In His image

God, forgive me and help me that I don’t look more like you; that I don’t magnify you when people hold me up to the world around me.

As I am made to be a likeness of you, Father, then forgive me and help me that instead of displaying the ‘works of the flesh‘ when scrutinized, I should be portraying ‘the fruits‘ of your Spirit.

Jesus, your personality is often the antithesis of the world around me as I go through my day. Help me to remember that this is not the world to which I’m to be conformed, but it’s into your image that I am to desire my transformation. Help me to remember, to even find solace in, the fact that your every attribute is often directly inverted in comparison to this world.


When I’m confronted by hate and anger, I must respond from a place of love.

When I experience sorrow and heartache, I must react in a foundation of joy.

When I’m approached by confusion and dissonance, I must find my reaction based in peace.

When I am tested by intolerance and restlessness, I must respond with overwhelming patience.

When I am slapped in the face by malevolence and spitefulness, I must find my identity in kindness.

When I am assaulted by immorality and perversity, I must take up the shield of goodness.

When I see infidelity and godlessness, I must find my hope in faithfulness.

When I witness outrageousness and offensiveness, I must respond in gentleness.

When I am taunted by indulgences and intemperance, I must be based in self-control.


God, when people hold me up to the dim light of this life, let them see the ‘right side up’ image of Jesus in contrast to our ‘upside down’ world view. Let them see, Lord, that I believe that this world does not depend on my view, or my feelings, or my pridefulness… let them see that I believe, Father, that we were created in your image, by you, of you, and for you…  that we were meant to represent you. And, Lord, let them see that these fruits are not from MY spirit, rather, that these are attributes of YOURS, and that you desire that they be shared with all.


“God’s Grace in, God’s Grace out”… Michael.


Mental~ Physical~ Spiritual Energy?

I often, (daily), wonder about the fact that I feel so drained of energy and enthusiasm. I mean, it’s so easy to be numb and lifeless, so seldom am I motivated and excited. It’s so normal now, to just react to my day, and not to seek adventure in it.


I came across a secular article about this, and I thought I saw a parallel into my ‘Spiritual Energy,’ how I can be one day all fired up for God, and sooner than later be spiritually drained again. I’m not saying there are no other reasons for this, not something else going on here, I’m merely exploring an idea.


The article, “Yes, being Mentally Tired is Physically Exhausting” by Ian Lecklitner, found in a Men’s grooming product site, isn’t very high level stuff, may even by association be a bit ‘campy,’ but it noted a paper published in the 2014 issue of Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, claiming that “mental energy really does translate to physiological energy.”


A study showed that the blood pressure of subjects went down when faced with an extremely difficult task, (low blood pressure can cause fatigue and depression, among other things), and the blood pressure of the subjects went up when faced with a highly achievable task.


The study included a physical exertion factor which was maintained for a longer period when motivated by an easily achievable task, as opposed to a shorter period when the task was perceived as daunting and unattainable.


Lecklitner says, “What all of this suggests is that getting mentally energized to achieve a goal creates physiological energy (and vice versa).”


This is what sparked the Spiritual parallel in my mind, if I consider that getting “mentally energized,” sounds a bit like “renewing one’s mind.”


The author quotes L.A.-based psychologist and psychotherapist Jeanette Raymond who explains this mental energy in more relatable terms:


“It might be helpful to think of mental energy as attention, focus, concentration and emotional state,” she says. “Think of feeling wiped out, slouched on the couch. Then your friend calls and asks you to go out to a [night] club. For some, this would immediately energize them mentally — the dopamine receptors in your brain would be activated, because it provides a reward (hanging with friends and being [socially] titillated).

“On the other hand,” she says, “if your partner asks you to fold laundry, something that can feel like a duty, your brain will give you a sensation of having to pull blood out of stone — it’s not rewarding, so you won’t feel energized. In fact, it will make you feel drained.”


We can ask,”Is it then, possible to increase your mental energy, and therefore, your physical energy? Raymond says,

“Mental energy is an emotional state dependent on reward and motivation,” Raymond emphasizes. “It’s not about increasing it, per se — it’s about finding the right activities that feel rewarding, which will offer instant energy.”


So, here’s my take on this:


Available physical energy, (strength), can be linked to the level of mental energy, as a result of brain chemical activity, and this is all at the response of my “perception” of the difficulty of the task at hand.


Wow! How many times have we heard the expression, “Psych yourself out?”

How many times have I prayed, “God, give me strength?”


My revelation here is that it’s all in the PERCEPTION… In the EMOTIONAL response I create in view of the task at hand!


As Christians, we are taught to distrust our ’emotions,’ but this is not man-made science here, this is a case where God has a system in place and we are merely getting a glimpse of how it might work! This is God’s creative signature, more complex than anything we could imagine.


The psychologist above says, “ it’s about finding the right activities that feel rewarding,” but I might skew that to say, in my case, it’s not so much about the ‘right’ activities, but how I ‘perceive’ those activities that are at hand.


Assuming that I am making right choices, and am attempting to live my life IN Christ, all activities are available to bring glory to my God. I think of Brother Lawrence, who said, “Even to bend down and pick up a stalk of straw from the ground is done for the Glory of God!” 


When tasks at hand are ‘perceived’ in that light, let my physical body draw energy from God’s very spirit in order to accomplish the goal. See what David says in the face of his giant:


“You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.” 1 Samuel 17:45-47


Talk about getting ‘psyched up!’ David didn’t ‘perceive this task as unattainable, he didn’t see it as daunting, he saw himself as a means to an end, he saw the desired result, and he was EXCITED at the idea of achieving it!


This is a great lesson for me.


Blessings and Grace abundant! Michael.



Oxymoron: Lonesome Christian?

This one’s about me… maybe some can relate, maybe not. But, it’s about me.

The way things have worked out, so far anyway, I don’t know how to say it, I am just lonely. I feel like God must be the only one who understands me, or at least I pray that he does. (No, scratch that! I know, and am supremely grateful that he does… at least I know HE does.)

But, still, I need some kind of human validation, I guess.

I AM human.


It just seems that there is NOBODY that fully understands ALL aspects of me. Everyone I see knows SOME part of me, but not the WHOLE of me. There seems to be a part of me that is incompatible with everyone else around me, no matter who they are.

Is this a good thing to want to be fully transparent? I feel it is, am I wrong?

I just want to scream sometimes.

But a follower of Jesus MUST have the fruits of the spirit, right? So what happened to “peace” and “patience?”

In my daily experiences, in my version of the workplace, it’s not encouraged to be open about anything personal or private… especially things that may be construed as ‘threatening’ to anyone else’s ‘personal freedoms’… so something such as religion, or sexual struggles would be alarming, to say the least.



My former recovery ministry brothers no doubt understood and appreciated my desire to change and to find the joy in glorifying Jesus in the changing… but it seemed none were able to truly appreciate the true nuances of the unique kind of temptation and self-torture and shame that my former bisexual life experiences have burned into my mind. My closest brethren, but…

Still a bit alienated at best.


I can’t confide in my old bisexual and gay friends because, even though they do understand the struggle with my past, they can’t comprehend and will not reconcile with what I see in Jesus who lead me away from my old ways, over 10 years ago. So…

I am a threat and cast out from them.


I can’t confide in any straight and unbelieving friends; they don’t get the SSA thing, OR the Jesus thing!

Estranged again. And again.


And it is only to a certain basic, or common level that I can confide in my fellow church-goers, after which point, they become abhorred of what they see as the permanence of my sinful stains. I had tried to reach out to the guys in my community group, and I blew some away, forever. It appears I pose some level of potential threat. I suppose I respect the instinct of the shepherd to protect the sheep.

Divided again.


It’s really ironic, though, because the single believers who may tend to be more open and less protective, don’t get my particular ‘family dynamics’ … and the ‘shiny, happy’ married believers can’t quite get the dynamics of MY family of ‘UNbelievers.’

Disunited, marginalized again.


A while back, neither the shrink I saw for my depression, nor our Family Therapist we saw for our marital issues understood the Jesus thing… and a couple years ago, even a pastor who did 1-on-1 Marriage Counseling with me was discomforted by my past and present indiscretions… I could tell. Although, he tried, I gotta’ admit, he was a bit frustrated with me. (He has since flown back to South Africa, but I’m thinking it wasn’t because of me.)

And, my wife and kids don’t understand any of my Jesus encounter, they would rather not deal with it, in fact it has separated us in some ways… and they are still unaware of my past behaviors and my residual struggles. (I am terrified of  being alienated from them. I know I am compromising my faith in order not to hurt them).

Sadly, they only know part of me.


I am so sick of feeling this lonely. I am a bit numb, actually.

I do attend a study group every couple weeks, and they don’t get why I sometimes cry. I used to go to church most Sundays with an unwitting friend, and he didn’t understand why I would cry during worship. If I talk to my wife about my love for her, and about my faith in Jesus, she’s confused why I would cry. Even when I was in my old small group, I was one of the most likely to cry.

I’m not blaming anyone else, not even God… I know I am where I am because of my choices. These are my own consequences. But, how can this be?

How can I be a lonely Christian?


But, I choose now to get better, I choose to follow Jesus, I choose to be made new, more and more every day. I’m so tired of asking myself “Why?”, I just want to be made new.

Does this make sense to anyone else? Do I just need a good slap in the face, or what?

I know, Dr. Phil would say, “Oh, just put on your Big Boy Pants, and get over it!”

I know that my joy is in the hope of the glory of Christ! My joy is in who God is, in who he made me to be, and in my future in Jesus.

I know this! I know this!


That should be more than sufficient, right?


I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me… My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.”  (John 10:14, 27-28)


Please comment below, it is always enabled, and now unmoderated.

I want to hear from you. Michael.

What’s my superpower?

So I’m chatting with a friend online through a support Ministry. We share a struggle that is particularly unapproachable in most church settings. I want to be loving and at the same time truthful. We have parallels in our iniquities, though we are in somewhat different circumstances. I want to share the hope we have in common.


I want to stress that he shouldn’t fear his guilt and his shame.


Even though these are used most dramatically by the enemy to draw us away from God, they were actually created by God to lovingly guide us towards him.


In general, I think most of the time we try to be like Superman, flying around doing good deeds, acting all righteous and everything… and then we come across sinfulness and pain and struggle, and we treat it like Superman’s Kryptonite. We let it blind us, and weaken us, and stop us in our tracks… it can even lead us to our untimely demise.


Perhaps, instead I should think of these trials and tribulations more like the anger and the injustice that drives Batman out of his cave, that causes him to put on his battle gear, and to courageously fight the ‘foe,’ (this word used to mean enemy, now it just refers to a bowl of noodles, ‘pho‘).


Perhaps, I should think of my sinfulness and weakness, of my worldliness and unholiness as not so much of a stumbling block, but more as a catalyst or a spring-board, as a motivator towards the very thing it would naturally block me from.


I’m thinking of this t-shirt I’ve seen online that says, “I can make beer disappear, What’s your Superpower?”


I should be able to turn sorrow into joy, pain into pleasure, I should be able to turn fear and shame into courage and faith… My superpower should be to turn weakness into strength.


“Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christʼs power may rest on me. That is why, for Christʼs sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
2 Corinthians 12:7‭-‬10


On Earth as in Heaven?

From what I’ve seen, aside from human interventions, we have the freedom to live our lives however we want while on Earth. I believe we have a choice what kingdom we participate in, both here on Earth, and for an eternity.

But, Jesus told us to pray these words, “…your kingdom come, your will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven…”

He told us to pray for God’s will and Kingdom to be here, with us, just as it is in His Heavenly realm.

But, when did we think this should really apply?

It seems, as unpalatable for some as it may sound, that this decision may be expected of us sooner than later, and the choice may be limited between two options: the Earthly kingdom, temporarily under the watch of Satan; and God’s Kingdom, always and eternally His.

Into which kingdom would I fit most naturally now? Of course it’s the Earthly kingdom, this is the kingdom for which I have been trained, and have experience, and was literally born into. In fact, everything I know about striving and ambition and motivation and desire and longevity have to do only with this Earthly Kingdom.

Yes, if this were a business, this is the one in which I would say I’m a ‘moving up the ladder.’ As it were, I know more about how to serve the prince of this Earth than I do the King of Heaven. I know more about devils and being demon possessed than I can imagine ever knowing about being a saint or an angel or an eternal inhabitant of the Heavenly Realm.

Dual Citizenship

But at the same time, even though I’m a citizen of this Earth, and this is what I know… this is the language I speak, this is the air that I breathe… at the same time somewhere deep inside me I also know that I came from, and am ultimately subject to, a different domain.

I believe it when I am told that my roots, my origin is as a citizen of God’s Heavenly Realm. Furthermore, there seems for me to be a natural, NO, a SUPER-natural attraction to it. I feel compelled to know more, to visit there, to even complete my days there. But, there’s a conflict in living it now, while I’m here.

And, would it make any sense for God to want to populate his eternal Kingdom with people who didn’t want to participate in his kingdom while on Earth?

Realistically, I also know that although I may belong there, I may even have a sort of birth right as a creation of God himself… it is not that right, or the compulsory privilege which would determine whether or not I spend eternity in God’s Heavenly Kingdom.

In other words, to belong there does not guarantee my return there. In fact, it appears that there are only two ways to be assured eternal citizenship in God’s Kingdom: Perfection under God’s law, or; Perfection under God’s grace.

Regarding the former, good luck to anyone who tries that. There was only one man who walked the Earth with perfection, and he had to be fully God to do it. It is only by the latter means that we have a chance.

But God’s grace comes with a caveat.

We must submit to his grace now while on this planet and walk out our days primarily as a citizen of his Kingdom now, if we are to be accepted as Citizens of his Kingdom later. I should be just as much an alien here as Jesus was. A ‘stranger in a strange land.’

As in the first time I heard it, my greatest nightmare would be to hear Jesus say to me, “I did not know you.” He wants to know me now. He wants me to walk now in his footsteps.

So, my dual citizenship does not mean I simply switch from one here now to the other there later, it means I am a citizen of God’s Kingdom completely while I am in this Earthly Kingdom temporarily.

Jesus said, “God’s Kingdom is at hand.” That means in a sense, it’s here now.

I must walk now. I cannot wait.

“Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. For those who are led by  the Spirit of God are the children of God.”  Romans 8:12-14


“Jesus wept.”

Honestly, I’m at a loss for words in the light of the most recent senseless killings.

“Jesus wept.” John 11:35. 

This one very short verse is all I could muster up when I put my mind to it. It’s concise, yet it is packed with emotion, and very revealing to the Gospel of Christ. As much as Jesus is familiar with the very power and authority that is his Deity, He is somehow just as well acquainted with the grief that is a part of our world too. There are many commentaries on this verse that are very deep, and also encouraging.

These times are very disheartening, and confusing for all of us, and it is a time when we often hear the question, “Where is God?”

As a follower of Jesus, as one who does believe that there is a real and very significant God, it is a time when one needs to be ready to have some kind of response, at least have a direction in our heart from which we will reach for that response.

(Yet, I’m still speechless over here!)

Usually, though, if I am quiet, and listen, and seek God’s wisdom, there comes an answer, from somewhere…

I just happened upon a YouTube video of Francis Chan talking about the “Two Scariest Lies in our World Right Now.” (Watch the short video if you want his scriptural references. Francis is the teacher here, not me.)

“You are a Good Person”

…is the first lie that Francis was saying insists we are all naturally ‘good people’ at heart. The reason this is a lie is that scripture says we are all sinners. So, we say the truth is we are all good at heart, and God says we are all fallen at heart.

“If God is Love, then He could not condemn us to Hell for our sins.”

… is the second idea, often posed as the question which asks, “How could a loving God Punish?” But, Francis shows how this is a lie, as God is a Just and Holy God. He has no choice but to punish. (I suggest that the only ‘choice’ lies with US, as in how ‘not to be punished’… Hello, Jesus!)

No wonder we are all so confused… the world believes that ‘we are all good people,’ and that ‘God does not punish us for our sins.’

This infers that we don’t need a god in order to be good, and even if there was a god, he wouldn’t punish us anyway.

So then, when we get a mass murderer, how do we reconcile this? If we are ‘good.’ why is there so much hate and destruction? If there is no Hell, even no God, then what’s stopping us from all becoming mass murderers?

The world says, “Believe whatever you feel in your heart is true,”

But, God says, “Here’s the truth: you need me, you need to know MY truth. Your heart is corrupt.”

The answer is not ‘within ourselves,’ as some might think. As much as some might not want to hear about it, the answer to all madness on the earth lies in the hands of the God who created it, and created us to have dominion over it.

The more we try NOT to offend other people, the more we DO offend God.

So, here’s my insight today, at least how I can put it into words at this time… as a Believer in God, and a Follower of Jesus Christ, I must be able to voice the belief that it’s God that can create the new person in us, the ‘good’ person, and without Him we are lost, we are destined to live at our own mercies if we don’t choose to live at His.

Maybe it’s true that Jesus weeps over us often, too often.

This is a chance we as believers have to bring his Name, and his Love into view of others who are hurting. has an current event article today on the subject, called “Acquainted with Grief.”


Please pray for the families and the communities.

Grace to You, Michael.

Intersections vs. Junctions

The Bible is full of symbolism and metaphors. Jesus said he will speak to us with stories and parables so that those who understand will understand, and those who won’t, don’t,

Gotta’ love that brutal honesty!

I remember the first time I heard reference to the Cross of Jesus as a symbol for the intersection of the path of love and devotion between us and God, (the Vertical line), with the path of love and devotion between us and others, especially the Body of Christ, (the horizontal line).

“An intersection is where two roads (or streets) cross each other, like a small ‘t,’ or an ‘x.'”

So, an intersection gives us a distinct point where two paths cross, and at that point there is interaction. In some ways, we stay there, balanced at that point where our path meets God’s. But, in some ways, both paths are unchanged in going on in their own directions. God’s path is unchanging, and ours can be too, some would say.

Sometimes, then, an intersection is where we meet with new influences, and have an opportunity to turn in a new direction completely, or go in our own direction with a somehow different outlook.

We have a local radio station that used the tag-line “The Intersection of Faith and Reason”, implying they seek and expound wisdom by faith. I just recently heard a pastor teaching on living in the intersection of “Intelligence and Instinct,” showing that the intelligence is wisdom from God, and the instinct is faith from believing. I’ve also heard reference to the Intersection of “Truth and Reason”, (that is God’s Truth, and our ability to process it). All being God’s gracious gifts.


And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.” Isaiah 30:21


It seems that life as a follower of Christ means that I must live my life at the intersection of where I am physically at any moment in time, with where I am spiritually in my Faith in Christ. Both seem to be continuous and unbroken lines. At least, so far, I must live in the ‘sweet spot.’

The challenge is that this is not a static, stationary position. My life is in flux, always moving and changing, and my Faith ebbs and flows like the ocean’s tides. I’d like to say that both lines in my life are steady, and going in the right direction, but the truth is that I’m human still, living the curse of the first Adam, “Scratching out a sweaty existence from the soil, only to return to it.”

So, then is my life a series of intersections?  Always starting a new day on my path, then meeting God there, and turning in His direction? If every day is a perpetual “step forward, then turn right,” am I not really just going in a big circle?


Maybe there is a different way to look at this, maybe in some ways an intersection is a good analogy, maybe in some ways it’s not. Maybe it’s more than a “sweet spot” that’s the pursuit, maybe it’s more than a “balance” I need. I need to look further into this…
“A junction is where one road (or street) meets another, but they do not have to cross each other, like a big ‘T.’ Or, even a ‘y.'”

A junction gives us a point where two paths meet, and merge into one path, they converge.

If you remember the first “Ghostbusters” movie, you’ll recall the power of their weapons was compounded when they intentionally crossed their ‘streams,’ right?

The changes happen for us when the ‘stream’ of this sometimes unreal and insignificant life, is intentionally crossed with the ‘stream’ of power and immeasurable authority of our very real and significant God.

The challenge, again is to keep those two paths not just crossed, but converged. I could step off either one, at any moment, in any direction, and be lost. My whole Christian experience then became a point in my path, an intersection, and I go on in reality unchanged, in my own direction. I’ve stepped beyond the crossing, and back onto my own path.



But, (at the risk of an incomplete Gospel message) let me say I believe the Hope we have in Jesus is that desperately hanging on to Him, through this life, we have a promise of New Life, and in abundance. Some of that New Life will come here in growth and transformation towards the very likeness of God himself… the rest will come after we sleep in Christ, and are later resurrected again, like Him to be with the Father forever. So, my path must not just momentarily cross God’s, but become ‘one’ with it.

The Hope, and the Power we have is in the Convergence of our path with God’s.

God created me so that He could work in my life, and so that I would work towards a life in Him, that I would merge onto the path He has for me. I’ve heard that ‘repentance’ can be defined as a change in direction, off my path, and onto His.

I believe I must live my life daily in the intersection of the ‘moment’ and my ‘trust’ in God… but it’s more than that, it’s also a junction, a merging, a convergence with his path.


“This is what the Lord says: 

“Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls…” Jeremiah 6:16


I see now that if I am truly effected at that intersection, if I am truly a follower of Jesus, then when I died to myself I died to the possibility of really returning to my old “path,” as it is no longer mine, the rope that I used to teather myself to it was cut. Any attempt to return to the old path now becomes unnatural, and a denial to my new life, in effect a denial of Christ.

Yet, in this life, it remains a choice, an effort, an intention. I must seek, I must ask, I must listen.

Blessings in Abundance… Michael