Category Archives: Living the Word

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.

By His Grace Made Blind

In earth a cold harsh path
Had been mapped to feel my feet,
Carved especially for me the ruts,
Groove often ran most deep.

Residing in a violent storm
Black sludge encased my limbs,
Offering to smother me,
Yet He produced a hymn.

Attuned only to that song
Anchored firmly in my heart,
Shadows might have overtaken me.
But I was meant to whistle in the dark.

She says I tend to stir the soul
Unaware the spoon within my grasp,
Noticing too late the moments,
Tangled solidly within my clasp;

As a murderer stands heedless
To the blood upon his hands,
As a lover lies his passion spent,
Incognizant the thorns upon the land.

Oblivious to markers obvious,
Simply noted by an ordinary mind,
Mid-event I’m visionless,
Maybe I was by His Grace made blind.

Experience lies fixed I find,
Dwelling soundly in my being,
As I am rendered only feeling,
Sightless I am seeing.

Impetuous is flip side
Of spontaneously kind,
Fanciful a weakness
Until one must escape the time.

Copyright 2016. L.L. Shelton

Brief Thoughts Regarding Human Sexuality

(An Addendum to, Brief Thoughts of Love)

My Young Friend,

Each of us is composed of both physicality- our body and the stuff therein, and of a soul or spirit- the eternal self; that was a thought in the mind of God before our physical existence and destined to continue long after our body has perished. We are each in possession of a mind- emotion and intellect (albeit there are varying degrees of functionality among them) and along life’s way we each develop a personality and a sexuality. These things are inextricably intertwined until the day of physical death. Until then, one can not function apart from the other and each is connected to and affected by the other. This is a terrifically complicated and marvelous design.

God has created our sexuality specifically to allow for and to encourage the most intimate level of communication in relationship that two people and their Heavenly Father can together experience. He designed this aspect of the system to lend us the ability to procreate and to grant us the capability of relating in a way that is illustrative of that way in which The Trinity relates, and of the way in which God in Christ relates to His people. Also, it is to be a reward unique to the covenant marriage of a man and a woman in the Presence of God.  It may be startling to consider that God is a part of the expression of one’s sexuality, and yet it should be obvious. God is all-powerful, all-knowing, and everywhere at once. As Christians, we are promised that His Holy Spirit lives in us- all the time. Our God does not slumber or sleep, rather He carefully watches over us continually.

However, because we are living in the contaminated environments of the earth and of our own fleshly bodies, we are apt to the perversion of our sexualities. Though there are myriad natural consequences as a result of expressing one’s sexuality outside of the one relationship for which it was designed, and those consequences are always spiritually degrading, often emotionally detrimental, and many times physically debilitating; still we are highly likely to misuse this aspect of ourselves, and yet Christ insists that we are to strive for sexual purity.

Interestingly, Christ is apparently unconcerned with the technicalities of things surrounding human sexuality; things such as whether or not a person should date at this age or that, whether a kiss is sexual or not, or that a person refrain from intercourse until marriage. It is possible that I have, again, startled you. I mean to convey that Christ’s concern is for something infinitely greater- our sexual purity; and sexual purity has its roots in the imagination. It is in our imaginations that He desires to reign supreme. Pure sexuality begins in the thought life and can never be achieved apart from it.

Sexual purity is maintained through the constant effort to view God, ourselves, and others appropriately, as living beings valued beyond price, worthy of sacrificial love; as opposed to objects to be used and abused according to our whims or our erroneous desires.

In God’s economy, there is truly no need for such deliberations as whether or not to hold hands on the first date; as He has in Christ surely freed us from endless and  rigorous  contemplations of the nature of “angels on the head of a pin” rather, God has allowed for us to be (in Him) all that we can be!

In His Love,
An Old Friend

See Psalm 51, Matthew 19, Mark 7

Copyright, 2012. L.L. Shelton

Brief Thoughts of Love

My Young Friend,

Love has been tragically misrepresented and misunderstood. Love both requires of you and insists that you require of yourself; it is both a proper noun and a verb. It requires of itself what is best for another and gives it without reservation. Love demands sacrifice and sacrifice usually stings a bit.  Often it is genuinely painful, at times even debilitating.  Any one who has truly loved has felt both the joy and the bite of it. The idea that love is all pleasant and ever delightful is a gross adulteration.

I hear a great deal these days about fear of commitment, about lack of commitment, and inability to commit. I listen to tales of lack of intimacy and emotional distance in family relationships and in marriage. I am often told of loneliness, and the death of community. I believe these things are symptoms of a lack of love, and I do not believe it is commitment we are so afraid of, rather it is sacrifice that we fear.

Most of us have felt the confusion resulting from a person’s declaration of love for us followed by an expression of our sexuality, only to realize rejection at a later date. Some of us have felt the terrible vexation that comes when a parent who has claimed love for us has then neglected or abused us (or our other parent or sibling) and maybe even abandoned us or left the home. Each of us has been puzzled at one point or another by the expression of love and insult from the same mouth. Each of us has brandished both affection and grief with one tongue.

People are imperfect. We are incapable of either loving or hating perfectly. This is why we are taught to strive always to become perfect in love and to avoid hate altogether. We’re instructed to leave the hating to God. We are taught to learn of repentance and forgiveness and to become experts at both, and there is a Way.

Another method by which love has been horribly distorted is by the idea that love and sexuality can be one in the same. The two are never one. Human sexuality is and has always been one way in a million of expressing love. Obviously, it is often used in a perverse manner to express things that do not resemble love in the slightest.

For many reasons, one being to set the relationship above and apart from all others, and some that are mysterious and still known only to God Himself, we are told that His system is designed to function optimally for us (for all of us individually and as a corporate whole) when each of us limit the expression of our sexuality to one relationship with one person of the opposite sex (gender) for the entirity of our lives. Yet, we are encouraged by God to express our LOVE for everyone all the time!

My third and final offering concerning the misrepresentation of love is this: God is love, but love is not God.  According to His Word, God is many things and love is ever a part of Him; His perfect Love motivating him continually.  Love is only itself.  Love is one of the many attributes of God and is nonetheless the epitome of holiness and the greatest thing.  Love is perfect. God Himself is love, but love is not God. Therefore, we in our love are not God.  God is bigger.

Lastly, in love I offer this truth from God’s Word.   It is an expression of my love for you. May it allow you some clarity and grant you a bit of peace on earth.

An Old Friend

(Please see 1 John 3:16, John 13,  1 Corinthians 13: 1-13)

Copyright 2016, L.L. Shelton

Get Well Soon

Muslims are not the problem.
Jews are not the problem.
Christians are not the problem.

Republicans are not the problem.
Democrats are not the problem.
Capitalism is not the problem
Nor is communism the problem.

Blacks are not the problem.
Whites are not the problem.
Yellows are not the problem.
Neither Reds
Nor Browns are the problem.

Women are not the problem.
Men are not the problem.
Gays are not the problem.
Zombies are not the problem.

Foolishness is the problem.
Dishonesty is the problem.
Self-centeredness is the problem.
Pride is the problem.
Both greed and vanity,
The problems.

Complacency is the problem.
Apathy is the problem.
Disregard for life is the problem.

Desire for death is the problem.
Godlessness and idolatry,
The problems.

Lack of Love is the problem.

Those are the problems.
They are big problems.
They are real problems. 
They are our problems.

The struggle is our own. 
The battle is for each of us, 
And the war belongs to all.

The problems are
Crouching at the door 
Waiting to have us; 
Each of us, 
And all of us.

My human family,
It is past time 
To get well.

Copyright, 2016. L.L. Shelton

How Bad Do Ya’ Want It?

As a Biblical counselor, I hear these and other words of the same meaning quite often:  The church is suffering from lack of community.  Our marriage is in trouble due to lack of intimacy.  My response: How bad do ya’ want it?

Community and intimacy are alike in that they are the result of a cyclical pass through vulnerability. Most of us prefer anywhere to there. Community and intimacy are the continual culmination of transparency, and accountability. These things require the practice of genuine love and authentic faith. These things mandate that our love be abundantly evident that we may expose ourselves without fear, and that we will welcome critical examination in our effort to be the best we can be for the other- and doing anything without fear requires faith.

What is faith? It is the evidence of things hoped for and the belief in things not yet realized.  Do we have it? Faith in God? Faith in ourselves, with God? Faith in one another? Do we believe that all things are possible with God? Do we believe that we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength? Do we believe that we can trust God to make out of each of us, fallen as we are, something beautiful? Something resembling Himself? Can we patiently suffer one another- forgiving, seeking forgiveness, receiving grace, offering grace, guiding, allowing ourselves to be guided, being consistent as well as realistic in our expectations of one another as we wait for Him to do this in His time and in His way, both individually and in a corporate sense?

May I submit to you that this is what must be if we desire community with others, if we yearn for intimacy with another? It will not be easy. It will be difficult to achieve and to maintain- and it will be the place where our joy may be made complete.  Therefore, absolutely without a doubt, worth it.

How bad do ya’ want it?

Copyright, 2015, L. L. Shelton

Bride On Fire

The strangely fluid and beautiful creature leaps and bounds in bright colorful array engulfing the structure that is the object of its appetite.  A crowd gathers, for a moment stunned by the apparent freedom of this gaily frolicking entity.  Then, as if shaking off a kind of stupor, someone screams to be saved.

In answer to the plea, a courageous number of that fantastic fraternity formed to fight this very devil, soon arrive and begin their bold work. The flames are doused and the remaining folks gathered at the scene, staring at the remnants of the edifice as it smolders amid the ashes, observe as the next skilled team arrives and begins the important work of inspection that will ultimately, hopefully, determine the origin of the monster.

The Church is on my mind, and having lived more than a half century now, it is my estimation that the road to perdition begins with one’s elevated view of oneself.

In  America, no more than 2% of our total population is gay, and approximately .8% of the 2% are involved in a same sex relationship, and fewer still are legally married.  Clearly, we have a much greater problem with other sexual sins in this country, such as fornication and adultery.  Of course, even the criminal sexual sins of child molestation and rape occur more frequently among us than does the sin of practicing homosexuality.

The sanctity of marriage is intended to be built upon a foundation of sexual purity which applies to all people.  The foundation has been under attack since humanity began.  Most of the twentieth century saw the institution of marriage, an institution necessarily established by God for our protection and to increase our joy, being questioned and demeaned by American society in general.  Yes, even we, the organized church felt it necessary to debate many issues surrounding the sanctity of marriage and family long before beginning to argue its very definition.  I submit to you that we, as a church, failed to properly defend marriage against those relatively minor attacks, thus we now stand perilously close to losing the war.

However, while It may be too late for us, as a nation, to raise the stakes- it is never too late for us to up the ante as the church.  Jesus did.

Jesus said, “Let’s begin with understanding lust as a sexual activity sinfully equal to adultery.  Let’s begin by demanding of ourselves a clean heart.” 

If we, the American population of the church, begin cleaning at the level that Our LORD mandated we may be able to effect the kind of change in our nation that is seen as nothing short of miraculous. 

Copyright 2015, L.L. Shelton