sometimes I let the world beat me down so bad I forget which way is up.  I am sure this has never happened to you.  But, just when I seem to be cruising along so well the light goes out.  Or at least that is what is seems like.  It would be nice to wake up one morning and be spared from the arena.  Or would it?  The “truth” the “Word of God” when I read it, teaches me that faith cannot exist with out a fight.  At least not in this world; the world I currently live in.

I wonder if this is the fight Paul was talking about in his letter to Timothy when he said, “Fight the good fight of faith.” (1 Timothy 6:12)

In my experience, a fight albeit physical or mental requires things like effort, discipline, and belief in order to win. So often I forget that faith in Christ is a fight and it too requires effort and discipline. But even more:  The “Good Fight of Faith” calls for belief when I don’t feel like believing.

So often, Paul’s words to Timothy remind me; the “Christ Walk” is not a “Cake Walk.”  It also reminds me the world and I will always be at odds.

Men, Christian Men, if you think the odds are not stacked against you then you have made faith something that it is not.  It impossible to have faith without an opponent to that faith.

We would all do well not to forget John’s words about the worldly lion.  The one that prowls around seeking to kill and destroy the heart of the Christian.

How do we continue to fight the good fight?  How do we keep the worldly lion at bay?

We, as Christians, focus on the last part of (1 Timothy 6:12):  “Keep holding on to eternal life, to which you were called and about which you gave a good testimony in front of many witnesses”

Fighting the “Good Fight of Faith” isn’t really about what we let go of; it’s about what we hold on too.

Keep fighting. You are all warriors in the faith.

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Thought From a Chronic Isolater

There are two sides to me; depressant and anti-depressant.

The depressant side manifests itself through isolation. Isolation is attractive because it seems so protective, and so secure. But, it only feeds my depressive state. The only thing that proves isolation safety to be a lie is being aware that I am an isolater.

Isolation can be so deceptive. Why? Because it does not require physical absence. I wished I could offer some words of wisdom on how to defeat the depressant side but, I can not.

However, I hold on to this truth. The valley in the center of a wave resides between two peaks. Therefore, I only have to look up to find my anti-depressant. Seratonin be damned! Guess, I better get climbing.

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