Found

I looked under the rocks but found nothing there

I looked beneath the sea and through the ocean air

I searched the tree tops and across the jungle floors

I searched the wheat covered fields and behind wooden doors

I went into new towns and across state lines

I walked for miles and miles and saw no signs

I ran marathons in all different directions

I scoured my memory for any recollection

I rowed across lakes and from river to river

I climbed icy mountains and was filled with shivers

I made it through dark caves and volcanos ready to burst

I crawled through deserts dying of thirst

Then one day I felt hope no longer

My legs gave out, my lungs no stronger

I could not look anymore, time to give up the fight

The world told me I was crazy, maybe they were right

I sat still for the first time in years, and listened to the sound

Of Him who was always with me

And never needed to be found.

-nJb

 

 

 

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Tagging Out of the Fight

The sweat is pouring down your back. You feel like the fight is never going to end. One minute you think you have it pinned but a second later you are trying to break free. You break out of the choke hold but a minute later you are caught in it again. You fling it off of you and run as fast as you can to the edge of the ring. You tag out by tapping His hand. You slide under the ropes. You walk passed the stands. You leave the arena.

And never look back.

Why?

Because He will handle it.

 

In life we are all fighting something. This is your “it.” I don’t know what it is but I know you have an “it.” It may be a bad habit. It may be a sinful desire. It may be struggles with anxiety and depression. It may be a painful past. It may be a fearful future.

The reality of this fight is you cannot win by fighting. Weird right. But, isn’t that how victories happen? When the going gets tough keep fighting?

The fact of the matter is you are too weak to fight. You need to tag out. In “tag team” wrestling there is another fighter on your team. You have given it your all but unfortunately its just not going to work. The opponent is just too much for you. But you have your Teammate waiting. You have Christ’s outstretched hand. The same hand that picked Peter up as he sunk into the stormy sea. The same hand that lifted up bread and wine and gave you His body and blood. The same hand that was pierced for your sins out of love for you. The same hand that cured the blind and raised the dead.

What are you waiting for. Tag out of the fight. Look to your Teammate.

Tell Him, “Jesus You will Handle this.”

And leave the arena. You don’t need to watch. Leave the arena.

And you may need to do this everyday. You may need to do this every five minutes.

But eventually you won’t go back into the ring.

You will find someone in the parking lot, and tell them all about the fight your Teammate is winning inside.

Ache

Why do I ache deep
And love weakly?
Why do I carry the rain
Like drooping petals
Where are my hands;
lassoed to my chest.
God is right here.
And there
And here.
Yet, I see only my mind.
a child on the teeter toter of
Guilt and Hope
Trusting in Him, sandpaper,
my soul a rusty maple.

-nJb

 

Check out my book “Pouring Echoes” on Amazon!

 

Sunday

I was born a Sunday man

with a Church bell in my soul

and a steeple coming from my chest

a journey to God’s house in each step

my voice drowned by angel’s choir

I remember the way I used to be

before taking part in His Supper

before allowing myself

to rest easy in the pew

I was a shaky man

a child tossed by the tide

a kite thrashed by the wind

It took time for the ink of the Book

to tattoo itself within my mind

to bury itself into the marrow of my actions

Sometimes I find myself hit by the tide

with my face dragging along the shore

shrapnel of shells causing me to bleed out

a bit of the Sunday man

But I am unafraid

I am not timid anymore

Because I was told not to be

And all humility rests in obedience

So as the people flood in

to praise God for all that is

I give God who I am

For He will make me a Sunday man.

-nJb

If I only had 60 seconds

If I had 60 seconds left here is what I would say. I have my stop watch ready.

3…….2…….1…….go

Strive to make this world a better place for everyone. Look at the stranger in the eye. Hold the hand of a friend. Let the world know you care more than they think you do. Never quit. Always remain in zeal. Strive to show the world of the presence of God. Live to love. 

and….60 seconds is up.

I encourage you. Time yourself for 60 seconds.

See what words spring from your heart.

 

Surrounded by Darkness

When I was young, my brothers, sister, and I would use our snow days to build snow tunnels.

My dad would get all the snow piled up along the sides of the driveway and we would start digging at one end. We would take turns getting deeper and deeper into the tunnel. We would use little hand shovels and other times we would use or feet to try to kick our way through.

This would take all day long.

I can remember being in the tunnel. Dark, cold, and jammed against the walls. I could barely do anything but slightly move my arm to clear away some snow. Inch by inch we would chip away doing all we could to reach the other end.

The picture is so clear to me. When after hours and hours of work. I would scrape away some snow with my gloved hands, and see a small beam of light. I would dig faster and faster and eventually I would squeeze my body through and make it to the other side.

Then I would go inside and have some hot chocolate. Celebrate the victory.

As I reflect on this I recognize that for most of the tunnel building process, I was surrounded by darkness. All I could do was continue to do what was necessary to finish my mission.

Maybe this is where you are at today?

Life feels hopeless. You feel like you are not making any progress forward. You feel weak. You feel like the tunnel is too long and you are not going to have the strength to continue.

It is okay to have those feelings. It is okay to be upset with where you are at and how little you feel like you are moving forward. It is okay. It is actually quite human.

But I encourage you today to focus on the goal you have. The goal that you are chipping away with day by day.

Focus on a goal, that feeds you with hope.

Hope in God’s plan for your life.

Hope in yourself.

Hope in the impact you will make.

Friend, if today you are surrounded by darkness. If you feel the walls of the tunnel falling in on you. I beg you to keep digging. Even if it is only with a tiny motion of your hand.

I promise you, the light will break through.

And in that moment, there will be no need for hope.

Only thanksgiving.

 

 

The Fear Paradox

Fear has been on my mind a lot the last couple of weeks. I’ve been reflecting on how much of my life is not “lived” because I am afraid. The interesting thing about fear is that we may not even notice when we are being fearful. It has us chained and yet we do not even realize that our hands are tied and our feet are bound.

I don’t like that idea and I am sure you don’t either.

What gets me a little bit more worked up is the very fact that fear is not of God.

Constantly in the Bible and by the words of really wise spiritual leaders that fear is in fact from the devil. Fear is preventing us from doing the will of God. It is the devils greatest tool. How many times are we told to “be not afraid.”

We are told constantly.

Of course we are human. We are subject to fearful emotions, battles of the day, pain and misfortune. However, is there a choice to be afraid?

While reflecting on fear I thought of St.Mother Teresa’s quote,

“I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.”

 

What about the paradox of fear?

By fearing loneliness, many of us hide away creating our own prison cells.

By fearing hurting others, we avoid those we love and hurt them by mere omission.

By fearing failure in our classes, we are paralyzed and do not study, leading to failure.

The evil in this world is using fear to cause us to create our own downfall. The demons cannot harm us. The devil has no power over us. However, evil is constantly seeking to manipulate our free will. Evil is doing everything it can do to cause us to destroy ourselves.

You will feel afraid. 

Just like Daniel in the lions den.

I am sure the lions did not just leave him alone down there.

I’m sure they still growled, still showed off their shiny teeth.

I’m sure they walked around him and sniffed him pushy him back with their noses.

But through it all, Daniel trusted in God and waited.

I encourage you all today to stare fear in the face. Allow it to growl and shout at you. Let it whisper lies into your ears. Allow it to show you the doom.

And in the midst of it all….puff out your chest.

Smile.

Rise up.

The Lord is here. He is ever present. You are His child.

Be not afraid.

Walk upon the water during the storm, keeping your eyes ALWAYS fixed on him.

 

 

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