Deliverance (Psalm 34:4)

Well, we got the Liver Enzyme count test back this afternoon and it is perfectly normal, which basically means that my intestines are almost completely healed!!! It's just going to be a slow recovery from the last year and a half of this and then I am hoping to be completely healed. Wow, it's so weird, I feel like a new man even in that knowledge that it is going to get better from here. It's like I was in a free fall for these last 16 months but God pulled me up just as I was about to hit the ground.
All of this fit in flawlessly with something that I heard from God at Sigma this summer. I was walking down from our cabin to the mess hall one night when I heard this conversation pop into my head. It was God and Satan talking about me and I was eaves dropping. The conversation went something like this:
"Alright Satan, I have seen Christopher's worth, so I'll make you a deal: Give me a while to strengthen Christopher in this place and to draw him near to me, then he is yours to test. I will let you put him to the test so that you may also see his worth."
And that was what I heard. It occurred just a split second, but it kept my mind spinning for weeks. I knew that it was not something that I had just made up; I knew that it was real, and while I was scared at first, I knew I was ready. It was a sabotage against my joy and my life, but God stayed true to me even through all of this and I have pulled through to the end. Even as I finish this race, I see another drawing near, but I know my God is with me and he will never turn on me.
Even though clouds rage on, even though storms race in; Even though rains will pour down, even though waves will crash around, I will be safe in your arms. "I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips" ~Psalm 34:1~

"I sought the Lord and He answered me; He delivered me from all of my fears."
~Psalm 34:4~

Bright Eyes

There is something amazing about babies, something beautiful that is often discarded. They are so pure and joyful and unperplexed. They have nothing in the world to fear; they wear their heart on their sleeves. When a baby looks me in the eye, it pierces me to the soul. I can't help but smile back at that whipped cream covered face. In those few seconds, there is a certain serenity that passes over me. It is almost like god is smiling at me through that cheeky little face. I think that He actually is resting inside that gentle spirit; I think He finds a willing home there. Maybe there is a reason why I find peace on those bright little eyes.
If God is inside those innocent eyes, inside that gently spirit, is He in my eyes as well? when people look me in the eyes, what do they see? What do they feel? Do they see what I see when I look into the eyes of that baby? Do they feel that same thing? It is said that the eyes are the window to the soul, so do my eyes reflect God? Are my eyes a mirror to His?
If it is piercing for me to look a baby in the eyes, how much more so would it have been to look Jesus in the eyes? I'm sure that no one was ever able to look Him in the eyes. Think about that. Would you be able to look Him in the eyes, or would you drop your head in shame as he searched you inside out? Would you close the blinds or would you open the windows and let Him bring light on your deepest and darkest parts of you?

Stomach Update (finally)

Alright,I figured it's about time to start updating the progress (or lack there of) on my GI issues that have been going on over the last year or so.
So over the last few months my doctor (Dr. Riddley) has been working with me to find the source of all of my stomach issues. The first thing that led us to a find a new doctor was our old doctor said that it was 'just the high pectin content of fruit'. So we found Dr. Riddley. The first problem we found was that because of the bad state of my gut, I had developed several food intolerances (including wheat, egg, milk, and yeast). She said that if I stayed off of all of these foods for about 90 days I would start feeling better pretty quickly. Well, a few weeks in, we discovered that that wasn't the only problem, because I've gone several months without and of the foods that I'm sensitive to. We went back and based on the things we told her, she said that I also had a yeast infection. She said that because of my 'leaky gut', the PH balance of my intestines had gone more acidic which creates a perfect environment for yeast to grow in. So she said that I needed to not have any simple sugars for a while about two weeks to try and kill off the yeast. But it has taken much longer than the two weeks originally though, I think we're in week 6 right now. She also told us to keep a food journal so she could analyze any other problems that might be there. I brought it in one day and she told me that based on my reactions to certain foods on the list and because of the state of my gut I also had a problem ingesting the high levels of histamines in most nuts and soy. So for the times when I would have nuts, she gave me a histamine interceptor that basically just kills them before they can do anything to me. But through all of this, I still seemed to be hurting. It's been really hard to get off of peanut butter for those of you who know me, so Soy Nut Butter has been kind of like a comfort food for me (it's a lot like the texture and tast of PB). So I went in yesterday and she said that I might be developing an allergy to Soy and need to have it only every 3 or 4 days so I don't develop a sensitivity to it. It's been really hard though just trying to find things I can eat when I'm out and about, and I usually just take my own food with me everywhere I go.
Well, that's what's been going on with my gut lately. If you have any questions about it, just post a comment and I'll answer it the best I can. Thanks for being here for me guys, it really means a lot.

What Does Love Have To Do With It?

I was on my way to get coffee with one of my friends a few weeks ago and this question came up. What does love have to do with it? What does love have to do with drinking coffee together, with sending a letter, with simply calling someone? Would you send a card to an enemy (other than a nasty letter that is)? Would you go see a movie with someone who hates your guts? I'm not talking about the lovey-duby kind of love, but the kind of love that you would suffer for them, that you would offer your time, your life if it would help them. That is the love that I am speaking of, and it is far too scarce. We live in a world where if they can't give you anything in return, they aren't worth your time; if they can't tell you who you are or give you pleasure or acceptance, they aren't worth having around. It is truly a beautiful thing when you can love someone for who they are and not need anything in return. Even if it doesn't look like love to others, even if it is never spoken of or named, even if it they don't see it, it is love none the less. What does love have to do with it? Love has everything to do with it.

Low Blows

Something that I have just started learning about life is just how sneaky the enemy is. As a kid I was always told that he was "as slippery as a snake" but I didn't really understand. I had no freaking clue just how sneaky and low he is. The most recent indecent, the driving force behind this post, is just the latest installment in the chain of events set out to keep me from living my life for God.

As many of you know my sister and I (and maybe my brother Ben) have been trying to record a CD with some songs like "Revelation Song" and "He Reigns" on it for quite some time now. It is kind of hard to do without a mic stand (not pointing finger at who lost that particular piece of equipment) or somewhere to record (it can be quite challenging in a house of 7). Grace and I had been talking about songs we wanted to record and were singing them together in the car when I suddenly had an overwhelming inspiration to record some music. I got home and cleaned out my closet (for the first time in a year or more) and set up some recording equipment and chairs and what not. I got in there to test the sound with our 'acoustic padding' (aka shirts and pants on hangers) and see how Garage Band would work with it. Lo and behold when I open Garage Band and start recording it can't pick up hardly and sound from the mic. Now, I had had this problem before with my other mac, but it was because of the computer's lack of a input jack , so I thought that with the new mac it would work great. But it didn't. I tried all sorts of things and ended up plugging the mic into our amp and playing into that instead, which worked fine. It just will not work with my mac. So, needless to say it was very frustrating and that on top of all the other stuff happening with us trying to record has just been one big headache.

It is almost laughable to see how Satan is working here. Every time I try to record or make any steps in that direction it is always shut down one way or another. I know for a fact that Satan would love to stop us from recording simply for the fact that we are glorifying God with our talents and are pointing to Him through our music. So on that remark it is no surprise to me that the enemy wants to shut us down, but is still hurts and I am always left infuriated. I know that we can't fight this alone, so I am asking all or you for prayer for us, that God will give us either an opportunity to record or even play somewhere. Thank you so much.

Christopher Coan

The New Year

Most people consider the new year January 1st, but for me it's August 17, aka 'the first day of school'. It is always hard to get back into the school year for me, but especially this year with saying goodbye to old friends and making new ones. It is so hard for me to let anything go, especially friends, and definitely close friends. This year I have really made so many great friends, but so many of them have moved on or are moving away. Sometimes it feels like the ground is falling out from underneath my feet, like I'm plunging down into the unknown darkness below. It is a really scary feeling, almost like I am going to another planet where I don't know but my family.

No Dishwashers For Man

I know what you're thinking "what kind of title is that?" and,"Of course there are, they're called showers." Well, just to let you know, I agree, but that's not what this post is about. This post is about an idea I had about Christianity, the idea being that all of our lives being like glasses (the drinking kind). What I mean by that is this: our lives as Christians is meant to point to God, to show His love to the world, essentially, to let Him shine through us. So if we have things that are keeping us from doing that, if we are dirty glasses, how is god supposed to shine through us? Not to say that you will ever be perfectly clean, or that He can't shine through dirty glasses, but to say that the cleaner we are the more readily He will use you. Would You want to drink out of a dirty glass when You have a clean one in the cabinet?

Shoot, look at David, he was totally sold out for God. He was like that moon, perfectly reflecting God's light on the earth, and yet he still had his dark spots, his craters, his uncleanliness. Just because we can't reach perfection doesn't mean that we should not strive after it. It's sorta like chasing a rainbow. You chase after it knowing that you will never reach the Pot O' Gold at the end, but you run anyway. But while you are running after it, chasing it, you are growing stronger from the chase itself, from 'running the race' as many a Church of Christ-er would put it.
Another thought I have on the subject of perfection is one that I see playing out in my life. I have always admired David and a strong man of God, almost like a role model of how a man should be. I've even caught myself trying to be like David, which is certainly no not a bad thing, but as I though about it, I realized this: Why would I strive to reach an earthly limit to righteousness when I could be reaching for the giver of all righteousness? It's like reaching for the sky when the stars are right before my eyes.

If I want to be closer to God, if I want to be righteous, if I want to be a light that shines His name, then I need to start the cleaning process myself. No one else can do it for me, and there is no dishwasher, I have to do it by hand, one spot at a time; but thankfully, God is holding the soap.

Dimmer Switch Christians

Here's a question that's been running through my head the last few months: Am I a Christian who shines will all my life for God or a Christian that dims under pressure. This question leads me term "Dimmer Switch Christian" as someone who turns down their light just a little to fit in that much better. Is that even a Christian at all? I have pledged my life to God and everything I do is to glorify Him, but if I give in to the darkness around me, can I call myself a Christian?

Alright, imagine this for a sec (longhorns beware): You are an Aggie in Austin and a friend takes you to the campus of UT where you go into a store so they can buy some hat or something. As you sit at the counter checking out, the cashier sees you wearing your graduation ring, what do you do? Do you tell him: A: you are holding it for a friend; B: it was your dad's parting gift to you; or C: "I am an Aggie and proud of it!!!" If you call yourself an Aggie (even if I don't go to school there...yet) then you would choose C, or are you really that much of a sellout?

Why is it so hard for us to live for God then? Why do we struggle to set ourselves apart on this earth? Is it just that we are that ungrateful to God or is it because of the fear of what people might do? It's not the safest thing to be an Aggie in Austin either, but we wouldn't take off our ring for that. So what is it about living for God that is so hard for us? What is the difference? We should be a beacon of hope to the hurt and crushed in spirit, to those who have lost their way and are dying. If we are too scared to reflect the love that God has shone on us, if we can't be like the moon and shine His love in the dark, maybe we aren't who we say we are after all.

Psalm 16:2

It never ceases to amaze me how God works. I simply put an honest question before Him and then He'll teach me something or show me where I am weak. I've recently realized that God has slipped out of my mind as I'm starting back into school and am getting closer to my friends and growing older. I had to pause and just say, "God, do not let me fall away from you. Show me where my true love is, help me to see that you are all that is good in me and you are all that I need. Help me to re-focus on You and never let me loose sight of your beauty."

It really is amazing just how quickly God works, because the next day he started moving things around in my life. He started shifting my perspective and changed the way I saw situations. He changed my outlook on life just like that. I asked earnestly for Him to intervene and he did just that. I realized that I was relying on my own strength again, that I was thinking that I could do it without any help and THAT was my falling point. I CANNOT do it on my own, it's like trying to find your way through a maze with your eyes closed when there's a light just above you. I have that light on me, but everything tells me that I can do it, that I don't need anyone. It's the way the world perceives masculinity. Independent, strong, self sufficient, but that is not what I am called to be. I am called to be weak so that God can shine through me and lift me in my weakness. It's like training for football. I have to fall down to my weakest point so that I can become strong, only this strength does not come from me, it comes from my father.

I need your guidance lord, I need your strength. You are all the good in me, you are the life within my chest. Keep me alongside you and do not let me drift away. When I start to look down at the ground, pull my head up to your face.

I said to the Lord, "You are my Lord; I have no good besides You."
~Psalm 16:2~

Strength In Weakness

I hate being weak. Let me repeat that. I HATE BEING WEAK. It is built into my system, being a man, to hate any weakness that is in me, so when says, 'nope, you are weak' I naturally want to fight it. But God has other ways...

God has been taking me through a process of making me weak so that I can have strength in Him. It's not just a one-time deal, it's a whole chain of events that has showed me just how weak I am. One big thing is my running for training for football. I started in the hotel when I was in New Jersey with my dad. The first day I went out and ran for about a little over a mile and realized how weak I was. I kept trying to tell myself 'Oh, I just haven't run in a while...' and kept going. But when I got back to the hotel, lying on the bed staring up at the celling, I realized just how weak I was. I talked to God and told him that I wanted His strength in me, even if I must die away for that to come though. I wanted to be completely dependent on His strength. He heard my prayer.

The next day I went out to run and within the first 5 minutes I was painting. I prayed that God would give me strength over and over. I was at the point of holding my hands up to the sky and speaking up to God and pleading Him for His life. I'm sure I looked like a nut. But God gave me the strength to finish and I ended up going about 3 miles that day. I thanked God profusely and praised his name over and over all day. Then, the last day there I went out one last time and started by saying, 'Alright God, you have showed me that I am weak, now be my strength. Lift me up on your wings, put me on your shoulders. Carry me where I cannot go.' I took a different trail that day and got lost. I was praying the entire time that God would give me strength and I finally found myself back at the hotel after about 50 minutes straight of running. I had gone about 5 miles, farther than I had ever gone. That was God's strength in me. He lifted me up and carried me.

My GI issues are just another piece of this huge thing, just seeing how weak my body is and seeing how feeble I am. But the biggest thing if football. Since I'm not able to have sugar for probably another two months, even making it through practice even is almost impossible. One night in particular, Tuesday night, was the first night of two-a-days. I went in thinking I could do it, that I was strong, that I had enough life to do it. About half way through the practice my legs started giving out and I could hardly breathe. I cried out to God in that moment of utter despair and death, but He still needed me to see that I am weak. I limped along for about another 10 minutes, all the while pleading and begging for God to rescue me. My legs could not hold me up anymore and I was literally crying from the stress I was going through. I knew that my legs were going to give out any second and pleaded to God once again to carry me on His shoulders. I finally broke down and admitted that I was weak, that I didn't have enough life to carry me across the finish line; God met me in that brokenness. I wasn't like some instant burst of energy or some supernatural intervention, it was like this: I knew for a fact that I had no strength left in me. I knew that my legs were going to give out on me. I knew that without God's help, I could not have made it past the end of that practice. He rescued me in my moment of utter despair and death and showed me that He is all the strength in me.

"Protect me God, for I take refuge in you.
I have said to the Lord, 'You are my Lord;
I have no good besides You'"

~Psalm 16:1-2~

"The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears,
and delivers them from all their troubles."

~Psalm 43:17~

"God is our refuge and strength,
a helper who is always found
in times of trouble.

~Psalm 46:1~

"I will not die, but I will live
and proclaim what the Lord has done."

~Psalm 118:17~

Praise your name father, for you are my strength and my life.