Tag Archives: Jesus

Jesus Cristo Resucitó!

Buenos noches, compadres.

Jesus died, and he rose from the dead.  Incidentally that was not so impressive during that time.  People “died” all the time and then “woke up” or were “revived.”  Maybe they weren’t dead in the modern sense of the word, let’s give them the benefit of the doubt.  Let’s say they really died and they really rose from their deaths in obedience to God.  The Bible features people that were not Jesus being resurrected by Jesus and his gang. For me to believe in the Bible, it means that I have to believe that people that were not fully God were dead and brought back to life. For you to believe in the resurrection, you don’t have to give full credence in the Bible, but I think one belief begets another.

So what then?  If rising from the dead is just a parlor trip, what does Jesus have to do with it?  Anyone can come alive again.  Why is he so special?

The question of why Jesus is special makes me chuckle.  If you cast aside that which appears to be mysticism – like the virgin birth – the miracles – his bravery and his speech set him aside.  He is clever, able to answer any question but able to keep the information to himself when it is the right thing to do.  He is never and always appropriate – he listens to his mother – even thought it’s not His time-  and makes all this wine from plain water.  He mouths off to the high priest when He could have just let the subject drop (and save his life) and finds himself convicted of blasphemy.  He gets an adulterous woman’s charges dropped and her would-be-executioners stones to drop.  I’ve heard the argument that he was having religious delusions.  I don’t know your background, but I’ve been around people with religious delusions.  They go around talking about demons or mistake family members for John the Baptist.  They don’t banter and they can’t form cognoscente sentences, let alone reply to questions about their beliefs.  Things just are.

In my time and space in the hospital, I encountered two deeply religious people.  I do not count myself a deeply religious person in the hospital because I do not want to get in trouble and have “pre-occupation with religious pursuits” written again on my records.  I bring my Bible, but don’t draw anyone out in to conversation.  If I was asked, I would speak about my beliefs and Jesus, but mostly I keep it to myself.

Of those two people, there was one I would call crazy.  She came and told the nurse I was talking to that there were demons at the edge of her bed.  The nurse asked her compassionate yet probing questions and I promised to pray for her.  Then I cracked up inside until I saw her hands, which looked like they had been washed over and over again.  It sounds like OCD, but I have OCD and I never wash my hands.  (Good to know next time I want to share nachos with you!)

The non-crazy guy was a devout Muslim.  He was a big guy – hefty.  Not blubbery, but if he was not in the wheelchair he could have been intimidatingly large.  He once took a butcher’s knife and stabbed himself in the belly, narrowly missing any sort of vital organ.  He thanked Allah for his protection and for the car accident that made him meek.  He prayed every few hours in his room.  He would dismiss himself from listening to music with us during (big waste of my time) music therapy time.  His life aligned with his beliefs, even if the chemicals in his body were off-kilter.  A suicide attempt that does not mean someone is crazy.  He was devout believer; I did not see him as nuts.  I considered him to be closer in line with Jesus’ actions than the poor, tortured girl.  I don’t believe good medicine could fix the Muslim man.  The girl?  Maybe she was being teased by the demons.  But maybe they hadn’t found the right anti-psychotic.  

And I can say that because I take the right anti-psychotic.  

Tomorrow I will talk about the empty tomb.  Tonight I need to have a bowl of cereal and my medications and go to bed.

Shout out to my homey, T, in Las Vegas tonight – hey baby, keep losing that change!

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Christian stuff. Rated G, but don’t say I didn’t warn ya.

I used to teach developmentally disabled high school students. One family hand-picked me as their daughter’s teacher. I found her to be a difficult child to work with, probably slightly because she was smart enough to be aware of her limits. Imagine the frustration. Anyway, at a parent teacher conference, the parents said they wanted her physical, mental, emotional and spiritual needs met. It was clear to just about everyone at the table we only had so many hours in the school day to do that. After a lot of prayer, I called her mom and told her I was on staff at a church youth group, and I didn’t want to overstep boundaries, but, did her daughter want to come?

She did. The other kids (mostly) liked her, and some loved her. One kinda punk kid told a leader he could see God shining through her. She brought something special to the group and was also difficult for me to handle. We went to camp with us where I had to help her shower. She needed a lot of sleep and I needed to make sure she got it. I loved her, but she could be a real pain.

Since then, the family adopted two boys out of the foster care system, started going to church all the time. My husband talked to the dad and he said he was an agnostic. The mom was one of those “spiritual” but not “religious” types. They were generous and patient people.

Lately, the dad had taken to printing vibrant Bible verses on his facebook page almost every single day. I didn’t know what to think of it. I was encouraged, but it also made me wonder what was going on.

I got this on my Facebook wall today:

Father of former student
Hi Malakoa, Every day I am thankful for you and your bringing (their developmentally disabled daughter) to church and thus us to Christ! My daughter wanted me to say Hi So Hi From Her.

This short message turned me inside out with joy. I wrote back:

Malakoa
Your joy gives me goose-bumps. Thank you for your kind message and all the generosity and love you all have shown me and my family. Tell your daughter hi and a high-five back.

One of my favorite verses in the Bible is from the third book of John. (It’s a letter that the apostle John wrote to encourage the Greeks.)
3 John, 1-4 “I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth.”

I’ve been talking about joy for the last ten days and I am thrilled to have this be the last page of this project.

“Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice!”


Sad – PG-13

Even though I’ve written here angrily and had violent fantasies, it is rare for me to get really passionately hateful about things like I used to.  Once upon a time I’d see a bumper sticker I didn’t like:  “He’s not my president” or “My other toy has t*ts” and I’d fantasize about having a sack of grenades in the pack of my car so I could bite the pin and toss it into the bed or their truck or their unfortunately (for them) open back windows.  Although I can be hateful and unpleasant, I’m no where near where I used to be.  It’s nice, actually, to have that passion cooled.  But it does still come up.  Just rarely.

Now instead of mad, I get sad.  Sometimes I’m too busy being sad that I forget why I am sad.  It’s like the man in the Little Prince who is drinking to forget.  What is he trying to forget?  He is trying to forget he is drinking.

What makes me sad?  It really makes me sad to hear about parents hitting their kids.  More than that, though, is to hear them giggling about the swats and switches.  Dave Ramsey even described the punishment he bilked out as a “beating”.  Then he went ahead, in almost the same breath, about how precious his son was to him and how he could slightly understand how God felt for Him own son.  Dave Ramsey:  weird.  Who’s going to come to Christ with such a weird introduction?  It makes me sad to read about elected officials who do bizarre things that cost them their position.

I’m not that sad today, though.  Feeling a little pressured about my work schedule.  I forgot what it meant to work five days a week, even if it is just in the morning.  I don’t have the kind of job I can coast for a day or two if my health requires it.  It’s all or nothing baby.  Let’s see how I survive.

**********

I have lost 24.7 pounds.  Is that impressive?  I can’t believe I did it.  Not out of some self-loathing.  It’s just that I lost nearly 25 pounds without truly noticing it.  My pants are loose.  That’s about all I’ve noticed.  No one has even said anything to me.  Which is okay, I suppose.  I read once that, “Gasp!  You’ve lost weight” is an uncivilized away of saying, “Boy, were you fat!”  No one wants that.  Even someone who’s lost 100+ pounds.  But I’ve only lost 25.  What do I know?


a beautiful brother.

My brother is on the cover of Men’s Health this month.  Well, not exactly, of course, but they look alike enough that friends are calling.

I wanted a sister and when my brother was born I asked them to send him back.  We fought a lot.  My mom basically ignored it.  She wouldn’t hear our petty arguments and jealousies, except when I purposely made my brother cry by saying mean things to him.  He would cry; Mom would call out, “Malakoa” angrily and I would respond, “I didn’t touch him!”  What a jerk I was.  Luckily we made it to adulthood relatively unscathed.  Now we are one of each other’s best friends and know we can bounce things off each other that no one else could understand.  “Is mom being crazy?” “Are these shoes out of style?” and before we both married, “Well…  what do you think?”

But back to his beauty.  What ever your opinion about Tom Cruise is fine, I don’t care, but he’s known to be hot, and when my brother was young everyone said he looked just like him.  Devastating.  He curled a little fet-lock in to the front of his hair every morning.  I thought it was bizarre.  I never knew how to take care of myself until I was in my late twenties.  Some how it came easily to him.

When he moved to L.A. to go to school, a man once asked him for an autograph, mistaken for either a guy from Dawson’s Creek or 90210.  When we went out people stared at us, trying to figure out exactly who he was.  (My best guess, maybe they were staring at the toilet paper attached to my shoe.)

We know that “Charm is deceitful, beauty is vain”  Surprisingly, this didn’t puff my brother up like it would someone else.  My grandmother was also a great beauty.  She looked like Gloria Swanson when she was younger, and says she had a better body than the waitresses at Hooters.  (I did not request that information).  As she got older and looked more like a grandma than a movie star she took it hard.  My brother didn’t take too much stock in it because he didn’t want that to happen to him.

The second part of the verse is this:  But a woman who fears the Lord shall be praised.  I am not the kind of girl you’d point out as being ugly, but am more “cute” than “beautiful”.  That’s fine with me for now.  But in all those wishes for a sister, I never thought about what that would mean if she were born this great beauty and I was born myself.  I was eighteen before I realized that would be so.  If I think about it, when I went to concerts where my brother (did I mention he’s a musician?) played there was a look of letdown when I wasn’t Cindy Crawford.  I honestly didn’t think too much about it, but I know if I had a sister like that, whoa!  I couldn’t stand dealing with that.

Which brings us to the next question:  Am I a woman who fears the Lord?   I honestly hope so, but can’t say for sure. Maybe Mr. Malakoa or some of my Bible study cohorts could tell you better than I.  I  can be charming, but I try to be more open than charming.  I don’t think transparency goes with charm and I make every effort to be transparent.  I think before I became a Christian I was quite charming, if I remember correctly.  I used it to get whatever I wanted.  I try not to do so now, but it is so effective!  And it is deceitful.  Without saying a word, sometimes, I promise things that I have no intention to deliver.

So that’s me for today.  The moral of all this is to be balanced in self-assessments so the second half of your life is a huge disappointment, and don’t be a jerk like I was (am.)  Not great writing today, but we’ll get back to ‘normal’ (hah ahah ahahahah) later this week.


Calling for God

I got this prayer from a site called “Sacred Space”.  It’s run by the Irish Jesuits and that site always serves to calm me.

The more we call on God
the more we can feel God’s presence.
Day by day we are drawn closer
to the loving heart of God.

Your death on the cross has set me free.
I can live joyously and freely
without fear of death.
Your mercy knows no bounds.

I remind myself that I am in the presence of the Lord.
I will take refuge in His loving heart. He is my strength in times of weakness. He is my comforter in times of sorrow….

What feelings are rising in me as I pray and reflect on God’s Word? I imagine Jesus himself sitting or standing near me and open my heart to him.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end.

The part of today’s devotion that moved me the most is not only that he is my comforter in times of sorrow – there isn’t a person reading here that feelings that way at least a little bit.  What moved me is that His death on the cross has set us free.  I haven’t felt like that these days.  I’ve felt burdened, pushed around and even overwhelmed.  I am not experiencing the freedom I have in Christ, I’m not taking on His yoke, which is easy and burden is light, I’m just feeling self-centered.  I don’t care about my relationship with God these days.  I still pray and lead a Bible study but am not allowing Him to connect with me in a real way.  I’m just not up to it, I tell myself.  I know enough about the Bible to live victoriously.  And it’s true, I know a lot about the Bible, but I’m not getting nourished because I’m not making the effort to spend real time with the Holy Spirit, His arms are not tight around me, of if they are, I’m ignoring the experience.

I am blessed because His mercy knows no bounds, and when I lift up my Bible tonight to study and learn more about the best man the world has ever known, I count on God to meet me there.  He wants to be with me and touch my face.  He wants me to pour out all of the troubles I’ve been having and show me how to handle them.  Then he will be the one next to me as I walk forward to do all he’s teaching me to do.

I might screw it all up, though.  But that’s the beauty of it all.  I’m going to screw up and be reconnected with Him in a new way.  None of these struggles with work and marriage are too tough for God to lift me through it.  That doesn’t mean he’s going to heal my relationship or give me  a good paying job, but it will make me better understand what is means for Him to “be with you until the end of the age.”

death on the cross has set me free.
I can live joyously and freely
without fear of death.
Your mercy knows no bounds.


Just a quick note

A dear reader commented that the Bible is essentially gibberish to those who don’t believe. (Or something like that.) Cool. That’s fine with me, however: The Bible is considered wisdom literature, not just by me, but all sorts of scholar, professors, anthropologist. I quote frequently from it because it is what I believe to be fact, but I don’t think you have to believe it is factual to understand or even relate to what I am talking.

I think of it like this: Your dad might be a really cool, smart, wise guy. You might tell me something he said and I’d think, “Cool, I appreciate his insight.” I can do this without knowing your dad at all, or even that he exists. He might be a wife beater for all I know, but if he is a bad/good/neutral guy his opinions and insights may be valuable. Such is the Bible. You don’t have to believe in any sort of God to learn from it.

I also use the Bible to show where I am coming from. I believe this (like the examples of the blessings of servant-hood) and a good portion of my life reflects the teachings. Okay, not a good-portion, maybe a whole lot less, but it is who I strive to be, the dream is for my whole life to be an imitation of Christ’s. Jesus is not my home-boy, he’s my father and Savior. It would be very difficult to talk about my healing or path without talking about who He is and all He has done for me. I also really want to dispel the myths that a walk along the Jesus road is simple, taken on with an un-examined eye and without any sacrifice. I struggle with my God and I struggle with my illnesses. It’s a personal experience I am sharing with a great hope that you will be helped.

That said: This blog is not an evangelic forum and will not become one any time soon. I hope you are blessed and enriched and learn from it, but have no delusions (well, not a whole lot of them) that I will become the Billy Graham of the internet. I’m just Malakoa. And that’s all for today.