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A Prayer For My Father

Lord, I know I'm not telling You anything You don't already know but the last few weeks have been tough.  Filled with uncertainty.  With heavy hearts.  Shock.  Some anxiety.  It's been wrough on all of us.  Especially mom and dad.  First, it was bloody urine, then a hurry-up surgery, a doctor in the recovery saying, 'the tumor was much larger than we thought.'  Then a long quiet week waiting on pathology.  When the report did come in, we heart words like, 'lymphovascular invasion is present.'  Meaning?  'The margins aren't clear,' ' we need to go back in and remove all of it,' and 'this surgery will be much longer.'  'High rate of complications.'  'Very aggressive disease.'  'Suggest chemo prior to surgery for improved mortality.'  'Recovery 8-10 weeks.'  Followed by, 'You'll require a bag for the rest of your life but we'll show you how to use it and it doesn't really leak much -- except at night.'  They followed all that with a bit of a pause, 'Even if we do all this, there is still the chance that...'

Lord, this is my dad we're talking about.  Lymphovascular invasion can kiss my...

2014 In The Rearview

When the calendar flipped to 2015, I found myself looking in the rearview with a sour taste in my mouth.  Wrinkle between my eyes.   I can not tell you that 2014 was a good year.  It was not.  Honestly, I was glad to see it go.  For reasons I won't share, I shed more tears in 2014 than in the last several years combined.  Real tears.  Not just sad emotions but water dripping off my face mixed with white-knuckled fists.  I knew sadness, heartache, anger unlike any I'd known in a long time and had to actively confront my own unforgiveness on more than a dozen occasions.  If I didn't the bitterness would have eaten me alive.  The problem was not in my house.  Christy loves me.  I love her.  My kids love me.  I love them.  We are good.  But there were circumstances and events outside of our control -- from more than one source -- that brought very real heartache and pain to our door.  And it wasn't just one-and-done.  It was constant.  Over months.  We were lied to, deceived, and by our perception, betrayed.  Deeply.

 

NOTE: This 'piece' is not short.  It doesn't fit neatly in our Twitter-culture where we consume pithy sound bites with the attention span of squirrels.  I've not written this for your entertainment.  I wrote it to show a process -- in me.  One that was painful, not necessarily linear, didn't always make sense and took some time to play out.  If you don't want to read to the end, here's the nugget -- I am a wretched, black-hearted sinner dealing with shrapnel of the heart.  And there's only one way to get rid of stuff like this -- it has to be cut out but in order to get to it, you have to peel away the dead stuff and shine a light in a dark place.  This 'piece' is me turning on the light in a closet I'd rather keep shut.

Did It Really Do What He Said It Did?

A friend of mine with a checkered past called me this week.  He was struggling.  The painful memories, who he'd been, who he'd not been, were raining down.  Daggers through the back.  I've known him about a decade.  Have seen miraculous transformation in his life.  The man he is today, the husband, father, friend, is not the man he was then.  Different as night and day.  Problem is he was looking in the mirror and the whisper of the deceiver was drowning out the truth of the gospel.  Also, in a couple of weeks, he and I and a few other guys are going on a trip together.  To another country.  To tell people about Jesus.  Pray for the sick.  Teach the gospel.  So, with one eye, he's looking in the rearview.  With the other, he's looking out the windshield.  Hands on the wheel, he is uncertain.  Gas or brake?  Oh, and he's on the docket to speak.  To briefly, simply tell his story -- through an interpreter -- of how the Lord brought him from bondage to freedom.  How The Lord broke his chains.  Our conversation sounded something like:

"Hey pal, what's up?"

Pause.  Deep breath.  "Can I just be honest?"

One of the things I so love about him, is that if he is anything, he is honest.  There's no BS between me and his heart.  He lets me in.  No walls.  No pretense.  No fishing for the issue.  "Yes."

"I'm wrestling with who I once was, with thoughts, memories of me seven, eight, ten years ago...and trying to see myself standing up in front of these people."  Pause.  "I feel like a fraud."

What Kind of A King Would Do Such A Thing?

The angels are arranged in perfect rows.  Thousands in a row and thousands of rows.  Trailing out as far as the eye can see.  They are radiant, barefooted and decked out to the nines.  Glowing white.  Glistening gold.  Chiseled features.  Blond, auburn, ebony hair.  Beautiful, flowing gowns.  The floor upon which they are dancing is reflective.  Not sure what it's made of but it's shiny. Not a speck.  Not a smudge.  The guy closest to me has blonde hair to his waist.  Pulled back in a ponytail of sorts.  He, like all the rest, is a good bit taller than me.  About four feet taller.  He is imposing, muscled, arms extended, one foot resting behind the other, bent slightly at the waist, face pointing down.  His wings stretch another ten feet into the sky and the tips are almost touching.  He is frozen in time, holding the same choreographed pose he was holding when the music stopped.  Along with everyone else, he is waiting for the music to begin again and send him into the next movement.  Right now, he’s catching his breath and waiting for orders.  Head bowed, a bead of sweat drips from his brow onto the mirrored floor.  He is glancing at me out of the corner of his eye.   There is a smirk on his face as if he knows something I don’t.  He raises an eyebrow and then winks as if to say, You haven’t seen anything yet...

Will The Real Charles Martin Please Stand Up

I’ve always known I’m not the only “Charles Martin” on the planet.  Obviously.  It’s not an uncommon name.  Whenever I’ve met one, I always recoil a bit.  Narrow eyes. Swollen chest.  “Don’t mess up my name.”  I imagine they say the same about me.  A good name is hard to find.  ;-)  Imagine being “Jim Smith.”  That said, an angry reader ripped me a new orifice for a book she read by, “her favorite author, Charles Martin.”  Only problem is I’m not that Charles Martin and I didn’t write that book.  Had nothing to do with it.  Never said I wrote that book.  Never knew about that book.  Best I can tell, I don’t write anything like that.  If you search Amazon, you’ll see what I’m talking about.  

An Everyday Stretch of Road

It was a normal dirt road. Dusty. Big rocks. Potholes. A trade route. Just an everyday stretch of well-traveled road.

Years ago, a man of some account walked it.  By all accounts, including his own, he was a good Jew.  Obeyed the law.  Zealous.  A Benjamite, circumcised the 8th day, and a regular in the synagogue.  His parents placed him under the instruction of one of the greatest teachers in the history of Israel -- Gamaliel, where he excelled and by the age of 12, he'd memorized the Torah.  All five books. By heart. He then spent 7 years studying the prophets. But don't take my word for it.  Of himself, he says: "I am indeed a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, taught according to the strictness of our fathers' law, and was zealous toward God as you all are today." (Acts 22) To the Philippians he says: "circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless."  He would describe his education this way:, "I advanced in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries in my own nation, being more exceedingly zealous for the traditions of my fathers." (Galatians 1:13-14) He also happened to be a Roman citizen which would radically change the course of his life in the years ahead...

“The Mountain Between Us” Movie News

Here's the latest movie news -- and some of our best yet.  I hope 20th Century Fox can pull off this duo.  They'd be fantastic.    

Free ‘Unwritten’ Download

Want a free audio download of 'Unwritten'?  How about a free excerpt of 'A Life Intercepted'?  

A Life Intercepted—Why I Wrote It.

Had some time ths morning, so I recorded why I wrote, "A Life Intercepted."  Where it came from, etc.  Enjoy. Please share.

The Chorus of the Unashamed

Bracelet

He was known as the ‘blind beggar who sat by the city gate.’  That was his calling card.  His resume.  The best he could do.  We don’t know if he was married or had children — I rather doubt it.  The only definitives we have for certain are that his father was Timaeus and his name was Bartimaeus and that he lived in Jericho and sat daily by the gate.  His story comprises about a paragraph in both Mark’s and Luke’s gospel and if you blink or yawn you’ll miss it.

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Novels by Charles Martin (Latest release first)

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