“Not Never, Later” – Staying Firm While Being Humble

As I wrote in my last post, life has admittedly come at me tough.

I’ve had my ups and downs, and to be completely transparent, still to this day wrestle with my inner demons. Am I confident today? Will I make it to my goals? Are my goals still my goals? Am I staying true to God’s path for me? Is it okay to give up? Am I a failure?

All perfectly normal questions that we might ask ourselves in times of duress. Let’s face it, when your back is to the wall, you have either two options: fight, or flight, and in either of those options your mind still wants to hypothesize; it still wants to try to guess the end result. There’s something that is worth embracing in these moments though, and it’s often tough to think about when haymakers are being thrown at your face every second:

“Not never, later.”

Continue reading ““Not Never, Later” – Staying Firm While Being Humble”

Plans – Wrestling with What Is and What Isn’t

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

No, I’m not dead. I’m very much still here, actually.

I’m still dancing, and that’s not going too bad for me.

I’m still studying health science in my spare time for fun, still exercising and dieting, and still dating the same wonderful woman I have been for what will be coming up to two years now. If I count all those things, I should be feeling blessed. I should be feeling like I’m more than content, but happy, and not needing of assistance from people.

But in all reality, I’m actually struggling.

Continue reading “Plans – Wrestling with What Is and What Isn’t”

How Happy – Poetry

How happy am I
Walking through a barren, dry land
Even when the dust kicks into my eyes
And not a drop of refreshment in sight

How happy am I
Feeling the call of the wind to go, move
Howling in my ears and so obnoxiously loud
And my legs are cut from under me

How happy am I
Wading through an ocean filled
The waves unrelenting, cresting high
And nothing remains to cling on and ride

How happy am I
Staring at a thousand men, armed
Their eyes, daggers and bodies primed
And all I have is myself and a shield

Still how happy am I
As I fall asleep and awaken from slumber
The sun feeding me energy and breath in my body
And still! There is a promise He has given me.

Written by: Michael “Bboy Roach1” Roach

Letters to You #3 – Proud

Hey You,

What’s up? I’ve been noticing some things have been changing lately.

Am I right? Things seem to be heading in a different direction for you—slowly, sure, but they are. You feel happier, even if it’s a tad. There are some positives that you’re taking away in your day-to-day activities. You’re finding more excuses to smile every once and a while. Heck, sometimes nothing extraordinary happens and you just look up to the sky and say, “Thanks, Jesus.” That’s great.

I want you to know I’ve been noticing, and I couldn’t be more proud of you. Really, I know, sometimes we don’t say that enough in our lives—that we’re legitimately proud of someone. Let alone that someone being you. But I am. We all are.

You’ve remained trusting. You’ve never given up on the goals that were laid out before you. You’ve soldiered on even when things were darkest and most bleak. When people said negative crap about you, you dared to say, “I love you, too”. Not only that, but you’ve grown more humble; you’ve gotten on your knees more, opened up more, cried out more, and been wholly content when everything was not-so-optimal. That takes a lot of heart, and a lot of faith.

Even with all the scars, they’re healing, and you’re finding ways to smile. That’s so admirable in its’ own right, because quite frankly the rest of us struggle with that.

God’s given you these blessings; these happy moments; these small blueberry slices of life. Because you’re not getting too haughty and you’re well aware of where and why they come. And that’s why we’re so proud. And I’m so proud. Because you’re truly letting transformation happen—growing and learning as the process exercises itself.

So keep on keeping on! Stay low to the ground to get as high as the sky. You’ve got a lot, a lot more work to do.

I’m proud of you for where you’ve been and where you’re going.

We all are.

Your friend,

 

Michael

A Few Words From God

This is kind of strange. Normally, I write a draft on Microsoft Word, double check it and proofread it a couple times, and pray for the relevancy of it to at least speak to some of you, the readers. It could be health related, life related, Christ related, whatever–usually it’s a process. One I quite enjoy, might I add.

But today, after some serious morning scripture study and prayer, I asked God this:

“God, I’m not coming to you today to ask for deliverance from my situation. Yes, I want it to be alleviated, but by you. I pray you give me wisdom and patience. I pray most of all, that you come in me today, and give me a sign. Not because I don’t believe in your works or need validation of the truth–but because I know you can reassure me in light of my fears.

This writing is what he told me, and I’m speaking strictly off-the-cuff what the Spirit is saying in my heart:

“Michael. Son. Here’s your sign. No miraculous material thing, or someone saying to you, just words from a book you read that speaks words directly from my mouth to your soul. I’m giving you the Spirit. The Spirit to be uplifted from these times. The Spirit to be set apart in your community, your friends. The Spirit to push forward and work. The Spirit of patience, grace, and mercy. The Spirit of comfort.

Do you get the pattern here, son? You pray for deliverance usually like this: ‘Give me the strength,’ or ‘Let me work hard for you.'” And I appreciate those sentiments, but you’re missing the point.

Give me all the credit! You do nothing in your own strength–quite honestly, you are weak without me. You have been selfish in believing you were the one doing the work. 

I did all those things. I give. And I will do for you. Not you. Me.

I give you my Spirit and I do the work. Your goal is to profess me, and live unashamed for me. These times are trying, yes, I know. But I am building in you a Spirit to do more than you know.

Just rely on me. Truly rely on me. One-hundred percent, Michael. In everything. Patience means trust. It’s not your own strength, it’s my strength.

Give me the credit and watch what I do.”

 

Contempt – Confusion in the Search for Righteousness

The other day, while perusing through Facebook, I came across an associate of mine sharing an article from a website. It looked like a Christ-driven website, so I clicked it—because hey, I love hearing and sharing in Jesus’ works and testimony just as much as the next brother and sister.

What I read though, quite perplexed me and actually shocked me quite a bit. Frankly, it gave me that feeling of the “tinglies” in my head—that feeling where I want to be stirred to anger, but the Spirit tells me to know better. Straight up, I wanted to post a rebuking statement to said associate’s wall and release all the anger. “GO GET EM’!” My head was screaming as it got hotter and hotter.

Instead, I heard God tell me another direction: just give it a day and reflect in grace.

Luckily, I listened.

Continue reading “Contempt – Confusion in the Search for Righteousness”

Divided – A Reflection for All Christians from a Democrat (Who is Also a Christian)

WARNING: The following post is about politics. Well, kind of. Okay, mostly about the Church/the Body. If you don’t want to hear anything about politics in America—which I highly suggest you at least pay a wee-bit of attention to now more than ever—steer your mouses (mice?) away from today’s post. Love you, but you’ve been warned.

My fellow Americans, I’m one of you too. I’m also a, GASP, Democrat. And I’m also, DOUBLE GASP, a Christian man. That’s right, I’m a man of Christ, who very adamantly tries his best to follow Jesus’ teachings from his life and scripture, and I also at one time voted for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

If you think that last sentence is the end-all-be-all to me being a Christian, and I should “get my priorities straight” or “denounce my Christianity” and seek “the truth”, we need to talk.

A recent survey by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research says that 7 in 10 people, regardless of party, think America is losing its’ identity.

And whether you admit to it or not, that kind of split between quote, “Republican-minded, America-first, real Christianity” and “you-are-liberal-so-you-don’t-get-it, un-Christianity” is severely hurting the Church, and doing more damage than good for everyone.

See, I understand where you’re coming from if you really do believe in Jesus Christ, and are a Republican. Really, I do. We both worship the same God, after all, and if we put two and two together, we should both be reading intently and following the same guidelines laid out in the Bible. That book over there is His words, and it lives and fuels us! High fives all around—at the end of the day we both think Jesus is king, He rose from the grave, sacrificed his life for our sins, and has the amazing-beyond-human-capability to continue to love all of us, regardless of what we’ve done and whether we’re turning our backs or not.

middleamerica1
Corn, weeds and trees. Ah, Middle America. Original photo by: Michael Roach

I live in a conservative state in the heartland of Middle America. I’ve been around conservativism for a long time. I’ve been raised by it, molded by it (to a degree), and many of my friends and family are Republicans. That’s cool, and I respect that. In fact, I would even say I empathize and totally understand a lot of conservative values better than the average Democrat. You try living in the Midwest your whole life and pretend to not hear it and care for the people you love that believe in those values.

So I get that you care and yearn for a Christian America; a nation that is founded on the principals of God and scripture! I can’t argue with you that—if America was a Utopian Christian nation that somehow managed to follow a little more Christian principals—that would be a bad thing. I too, would be appreciative of that. Yet still, we gotta admit guys, one thing that seems to be a growing trend is this…animosity towards non-Christians and fellow Christians alike. It stemmed, in my estimation, from the rhetoric and divisiveness that came from the primaries, and one way or another absorbed into the Church.

All the sudden, if you’re Republican, you aren’t Christian. If you’re Democrat, you aren’t “real” Christian. And if you’re not even a believer, you are the problem in America that needs to be addressed, or, dare I say it, eliminated.

I’ve heard all that before. You have too. You probably have dealt with it on more than one occasion.

We should all take a look at Romans 12, though. Like…all of it. This is what Christ calls us to live for. Not mud-slinging, or trying to be higher than our brothers or sisters—whether they be in the Body or not. Here are some things to highlight, guys:

3For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. 4For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.”

Context: Members in the body are all different. None of us are the same, or serve the same function in the body, but we all belong together.

 “14Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.”

Context: People are going to persecute you, disagree with your beliefs, and hate on you all the time. That’s Christian life. But bless them anyway! Empathize with everyone, no matter what their position is or who they are. Conceit is what ruins a man or woman of Christ.

And that’s like, the tip of the iceberg.

We’re all different. It’s okay to believe different political ideologies, and be in different parties. But don’t forget our overall mission is to love, not to hate; to suffer with people’s afflictions, not to sling more dirt on their wounds; to serve the Most High and walk the path His Son put out for us as best as possible in our lives.

Yeah, we can all agree that America is divided.

A beautiful tapestry doesn’t start out all put together, though.

Written by: Michael “Bboy Roach1” Roach