my empire of dirt

As most of you know I have a little obsession with mobsters. I watch mobster movies, read articles, watch mob wives, really I just consume whatever I can get my hands on that has to do with the mob. (Let this not to be confused with gangsters who have no real skill or tact in the art of thieving, laundering money and murder). Recently I read a book about a mobster who went to jail for one of his many robberies. The book is about Louis Ferrante and is an auto biography about his life. The title is Locked up, I recommend those who are not faint at heart to take a gander. In the book it talks about his life, the many crimes he did, the women he was with and so forth. He was linked with over a dozen major heists, so of course incarceration followed. The book then changes subject to tell us all about the time he spent in prison. Now I have never been to a prison, never really know anyone who has been, so this to me is a huge mystery. The book goes into gruesome detail of prison life. It gives a very vivid picture and hits on ever subject from the politics to sex behind bars. After I read it I started doing research and learning more about this place that was so disconnected from my life. It peaked my interests in that I knew nothing about a society right inside our country that is so unique and so misunderstood and neglected.

Do you ever feel like you are in prison?

Well I mean maybe, not really. It’s a world with no Freedom. No justification. No redemption. No hope. No happiness. No life. No love. If those things are there it’s because of the people that impact the prisons, not because of the institute itself. So we humans who have the freedom to mosey through the world looking for those things have no idea what it must be like to have no means in which to do that. And I am sure none of us truly understand what the smell, feel and diameter of a cement box with bars at the door must be like. Not for our whole lives. Not in that capacity.

In actuality we do.

We are prisoners. Prisoners to ourselves. Prisoners in our flesh. Prisoners to our sin, short comings, and mistakes. Not only that, but we are prisoners of our good traits as well, for what God intended for good turns to muck when it hits this earth that is in such shambles.

A friend of mine told me that it is predicted that in the next 60 years, someone will have invented a means to stay alive forever. Modern technology will have advanced enough to keep us alive. My response to that was, I would never commit to that on my own accord. I want out. Out of the closest to hell I will ever be. Out of this place with sorrow and pain. Out of my mistakes. Out. Out. OUT.

Now in Christ we have freedom. We have love. We have redemption. We are children of the King, clothed in his righteousness. We can live in communion with Him. Even those without Christ experience joy and happiness and fulfillment. I am in no way disregarding life as anything less than a beautiful thing. We are blessed to live. Blessed to have purpose. We have so much to live for. There are so many people and relationships that grow and shape us. I can’t even express to you how much I love life. How much I love living. But this isn’t it. There is something after this. And its better. SO with that perspective I am able to see that in a small way I am in a prison and that I have a choice to make. Do I carry my chains and allow them to way heavy on my temporal soul, or do I release my burden and take up the yoke of Christ, which is light?

As always, let me be real. Normally I drag my chains around. Normally¬† I don’t accept grace. Normally I try to do it on my own. Hey I am human, this is what we humans do. But I have been called to something greater. I have laid my life before the Lord and with that comes the responsibility of NOT pridefully picking up my life and trying to do it on my own. Pride is always the reason I start dragging my chains around again.

Combating pride is a daily, moment by moment struggle. I am full of pride so for me its a second by second struggle. I will never fully be able to escape it, but I can starve the beast by allowing myself to be humble. That means lowering myself and my abilities and elevating those around me. That means finding ways to encourage instead of tear down. That means listening and not speaking. That means praying really hard all the time that I don’t mess up. That means excepting Grace when I do.

So let go of your burdens, lay em down. On the other side of laying them down is true rest. Allow the freedom of Christ to envelop you, by simply (or not so simply) letting go!

Jesus said “truly truly I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave is a slave of sin” -John 8:34

Hurt By Johnny Cash

I hurt myself today
To see if I still feel
I focus on the pain
The only thing that’s real
The needle tears a hole
The old familiar sting
Try to kill it all away
But I remember everything

What have I become
My sweetest friend
Everyone I know goes away
In the end
And you could have it all
My empire of dirt
I will let you down
I will make you hurt

I wear this crown of thorns
Upon my liar’s chair
Full of broken thoughts
I cannot repair
Beneath the stains of time
The feelings disappear
You are someone else
I am still right here

What have I become
My sweetest friend
Everyone I know goes away
In the end
And you could have it all
My empire of dirt
I will let you down
I will make you hurt

If I could start again
A million miles away
I would keep myself
I would find a way

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