Monday, July 11, 2011
I wrote the following article a couple of years ago and remembered it the other day while talking to a friend. I don't think I have ever shared it here, but may have on Myspace, back in the day.
It is fairly self explanatory, but I suggest reading straight through it and then back through the first part again afterwards. Feel free to share, but I would appreciate a link back to this sight.
My name is James Heldon. Please read my story, as I believe it will help you to gain some insight on people like me. We are often misunderstood.
As a child I knew I was always different. I didn’t fit in with the other kids, never had the same interests, sports were boring, cars didn’t catch my eye, nothing that the other guys liked. As far back as I could remember all the other kids made fun of me, because I dressed different than they did, listened to different kinds of music and was usually quiet and to myself.
That all changed, when I turned 18 and moved out of my parent’s home. My dad was never okay with how I was, what I did and what I found interesting. My mom, on the other hand, was very understanding and helped me to cope with some of the rejection I felt as I grew up. I had a few very close friends that I confided in as well, they never judged me or anything, but they always seemed to be trying to talk me out of having the thoughts I did.
I had a lot of people tell me I was twisted, an abomination, evil and I shouldn’t be allowed to walk the streets. I knew that was just how they saw me though, I knew I was different than they were but I also knew in my heart that God had made me how I was. How could I be the way I was on my own choosing? I didn’t like some of the thoughts that went through my head, I couldn’t control the anger I felt when others would judge me.
I prayed all the time for the God I heard about from my dad to change me, but He never did. I still cry sometimes and point my finger in disgust at the sky when I feel like people are looking at me because of my lifestyle. They say it’s a choice, they even say I should be locked up away from everyone else. Now, is that fair? After all I did not choose to be the way I am, do the things I do or be born with these thoughts. I was born this way, God did this to me, so it must be right.
I am currently attending church services. They tell me that God loves me, but I can tell some of these people look at me with disgust. Some won’t even look me in the eyes. My mom doesn’t even come see me any longer, my dad just sends the occasional letter and tells me that I need to repent of my sinfulness and turn to God in faith, to trust in Him. I try so hard to, but I know that his God made me this way, so it can’t be a sin. I have found others where I am now that are like me, they seem to accept me but even they seem to judge me sometimes for what I’ve done to all those guys. They say I was excessive, but I never felt that way.
It felt right when I would hold them before I left them alone in their homes. Some were married, some were single, some had children others had high paying jobs and others had no jobs at all. It didn’t really matter to me as long as they felt like the one at that time. There was one that was different. He actually talked to me before I left. He was crying really hard and was telling me about the same God my dad always did. I don’t really know why he chose to tell me that, but he did. So I had to leave, even before the night was complete. He brought back so many memories of my dad, so I couldn’t carry through with it that night. He actually was the reason I ended up where I am now. Maybe I should thank him; maybe I should curse him.
I don’t think anything will change me. After all I was born this way.
James Lee Heldon
Kentucky State Penitentiary
1st Degree Murder X 15 – Serial Killer
James Lee Heldon is one of the most heinous serial killers that Kentucky has ever seen. He stands by the fact that God made him the way he is. He claims to be a Christian even though he says he still desires to kill more people and would if released. He says that his mother would allow him to decapitate neighborhood cats and dogs and would lie for him to cover the deaths when neighbors were looking for their missing pets. His dad never knew the full extent of his son’s sickness, but often times talked to him about repentance and faith in Christ for deliverance from sin. According to James, he always felt like his father was judging him, even though he says that he always told him he loved him and wanted to guide him to know Christ, not just about Christ.
The preceding story was fictional. Most when reading this story will think that James was a homosexual. That was done on purpose to show that sin is sin, it does not matter if it is sexual sin, murder, lying, stealing or blasphemy. The God of scripture is a Holy God. He demands perfection, which we cannot attain on our own. Most, often try to justify their sins, say they were born the way they are and try to place blame on that Holy God. But we all are born that way. We are all born in the mire of sin, we do not want God – we do not seek after Him – we can’t stand His Holiness and would rather walk down the wide road to hell. We are all born dead in sin, spiritually dead. There is no way that we can resuscitate ourselves, or would even want to. Can a physically dead person want to be alive? Can a dead man tell someone that they want to be alive? Does a dead man seek after someone that can raise them from death? No to all of these. But, this is what Paul says we are spiritually – DEAD- Ephesians 2 lays it out for us saying we are born spiritually dead, followed the ways of this world and it prince, only wanting our pleasures. But God gives saving faith through Grace. Even King David says in Psalms 51:5 that he was conceived sinful.
So how are we made alive spiritually? It’s all by grace, through faith in Christ. God resuscitates us with the blood of Jesus. He washes away our sins, our sin nature. It’s not about making a decision for Christ, filling a God shaped hole in your heart, walking the aisle or saying a prayer. It is all about Jesus, God does it all. There is nothing that we can do to merit His forgiveness, there is nothing we can do to bring ourselves to life. Remember we are dead. All we can do is humbly cry out to Him, repent and believe that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, 2nd in the Trinity, fully God and fully man, came to Earth, lived a sinless life, was tempted in every fashion that we are but remained pure. Willingly gave His life, shed His blood, took upon Himself the full wrath of God for me, because He loves me. He bore our sins on the cross of Calvary, died a horrible and painful death, was buried in a tomb and 3 days later was the resurrected. Jesus was the first fruits from the dead and now sits at the right hand of the Father as His children’s advocate.
I humbly ask that you cry out to God and seek Him. He promised that those that seek Him will find Him Jeremiah 29:13, Deut 4:29. But, it is all about Him, if you are seeking Him it is because He is drawing you John 6:44, Jeremiah 31:3John 6:65, John 12:32. So if you feel the draw, then praise Him that draws you for loving you, for being His.
Sunday, July 3, 2011
Day 366, My Final Day, in my "Year In My Life Through Pictures" blog series
Well, it's over. A full year, plus one day that I have posted a picture or three on this blog. It started off as fun, then turned into a challenge, but I believe that it was a good exercise for me and hopefully gave some insight into a little piece of my life. Yeah, not very exciting most of the time, huh? Today's picture? The neighbors thought they would celebrate my birthday with a fireworks show. Actually, I'm sure they were shooting them off for Independence Day, but I can pretend.
What I really hope to have had accomplished was sharing the love of God, that He has bestowed on me and my household. A lot of times it came easy to transition from my picture of the day into a testimony of God's goodness and grace in my life. Admittedly, some days it was a struggle and I know whose struggle it was, mine, as God is always good - even when we feel otherwise.
Many changes have come to pass through this year. The most recent and most life altering was the addition of baby Elliott. Just last evening Matt and Emily got engaged and today I became one year older. I've gained many gray hairs and I have lost several pounds. I have made new friends and I have had the opportunity to pray with and for a lot of people through the "Prayer Request Station" through Oak Grove's prayer ministry. I have seen God work in my church family's lives. I have seen the devastation that a flood can cause on one hand and see the miracles through the same flood. Through it all God has been there. Through each post God was active in my life and around my life. Sometimes I didn't see Him, sometimes He was quite apparent, but He was there.
Looking forward to the next 365 days and to my next birthday I can't help but wonder what God has in store for me and those around me. I wonder what He will do through Real Truth Matters, Oak Grove, my brothers and sisters at church, my family, my job and just life in general. My prayer lately has been to be able to perceive God along my path, because sometimes we do not have the eyes to see. We must ask for those eyes to see Him, ask for the ears to hear Him and watch expectantly for His work to be manifest so that we may praise His Name. I pray that I can be used in ways that makes it evident it is God doing the work through me. Who knows, quiet and introverted Jeff may be pulled from His comfort zone through the next 12 months. I have a new willingness to be out of my comfort zone, which is definitely not me making that step on my own.
Whatever happens I want to be able to raise the Name of Christ high and mighty. I want to praise Him through the valleys and high on the mountain tops and everywhere in between. Will you join me in that prayer for myself and for your own self? May we all be able to strengthen and edify one another. I know it a struggle sometimes to get along with me and agree with me, but I hope all the readers (all 3 of you) know that I just want the truth of scripture to be magnified. Sometimes I get a little over zealous, but mean well, and actually take rebuke quite well when I am wrong.
Who knows, I may even carry on this series. Of course there will be some major changes. Maybe a "Year In My Life through Pictures:Weekly Edition" as I told a brother yesterday. But thank whoever has read this little slice of the blogosphere. I have never been a writer, which is self evident, but I have learned some things along the way. Hopefully one day I might even be able to write a blog post that is planned out, instead of my normal way of doing them.
Friday, July 1, 2011
Day 365 in my "Year In My Life Through Pictures" blog series
Well, the official 365th day of my series is upon me. Tomorrow will be the official last day of my series as I was going Birthday to Birthday, but days wise it is a year today.
Through this year I have posted over 365 pictures of things I have found interesting in my day. Some times I have scrambled to take a picture and once I even missed midnight while working on a project and decided to skip that day. So I guess in all actuality tomorrow will be my 365th post in the series, so it worked out good.
I am actually happy that it is over, but have gotten accustomed to posting every day. Hopefully this will encourage me to post more frequently than I did before this series began. I was sporadic, at best, and inconsistent as the norm. I have realized that I never have had a real game plan for the blog past its initial inception over 3 years ago. This blog actually started for me to chronicle my search for a new church home after God opened my eyes to the very man centered messages that we were being given. It did not take God long to place us within a wonderful body that actually is a body. We love our church family very much and can't think of being anywhere else.
It is amazing to look back over a year and see how God has worked in my life. I am going to skim back over all of my posts within this series tomorrow to be reminded of everything I attempted to write about. As I look ahead to the next year I excitedly anticipate what God is going to do around me and prayerfully using me. The Real Truth Matters ministry that I volunteer with is about to get some national exposure and is in the final stages of releasing "The History Of The Modern Gospel" series on DVD, which is very exciting. God has allowed me to be a small part of this and I am very humbled to see how God is using the ministry and equally excited with the direction He is taking it. Only time will reveal to us where He is taking it and only He will reveal to us in Heaven what impacts have been made for the Kingdom through this ministry.
Praise God for allowing us to be part of His work. Not just in a ministry setting, but individually as He allows us to witness to His goodness each day of our lives.