Because sometimes that’s what I feel like. If you grew up reading Pilgrim’s Progress, or the children’s rendition, you will recall that throughout Pilgrim’s journey to the Celestial City, he is often waylaid by his own temptations and desires. Sometimes however, he is ensnared through no fault of his own. It is the latter of the two situations I found myself in, and I would like to share that experience with you.
…Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles, but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. Luke 24:1-11 ESV
The first few months of this year have felt an awful lot like the first few months after I left the church last year.
Namely, they’ve felt like death.
Let’s just get this out of the way: There is no way to leave Morning Star Church well.
This does not mean that you cannot leave graciously, honoring God, Pastors Stephen & Mary and Leadership where/if appropriate, your friends and potentially family members for who they have been to you and how God has used them. To the best that you can given your situation, and every situation is painfully unique, leave well. Honor God. You will not do it perfectly, no one has and no one will, but in choosing to walk out with integrity and character will mark you. This is who I am and this is how I choose to handle hard situations. I will not let their ungodly behavior dictate how I behave.
...and if He rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the depraved conduct of the lawless (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard)—
if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to hold the unrighteous for punishment on the day of judgment.
If 2017 and now 2018 have held anything, they have held extreme lessons in courage. I'm talking crash-course-pushed-off-a-cliff-you-have-no-choice-do-or-die courage. It sounds dramatic, but most of the time it was fairly mundane. I knew it was going to take a measure of bravery to walk out of Morning Star Church by myself and leave everything and everyone behind. That measure took everything in me to pull together, but what I couldn't think through at the time was the courage I was going to have to keep finding for the next day, and the next day and the next day.
Psalm 55 NLT
Listen to my prayer, O God. Do not ignore my cry for help! Please listen and answer me, for I am overwhelmed by my troubles. My enemies shout at me, making loud and wicked threats. They bring trouble on me and angrily hunt me down.
My heart pounds in my chest. The terror of death assaults me. Fear and trembling overwhelm me, and I can’t stop shaking. Oh, that I had wings like a dove; then I would fly away and rest!
I would fly far away to the quiet of the wilderness.
How quickly I would escape—far from this wild storm of hatred. Confuse them, Lord, and frustrate their plans, for I see violence and conflict in the city. Its walls are patrolled day and night against invaders, but the real danger is wickedness within the city.
Everything is falling apart; threats and cheating are rampant in the streets. It is not an enemy who taunts me—I could bear that. It is not my foes who so arrogantly insult me—I could have hidden from them. Instead, it is you—my equal, my companion and close friend. What good fellowship we once enjoyed as we walked together to the house of God.
Let death stalk my enemies; let the grave swallow them alive, for evil makes its home within them. But I will call on God, and the Lord will rescue me. Morning, noon, and night I cry out in my distress, and the Lord hears my voice.
He ransoms me and keeps me safe from the battle waged against me, though many still oppose me. God, who has ruled forever, will hear me and humble them. For my enemies refuse to change their ways; they do not fear God.
As for my companion, he betrayed his friends; he broke his promises. His words are as smooth as butter, but in his heart is war. His words are as soothing as lotion, but underneath are daggers!
Give your burdens to the Lord, and He will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.
But you, O God, will send the wicked down to the pit of destruction. Murderers and liars will die young, but I am trusting You to save me.
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