Posted by: rmckinno1 | September 8, 2013

A New Journey Begins

Looking back, I see it has been what? Two and a half years since my last post? All I can say is “Wow”. So much for being the blogger I was aspiring to be. But perhaps, like so many other things in my life, all that I have done has been for motives that were unclear? In a manner that was not exactly “correct”?

Regardless, I felt the Lord whisper to my heart to begin blogging again. And if it is for no other reason than to put my thoughts and journey down to read again for myself so be it. The journey I have been on has been a long, hard, dry and thirsty road. It has been full of pain, sorrow and suffering. And that such as I never have experienced before!

But at the same time, I see a light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. I see that all that I have been through is being slowly and methodically brought about for good by a loving and tender God. Perhaps He has taken my tears and struggles and is in the process of weaving a tapestry of magnificence. Or simply showing me how crazy life can be and not to take anything for granted.

Today I am just ranting and raving. The next time I post it may be something more coherent. Who knows? Who knows when that will be? Today, I am simply trying to be obedient to do what He has directed me to do if I have heard Him correctly.

Regardless: may a new journey begin.

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Posted by: rmckinno1 | April 14, 2011

Living in a “friend-less” World

The name of the post sounds depressing, doesn’t it? I guess that it should, though. Because I’m coming to a place to see just how true it is, and the sadness I feel is deep.

One of the things that I have learned a great deal about through this ordeal I am walking through is how much I’ve needed honest, true, un-conditional support in the form of friendships.  I’m a people person. I like being around others in a social setting, church setting or ministry setting.

I can’t tell you the number of people who I considered friends who told me, “I’m praying for you”, or “I’m here for you”, or “You’re not alone, brother”. I could list so many more. The thing that shocked me is that out of all the “friends” I have, only two have walked the walk with me. Out of these two, only one contacted/contacts me almost daily.  This friend would call me if I didn’t call him to check in. He would call me if I had been a real jerk the last time we talked. He called me even when he was sick. He called me when HE wasn’t doing good at the moment. His commitment to “walk with me so that I wouldn’t be alone” was REAL.

Am I trying to make anyone feel guilty?  NO!!!  It’s just that I  found myself struggling with the understanding that we truly don’t have a clear understanding of what real friendship is like. I believe we (as a people) have equated “friendship” with “acquaintance”.

But friendship is so much more. Friendship is a commitment every bit as deep as blood relationships. Many times it’s even stronger!

It’s made it easier not to be hurt and angry at the “friend-less” place I found myself when all the people who said they were “with me” actually didn’t walk that out in a practical way. It’s also made me more determined than ever to BE a friend – a TRUE friend, and not to make the casual comments that should actually be commitments to the people around me.

However, one thing I’ve found out through this is that many people don’t really WANT a true friend. They like the safe, non-committal distance that acquaintance offers, where true friendship demands sacrifice and hard work.

And that’s ok for them if that’s where they are at. I still believe that everyone longs for it, but is not willing to put forth the hard work and effort it takes to develop a true, honest friendship. A wise man once said, “He who has one true friend is the richest man on earth.”

I’ve had a rough time with this. I’ve had so many people around me. I could have called any one of them at any time and they would have been very happy that I did. But I needed something more, I guess. And the sadness that haunts me is sometimes extremely painful.

I’ve held out on posting this for some reason, but after reading a post my brother sent out this morning I realized what my sadness was all about. I’m lonely. Desperately lonely. This has driven me more toward Jesus than ever before, but I still long for that relationship that is more than just marriage, blood or “spiritually” based.  Thanks, Fred, for opening my eyes further with your confession.

Posted by: rmckinno1 | January 13, 2011

Two Things That Will Eat You Alive:

I am learning something as I go through this trying time in my life: There are two things that will eat you alive.

1)     BITTERNESS/UN-FORGIVENESS: I guess these two are about the same thing, huh? I mean, isn’t it about impossible to be bitter toward someone if you have truly forgiven them? And is it possible to hold un-forgiveness in your heart toward a person and not have bitterness also?

    Regardless of whether they are synonymous or not, this will twist your mind. It will carry you to a dark place where all you do is search for who to blame. “Who is next on the list to get ticked off at?”

     It will cause you to lay there in your bed, rocking back and forth between anger and hurt, and each one simply leads to the other in an endless and vicious cycle that literally tears the fiber of your heart and spirit into pieces – the very thing you really, truly WANT to do to the person(s) you harbor these feelings for.

2)     DEPRESSION:  How many forms of depression are there, anyway? Let me count the ways. I believe I have gone through enough to write a book about. I still am.

     I guess the biggest thing that depression does to me is that it makes me totally lazy. I don’t want to cook, eat, sleep (because of the un-forgiveness/bitterness cycle above), clean my apartment, go out with friends, go to church, pray, study the word. I just want to “vegetate” in front of the TV or play stupid games on the computer. Something that doesn’t require real thinking.

     I am fighting the battle of my life right now. I can’t understand why all this is happening to me. I’ve done everything that I know to do, “supposedly” trusting God with my life. And still this is happening to me. And it looks very, very permanent.

     So the un-forgiveness/bitterness that I fight daily wants to turn its ugly head toward my God. I’ve given into it. I’ve asked “what’s the use of serving a God that will allow this to happen to me?”

     Of course, the end result is that I have not won this battle yet. But I’m fighting. I get knocked down right now more than I stay up. But you know what? I am going to keep getting up over and over again until I’m standing firm again.

     The words to a song I wrote many years ago come to mind:

I won’t lay down – no I won’t give in. I refuse to give myself to a life of sin. I won’t lay down – no I will stand my ground. I will shout it boldly – NO! – I won’t lay down.

MAY IT BE SO, LORD!

Posted by: rmckinno1 | January 3, 2011

Starting out the New Year

Happy new year! It’s been a while since I’ve blogged, but there is a real good reason for this. I have not been doing well. My heart and soul have struggled so much over the last eight months or so that I haven’t had much of a desire to do this.

But as this new year is here, I find myself again looking at my life and asking myself what I want to do different this year. One of the questions I’ve asked myself is “why do I blog when hardly anyone ever responds? What good is this?”

The answer is hard to grasp, but I have determined that perhaps it’s good that not many read this. I intend to use this as a journal this year – and much of what I put here will be personal and direct.  Don’t worry, I won’t be putting any of my deep dark secrets on here, but the two or three folk who have read this in the past are friends and family. If someone else reads this, perhaps they will be led here by God and something that is going on in my life/struggle will help him/her. Or perhaps they will be able to touch my life and help me in my own time of need.

In November of last year, my wife of nearly 18 years told me she wanted a separation. No matter what I did or said, she was determined that this is what she needed. So I moved out.

The months since then have been the worse I can remember in years. I am fighting bitterness, anger, hurt, depression and every other range of emotion imaginable. I am coming through it. I’m making it day by day. But I’ve also had to ask myself some incredibly hard questions. Many of those have yet to be answered.

So there is my goal for this year. This blog will be a record for how I am making it through this season of my life. Will it be permanent? Will it be temporary? What does God say about this in His word? If this becomes permanent, is there biblical room for me to re-marry? How am I supposed to act toward this woman I love, but has no room in her heart for me?

Grrrrrr! Too many questions! So I shall simply take another dose of aspirin, take a deep breath and take things one day at a time. One moment at a time. Capture life when I can, and not allow it to capture me. And spend as much time with my children as I can.

Lord, help me through this season in my life. May I walk through this fire in Your strength. May I display the love, mercy and forgiveness that You did when You walked on this earth as a man. Amen.

Posted by: rmckinno1 | May 19, 2010

What do You Believe?

I’m in a new place of my life – one that I have been in before, and will more than likely be here again many more times. But it’s still “new”.

What do I believe? Why do I believe it? Do I believe it because somebody told me it was right? Or do I believe it because I have sought God and believe that He has shown me by His Spirit that what I see/hear is right.

I was dying in the “denominational” setting and got born again in a charismatic setting. Since then I have believed in and flowed in the “gifts of the Holy Spirit”.

But now I am asking many questions about the gifts and their operation in the church today. So for any who actually read this, I would appreciate any prayer you could offer on my behalf when it comes to this subject.

I want to hear God – and nothing else. And if what I am hearing and receiving so far from Him is right, I’m in for a fight. And right now I just don’t know if I”m ready for that kind of reaction from the “church”.

Thanks for your thoughts . . . .  more to come later!

Posted by: rmckinno1 | January 13, 2010

A Parable . . . . . your thoughts encouraged.

“On a dangerous sea coast where shipwrecks often occur, there was once a crude little life-saving station. The building was just a hut, and there was only one boat, but the few devoted members kept a constant watch over the sea, and with no thought for themselves, went out day and night tirelessly searching for the lost. Some of those who were saved and various others in the surrounding area wanted to become associated with the station and gave of their time and money and effort for the support of its work. New boats were bought and new crews trained. The little life-saving station grew.

Some of the members of the life-saving station were unhappy that the building was so crude and poorly equipped. They felt that a more comfortable place should be provided as the first refuge of those saved from the sea. They replaced the emergency cots with beds and put better furniture in the enlarged building. Now the life-saving station became a popular gathering place for its members, and they decorated it beautifully because they used it as a sort of club. Fewer members were now interested in going to sea on life-saving missions, so they hired lifeboat crews to do this work. The life-saving motif still prevailed in the club’s decorations, and there was a liturgical life-boat in the room where the club’s initiations were held. About this time a large ship wrecked off the coast, and the hired crews brought in boat loads of cold, wet and half-drowned people. They were dirty and sick. The beautiful new club was in chaos. So the property committee immediately had a shower house built outside the club where victims of shipwrecks could be cleaned up before coming inside.

At the next meeting, there was a split among the club membership. Most of the members wanted to stop the club’s life-saving activities as being unpleasant and a hindrance to the normal social life of the club. Some members insisted upon life-saving as their primary purpose and pointed out that they were still called a life-saving station. But they were finally voted down and told that if they wanted to save lives of all the various kinds of people who were shipwrecked in those waters, they could begin their own life-saving station. So they did.

As the years went by, the new station experienced the same changes that had occurred in the old. It evolved into a club, and yet another life-saving station was founded. History continued to repeat itself, and if you visit that sea coast today, you will find a number of exclusive clubs along that shore. Shipwrecks are frequent in those waters, but most of the people drown.”

Posted by: rmckinno1 | December 8, 2009

The Depravity Called “Me” – part 3

So, I have established that there are two truths about me. I have established that I am wretched and blessed at the same time. I am strong and weak, carnal and spiritual. And for most of my Christian life I have struggled to walk in a right fashion before my God to the best of my ability and had to fight the absolute shame of the “Depravity Called Me”.

I have fallen so much. I have attempted to “work out my salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12). I have labored to “lay aside” all the crud that is in my heart (James 1:21) and the “sin that so easily ensnares me” (Hebrews 12:1). And like Paul, I have wanted to do the right thing but done the exact opposite – the very thing I didn’t want to do.

But God’s grace has made provision for me. I have finally resigned myself to the fact that it is God, Himself, who does the work. He provides the faith. He is truly in control!

Now for those of you who may read this who would argue the “God is in control” point, let me say that I realize we have a part to play in this. I used to say that “God is in control to the extent that we allow Him to be”. But even that is changing. I have learned from personal experience lately that if you give God an inch HE will make a mile out of it!

You see, God is the “author and the finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2). He is the one who BEGAN a good work in me, and HE is the one who is able to COMPLETE/FINISH it (Philippians 1:6). He is the one who is able to KEEP me (John 17:11, 15 & Jude 1:24) from stumbling, from the evil one and all of this “through HIS name”! NOT mine. NOT my works. NOT my failures.

So when I’ve failed; when I’ve messed up royally and shame rolls upon me like waves on the shore, I have an anchor for my soul. It relies on the promise that God is not through with me. It tells me that (even though I’ve messed up) His grace is sufficient. His mercy is new for me each day. I wasn’t able to make myself righteous by all my hard labor. Jesus’ death on the cross was the only thing that made me righteous. HE IS THE PROVISION!

 

This hope that God is at work, loves me and will keep me is an anchor that goes beyond the veil of my limited understanding and is held by God to keep my soul at peace (Hebrews 6:19).

 

What a fantastic, freeing, amazing, wonderful, liberating, weight-lifting, merciful, gracious and holy way to live life. Not simply “existing” – simply trying to make it through another day until we can make it to the other side one day. But living each moment of each day in the hands of the Master.

 

 

Be free.

Selah . . .

Posted by: rmckinno1 | December 7, 2009

The Depravity Called “Me” – part 2

Sorry, but I probably won’t get to the “secret” today. Instead I’m feeling led to give another example from the scripture about my depravity, and face a doctrine that was instilled in me years ago about it. The scripture I’m talking about it Romans 7.

Romans 7:14-25
14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. 15 For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. 16 If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. 17 But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. 19 For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. 20 Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.

21 I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. 22 For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 I thank God — through Jesus Christ our Lord!
NKJV

For many years now I have believed a “doctrine” that teaches that in this scripture, Paul is drawing a line between his “before Christ” experience and his “after being born again and filled with the Holy Spirit” experience. He was NOT describing himself in Romans 7 because he was no longer “sold under sin”. He was ransomed by the blood of the lamb. He was no longer “wretched”, but he was a “son of God – the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus”.

Ok. I can believe that Paul was all the things this doctrine claims. But you know what? He STILL had his “thorn in the flesh”. He still talked about being an earthen vessel. He still talked about the day when he would be able to lay aside the body of the flesh. He still talked about having to put to death the things of the flesh. He still talked about having to take up your cross daily. He still . . . ..

I could go on with that, but why? It’s evident that even though we were purchased from darkness and translated to a kingdom of light, we still will have to crucify the flesh. We still will have to realize that, while we are here on this earth, we will have two ways of thinking – carnal and spiritual. We will live out lives in earthen vessels, and sometimes we will walk more “earthen” than “heavenly”.

Paul was talking about himself. Perhaps he was talking about BOTH time frames. I’m not sure. I just believe that he was saying that “in the now” there were times he truly wanted to do the right thing but ended up doing the wrong one.

What a source of encouragement to me that one as holy and honored as Paul also messed up, too! He described himself going through the same exact thing that I have to struggle with, and what a blessing to see what he was able to accomplish even with that truth – “The Depravity called ‘Paul’ ” staring him in the face.

So how is a guy supposed to handle this situation? How is it that we can look at this tug-of-war going on in our lives and come out the winner? How can I walk a day being pulled like that and stay sane?

GOD’S GRACE.

More to follow . . .

Posted by: rmckinno1 | December 4, 2009

The Depravity Called “Me”

Interesting title, isn’t it? Kind of catchy? Kind of attention-getting?

Maybe. But FULL OF TRUTH.

There are two truths about me. The first truth is this:

I am a wretched man. I am weak, carnal, selfish, full of faults, very much un-lovable, a worm, undeserving of anything but the prize of hell itself. And the funny thing about it is that I am totally, one hundred percent unable to do anything at all about it.

Here is the second truth:

I am a blessed man. I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. I am strong, well able,  spiritual,  full of God’s ability – being made perfect by and in Him, loved beyond understanding, a son of the Most High and heir to the prize, benefits and rewards of heaven itself. And the funny thing is that I didn’t do a thing to ever deserve that.

What separates these two truths is one thing: the death, burial and resurrection of my Lord and savior Jesus Christ. The only thing “I” did was accept it. All I could do is “receive” what He did on my behalf.

I have tried for most all my christian walk to make changes in my life that were wrong – things that indicted me as being in sin. So much of frustration and sorrow has come from that.

But I have discovered a truth that has changed all that. I have discovered a provision from God, Himself that makes me free from the frustration, sorrow, failure and despair that has been right in front of me all along – memorized and quoted, “claimed”, proclaimed, preached . . . . and yet never fully understood until recently.

What is this truth?

I hope to blog on that very soon!

Posted by: rmckinno1 | October 15, 2009

The Good Samaritan

Remember that story? Anyone who’s ever been in church for any amount of time has probably heard the story about the good Samaritan. But just in case . . . .

A certain man was on the way to Jericho from Jerusalem and thieves attacked him, stripped him naked, beat and wounded him and left him half dead on the side of the road. A preacher came by on the way to Jerusalem (probably heading to revival or something) and saw this man. Instead of helping he walked to the other side of the road to avoid him.

Later on a Levite (modern times we would call him a praise and worship leader) came by and saw him as well. He, also walked to the other side of the road to avoid him.

Finally, this normal guy – a Samaritan – came by and had compassion on him. He picked the naked man up, put him on his donkey and took him to a hotel in town. He nursed the man, treating his wounds and feeding him.

He, also, was apparently very busy. He couldn’t delay his schedule any longer, so he paid in advance to have the man taken care of out of his own pocket and went his own way.

Check this out:  Apparently the man who was attacked was a Jew. His own people not only didn’t help him, but went to extra effort to AVOID him. Why did they walk to the other side of the road?? Who knows?

But the Samaritan? Here was a man who knew that the Jews despised him because of his race. He wasn’t a Jew. It was a racial thing here. He knew that this man in the ditch was a Jew, and therefore that this man HATED him.

But he still helped him. He had compassion – and it welled up from deep inside him. Even though this man knew he was despised and hated by this wounded person he still helped. He knew that he would receive nothing for this act of kindness. He realized that there was even a chance that the man would curse him for even attempting to touch him! Yet he did it anyway.

How about us? How do we respond to people who (for no good reason) despise us? If anything, the Samaritan had a “right” to move to the other side of the road. It would be an “understandable” display of “you deserve this” . . .

But he didn’t. The very people who DECLARE that they are righteous are the ones who left him to die. Their act of avoidance was salt in the wounds. It was the same thing as beating him further. Murder.

We all have people in our lives who have hurt us. Some are still hurting us. Some people despise a person for the color of their skin, their religion, their appearance . . . the list could go on and on. But are we at a place in our lives where we would be moved with holy compassion for a person who hates us for no good reason?

What about Muslim extremists? What about racism? What about when the Mormons or Jehovah’s Witness comes to the door? What about  . . . . . ?

Hmmmmm . . .

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