No Help Wanted

Something wicked
This way comes
It’s behind the shower curtain
Run run run

Something wicked
This way comes
It’s underneath the table
Run run run

Something wicked
This way comes
It’s crawling in the wall
Run run run

Something wicked
This way comes
It’s crouching round the door
Run run run

Something wicked
This way comes
It’s waiting to devour you
Run run run

Something righteous
This way comes
It’s holding up a mirror
Dumb dumb dumb

Something righteous
This way comes
Put your fingers in your ears
Hum hum hum

Copyright 2016. L.L. Shelton

Arrival

Here am I.
I’m so confused.
Standing here wondering
What more have I to lose…

My only hope,
To comprehend
How this came to be
And the purpose in His hand.

I need to know.
My drug’s the clarity I seek.
When I find it for a moment
I can scarcely breathe;

Everything is slowed.
Whirlwind ride that’s killing me,
Brought to a pause and I
See Whom I believe.

Copyright 2016, L.L. Shelton

Binding Lessons

Grow! Grow!
You shouted,
As your fingers crushed
The delicate blossom.

Live! Live!
You screamed,
As your hands strangled
Away all the air.

Be glad! Be glad!
You insisted,
As your sneer wiped clean
A wisp of a smile.

Be light! Be light!
You demanded,
As your feet stomped out
Faint glow of embers.

Be full! Be full!
You commanded,
As your words emptied
Last crumbs from the bowl.

Copyright 2016, L.L. Shelton

Prayer For Bread

My Beloved Father in Heaven,

Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to make this plea in a public place for I hope that it will find a home in the hearts of others who want these same things for which I pray.

Please forgive me when I fail you and provide me the strength to be more nearly representative of you each day.

By your Grace, please allow that I am never made to stand against my fellow human being, ever. Yet if it must be, grant me the fortitude to bear it.

By your Grace, allow me rather in spite of all my human frailty to forgive, and yet in Truth to uphold your mercy and your justice knowing and accepting you to be the judge of souls and that your’s is the only legitimate judgement; giving me leave to enjoy others in both loving fellowship and loving witness and permitting me the discernment to realize the difference.

By your Grace, please allow my human American brothers within and outside of The Faith sight, that we may continue to imagine a pure vision free of the persecution of one another, and full of love for one another as human beings created in your image.

By your Grace, allow America to continue in true wisdom and to provide a secure home in which all have opportunity to worship you freely; a home for the weak, the downtrodden, and the oppressed- though it be of great cost to us, and do continue your blessing upon us and make a great human family of us in spite of our diversity and because of our commonalities.

By your Grace, My Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.

2017, L.L. Shelton

Moments With The Dark Lord

I don’t know how long I’ve hated death.  I know that having some innate comprehension of the sacred nature of the living, I’ve never wanted to squash a bug.

I know that I hated death one night when I was small and stood under a dark velvet sky that glittered with stars as I watched my strong tall daddy hunched over a shovel by the deep hole he had dug, crying over our big brown dog, Spook.  I had heard them speak of Spook as though he were a nurturer of sorts- keeping my baby brother and me from the road.  I think I was four.

I know I’ve hated it since the time, not long after the death of our large lumbering canine, when I rescued an injured young squirrel from the street in front of my great-grandmother’s house on South Main and had to get a tetanus shot after the little frightened critter bit my finger.  I don’t think the tiny guy made it.

I know I’ve despised it since the day I came home from school to find our ridiculusly plump dachshund, Sambo, on our concrete patio with a broken back. He lay under a bicycle that had fallen over on him.

Sambo had once saved me from the bite of a copperhead when we were walking the gravel roads of my visionary grandfather’s real estate development, Rolling Hills.  As we journeyed along, somehow the decision was made to momentarily abandon the straight way and make a path for ourselves to the crystal clear running stream below.

The snake we happened upon as we made our way toward the bubbling brook was poised to strike at my ankle as I lifted a foot to take one more step, and faithful little Sambo barked and lunged. He took the hit for me- just above his eye. The venom nearly brought the black angel that very evening but my small loyal friend was granted a reprieve. I’d like to think I prayed for him, but honestly I don’t remember.

I hated death the day I flushed my shimmering striped Tiger Barb down the toilet, after carefully assuring it that the punishment was oh-so-sadly necessary as it was a bully and had relentlessly tormented my Angel fish by nipping at their fins until they could no longer swim properly, and finally succumbed to the end themselves.

I passionately abhorred The Grim Reaper when I arrived at my Granny’s house on Sanderson Lane one summer,  I may have been eight or nine.   After anticipating for days being reunited with my tiny silky-soft unassuming bunny, a grand gift from my great-aunt, I found an empty hutch and listened to my Granny tell the story of a large German shepherd over turning the habitat and destroying the lovely quiet creature.

I’ve hated death since the day I was told that a little girl from my Brownie troop had been hit by a car while riding her bike and hadn’t made it.  I shouldn’t expect to be seeing her on the school bus anymore.  I had not liked her because she was unkind to me and now I would never have the chance to try to understand why and to maybe make  friends.

I’ve hated death since I was a senior in high school and served on my school’s student council with a young man who was killed in a car wreck on his way home from prom, only one day following our trip to purchase items for our upcoming graduation. He would never have the opportunity to graduate, nor to get married and have a family. He would never be able to prove us right that he was “most likely to succeed.”  He would never have the chance for so many ordinarily beautiful things.

The disdain I felt for death as a young woman stood in sharp contrast to the sunny weather of South Florida, when we buried my smiley nephew.  He had been adopted from Korea in his infancy by his parents only three years earlier, a darling boy with laughing eyes and a shiny future.  He was lost to them in a moment.

The automobile accident that took my nephew happened beside the friendly little church where his family spent much of their time, and where we said our final farewells before making our way to the cemetery where we would lay his body to rest beneath the stately Live Oaks.

I faced death with tremendous fury on a recent night in December when it came to visit in my own driveway.  We had barely placed the final flourishes on our annual family gingerbread house competition entries, and done the obligatory snacking on the candy treats not used in the creation of the mostly outstanding  craft works.  The tiny structures were proudly displayed in our warm colorful kitchen.

We were amusedly bantering about the selection of this year’s winner as we saw the older children out on their way to their own homes, when The Dark Lord came calling.  He came in the middle of our jovial Walton styled, “I love yous,” which we call out at every parting though we all live in the same city.  He came suddenly and swiftly to claim my gentle generous son-in-love; to treacherously rip him from my daughter’s arms and from the newly budding life of my grandson.  He came and in minutes stole an essential ten year chunk of our families existence.  All this, and he made no apologies- offered no remorse for so quickly and thoroughly disrupting our lives, then leaving us dismayed with hearts broken.

I don’t know if I have despised death since I was four or longer even, maybe since before God put me here, but I know I loathe death now as I contemplate the last breath of my stepfather who was part of my life for thirty-four years.  He was a man who once spent more than one hundred consecutive days in a foxhole in the Philippines surrounded by enemy fire to protect our nation and to preserve our freedom.  He was eighteen at the time. They eventually gave him a bronze star.

Papa’s final exchange of carbon dioxide for oxygen marked the end of an earthly relationship that loomed large for me.  Our relationship included many a lively conversation covering a wide array of interests and topics, including theology and what eventually became our shared Christian Faith.  The fellowship was one I will always treasure, one in which I enjoyed a sense of security, affection, and mutual respect.  Mostly he blessed me by loving my mother so well.   We will bury his worn out ninety year old body tomorrow in the cold January morning.

I would be lying if I said that over time and with greater maturity I believe death may become more palatable to me.  I think it will always remain as horribly distasteful as ever.  Still, though I detest The Dark Lord,  I am comforted today because I know that death is not  allowed  the final word.  I realize that though death is a kind of terrible end, it is at the same moment a prelude to a new and beautiful beginning.  I am possessed of a strange peace as I am fully assured that those who kiss The Son will live again, and will live truly and forever.

Copyright 2017. L.L. Shelton.

Always Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide, Part 2

Have you heard the one about the psychotic and the neurotic?  The psychotic  knows that two plus two equals five.  The neurotic knows that two plus two equals four, but he worries about it.  There’s an education is this bit of humor!

All people come into the world with the assigned conscience to assist them in recognizing what is good and what is bad, according to God’s design, and to help them to make the appropriate choice about the action they should take in any circumstance.

In addition to the abuse of conscience described in part one of this essay- ignoring and refuting it in an effort to keep it quiet, there is a  misuse of one’s God-given conscience, and that is to overload it with falsehoods.

There are some who enter life genetically wired for excessive anxiety. Often, particularly in these people, the conscience is additionally burdened  by unnecessary or excessive shame and guilt, produced by what is (in raw form) dishonesty. Those who are consistently mistreated in this life also tend toward this phenomena.

How does one overload or misuse his or her conscience? One does so by exchanging the Truth of these three things for lies:

1. The Genuine Existence of God
2. The Authentic Character of God
3. The Justice System of God

Yes, by refusing to adhere to the Truth of the same three things brought out in part one of this essay, a person can misuse and overload his or her conscience.

In effect, the person who has been seriously misused, injured, traumatized- whether once or continually, is subject to doing the same to his or her own conscience by neglecting to nurture the Truth.

This disregard is different than that brought out in part one, because it is rooted in fear rather than pride. The owner of the conscience is too often persuaded by his or her learned and habitual inner conversation, by his or her natural self (humanity, sin nature, or flesh), or (probably rarely) by a direct demonic influence to ignore the Truth about God in favor of lies produced by fear.

The extraordinary events of abuse that many experience are certainly enough to cause even the very strongest to doubt, to worry, and eventually to engage in the fear-driven practice of trading the Truth for a lie. In these instances, however, much of the exchange is the result of unnecessary or excessive shame and guilt and the destructive force is aimed inward toward the self rather than outward toward others, though the emotional chaos produced in such circumstances causes these people many personality problems (dilemmas in their style of inter-relating with other people), often wreaking havoc in their relationships.

This type of consistent abiding practice of exchanging the Truth for a lie results in something known in the medical and mental health community as a neurotic-a neurotically disturbed or disordered personality. The lies the neurotic often subscribes to are those associated with doubting God’s existence and His Sovereignty, doubting God’s goodness, doubting God’s justice.  For example:  “If God existed he would never allow this,” “God is not big enough to fix this,” “Because this happened God is not fair,” “God can’t help me,” “God is against me,” “God is paying me back,” “I’m so horrible God can’t even see me,” “God could never forgive me,” “Surely God couldn’t love me.” These are all lies from the pit of hell.

The neurotic is often functional but some become dysfunctional if there is little to no awareness of the issue and no appropriate available behavioral educational help. (Pharmaceutical aid is not offered to treat a personality disturbance or disorder at this time, but the symptoms of depression and anxiety that often accompany the situation are treatable with specific drugs.)

Interestingly, a person with a certain type of disturbed or disordered personality will sometimes cross into the territory belonging to those with a disturbed or disordered character, in other words- the genuinely psychotic.

I theorize that this can happen to a neurotic as a natural result of receiving little to no assistance with the personality disturbance or disorder; therefore creating greater and more persistent problems for himself or herself (particularly in human to human relationship), and eventually being rendered less and less capable of living productively, as well as being encouraged by the worsening situation to develop further asocial traits and methods of dealing with others, the person, consumed with anger and frustration may find stifling the conscience preferable to mis-using it.

The neurotic possesses a wounded conscience. The psychotic is the owner of a stone-cold dead conscience and a disturbed or a disordered character, even the little that he or she had has been taken away.  This means that the psychotic’s style of inner-relating (relating to the self) is irrational and unrealistic at best and evil at worst. This person is the ultimate character disturbed, anti-social type; some becoming what is referred to in the mental health community as a sociopath or a psychpath.  The terms are basically interchangable as one is used by those who believe nurture to be the primary force in shaping the character and the other is used by those believing that nature and nurture play a nearly equally important role in the foundation of the character.  (It should be noted here that one may experience temporary psychosis as a result of chemical imbalances in the brain brought on by illness or illicit drug use, etc, and this does not make him or her a psychotic character.  In addition, many chemical imbalances in the brain, producing illness and psychosis are treatable.)

It is obvious then, that for one to enjoy optimal mental health, one must recognize, accept, and encourage Truth. The conscience must be awakened, educated, and inspired to grow correctly. This is the beginning to becoming an individually redeemed soul.  The Truth shall set you free!

The one who never experiences this revelation of conscience will never reach that place where God will make plain not only the Truth of His existence, character, and justice system, but the Truth of His Son, Jesus Christ, as Savior in the face of these realities!*

Notably, George K. Simon, Jr., Ph.D., has done a beautiful job of further explanation and giving  socially acceptable and academically responsible language to the subject matter found here and in our Bibles (particularly in the book of Romans) in the book he authored: Character Disturbance, The Phenomenon of Our Age.

Again, I admonish us to take God seriously, and to begin by applying to our ordinary daily lives the basic realities of our existence, those put forth in The Holy Word of God.

*The sensible reader will comprehend that there are most probably exceptions in the cases of those who never reach an age of accountability or who are rendered mentally incompetent by some force or circumstance of nature completely beyond their control.

Copyright 2017. L.L. Shelton

Always Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide


How does one arrive at a disturbed character? This is not a rhetorical question. One arrives at a disturbed character by continually ignoring three things:

1. The Genuine Existence of God
2. The Authentic Character of God
3. The Justice System of God

The Bible tells us clearly that every human is equipped with a conscience and that the conscience is there to point him or her toward God; to reveal His very genuine existence as well as His authentic character, and to make obvious His definition of right and wrong- His system of justice.

The Scriptures also tell us that the man or woman who does not see any benefit in retaining this knowledge of conscience will eventually be possessed of the depraved mind that is left to him or to her.  The Bible tells us that this depraved mind is capable of all types of evil- probably beyond what some who have thoroughly nurtured the conscience are capable of imagining.

This depraved mind is the one that displays the disturbed or disordered character; this mind is held captive by a system of belief that has developed a set of core values (to direct the soul)  that is selfish to the degree of being diabolical. This mind is the antithesis of the mind of God, if you will allow, an anti-Christ.

How does one keep himself or herself from arriving at this reprehensible state?This also is not a rhetorical question. The answer is evident. One must continually nurture belief in the three things one’s conscience has been designed to bring to attention:

1. The Genuine Existence of God
2. The Authentic Character of God
3. The Justice System of God

From the beginning, each and every time one is situationally placed so that it is necessary to purposely acknowledge these three things one must be made to do so- forced by his or her own will to acknowledge the conscience or by the will of an earthly authority figure such as a parent, a teacher, or other official to do so as the conscience must be the arbitrator of what many theologians refer to as common grace; and the truly converted under specific grace if  momentarily and specifically submissive, shall be aided further by yielding to the will of The Holy Spirit of God within the self so accessing the wisdom and power available to him or her.

The person who consciously and continually engages in an effort to refute or to silence the conscience will naturally digress to the condition of the disturbed character. The disturbed character will appear as having no conscience and will yet be a “functioning” member of the community.  A disordered character is displayed by one who was once only disturbed but has now slipped into the realm of the surely dysfunctional (rendered incapable of carrying out the requisite responsibilities of society).

The failure to nurture the conscience is the failure to nurture Truth and will surely result in the demise of the individual and the eventual destruction of any general population in which these individuals are prevalent.

Notably, George K. Simon, Jr., Ph.D., has done a beautiful job of further explanation, and in giving socially  acceptable as well as academically responsible language to the subject matter found here and in our Bibles (particularly in the book of Romans), in the book he authored: Character Disturbance, The Phenomenon of Our Age.

We must take seriously the view of ourselves found in God’s Holy Word for the protection of ourselves, our loved ones, and for the benefit of humanity as a whole. May God help us!

Copyright 2017. L.L. Shelton

The Story

You are the first page and the last.
You are the future and the past.
You are the epitome of every view.
The Story belongs to you.

You are the reason and the rhyme.
You are the space and the time.
You are the old and you are the new.
The Story belongs to you.

You are the whole and so the part.
You are the mind and so the heart.
You are the One; we await your cue.
The Story belongs to you.

Copyright 2017. L.L. Shelton.

From Mother-In-Love (Rhyme For Jamie)

I was your second mother,
Her arms held you first,
And every time I think this through
I think of you from birth;

I think of how she must have loved you,
Wrapped up in her arms,
Of how she must have felt each time
She kept you safe and warm.

I think of all she gave in hopes,
Your life would be sublime,
Of how she never dreamed there’d come
This awful space in time.

I long for her to know,
That I too loved you Dear,
That every time you came to me
I kept you very near;

For her to know I shared her love,
And now do share her pain,
My heart will ache until that day
We do hold you again.

L.L. Shelton, Copyright 2016.