Well, when looking for a true Christian, someone who actually believes, there are a few things to look for.
1) Christ. I mean actually knowing him. Even if you are new to the religion. Jesus Christ is to be more than just a name. He's to be your savior, redeemer, comfort, father, and friend. If you don't know Christ, and what he did for you, you are not a Christian.
2) Change. There's an expression in the world of Christians. If you are "saved" you recognize your sin and God's ultimate power, and the divide between the 2 of you. A Saved Christian is someone who strives to be more like Christ. And they strive to love others sacrificially, they strive to turn away from their sin (anything against God's commands)
3) Difference. There seems to be something different about Christians, true Christians. Maybe you might not be able to tell what it is. But when you have eternal hope in life and confidence that you have God on your side, you tend to act differently than the rest of the world. In fact, the Bible calls for Christians to be set apart from the rest of the world.
I hope this answers your question! You can contact me if you have any more. :)
People shouldn't have to say "I'm a Christian" our words and actions should show it. Christians are flawed not perfect...with acceptance we are given the grace of salvation. No one knows a person's heart and their relationship with Christ but the good Lord and that person. It is a personal walk. There is only one seat of judgment and we don't occupy that seat.
Words of Motherly Wisdom
You may have seen my recent post about what a true Christian is. Most of what I said, I have come to believe and understand because of conversations with my Mom.
So, here are two things she's said, that have stuck with me:
1. "Look at their fruit. If they're not bearing fruit, that means they're probably not a Christian."
2. "We're not Christians in today's sense of the word; we're Christ-Followers. There's a difference."
What does this make me think? That I have a very wise mother.
here i am
where have you gone?
i hear only the birds
as they sing mournful songs
here i am
why did you leave?
i hear only the wind
as it moves through the trees
here i am
i stare out into the grey
clutching a mug already grown cold
it’s murky contents tar-like
here i am
i pull my sweater about me
the hem, still damp from the rain
catching on my bitten nail beds
here i am
i look to the empty stone fireplace
remembering the shadows once cast by its flames
the crackling sounds long gone
here i am
i touch the quilt that lays on the couch
knowing the fabric
no longer carries your scent
here i am
i glance at the worn brown piano
wishing its keys
could relay your touch
here i am
where have you gone?
the days are too quiet
the nights are too long
here i am
why did you leave?
i’ve lost my companion
you left me to grieve
here i am
A Blanket, A Book and a Pillow
Blankets...I LOVE blankets! Big ones, small ones, fuzzy ones, smooth ones, cool ones, hot ones, heavy ones, light ones, red, blue, orange, pink, yellow and green ones! A favorite one? I like weighted ones. I'm using a blanket for the weight, not for the warmth. Give me a fuzzy-ish, silky one. But, I'll only take it with a pillow. Because, more important than a blanket, is a pillow in your lap. There's a reason why there are 15 pillows in my living room and 10 on my bed. Also blanket MUST be long. Those short throw blankets are USELESS. I want one that covers my 5'11" body from head to toe. So, I suppose I want a big, heavy, fuzzy/silky blanket that comes with a nice sized pillow. Oh, and a good book would be great too! :)
the detritus kind..
i slither out of the mud, above the cooling water line. those beautiful rainbow refractions of oil and industrial peptides. oh, the autumn colors in the mirk stirr me so, yet i can't make a good expkanation why it is that this season, is preferable to all others. surly there are more caryon in the winter, surly there are more young hatchlings to cruntch in the spring. but it is the fall, that takes and stings my heart so. the excitment of the coming fog, that mulchy umami feel i get in my suction cups.
but by night, the euphoria of the atrocities subsides and i get chilly.
it is then that i remember the strange Nina simone westren song, called "the chilli wings";
the willows weep no more, darlin' baby,
the willows weep no more,
don't blow along my shore,
Where the chilli wings,
the chilli wings
i'm sentimental fool in the autumn, and who isn't....
but you can not live a life of only sanguine delights , nor can you afford to ruminate too long along the cooling froth. the toxic wastes are no place that you'd want to catch the sniffles..
by the crooked willow tree, i wallow, and ooze, in laziness. that motorist, which i happened upon weighs heavy in my bowels..
the chilli wings..
the chilli wings..
i begin to construct the blanket of detritus. letting thevtwigs and leaves stick richly against my secretions. it is an artform, really. to cover well.
a mere roll upon the leaves, and they will stick to tightly packed.
no. a rippling of the folds, snd a gathering and spreading of the fallen material. that's the way.
the chilli wings i hum, and cover, ooze more of the goop if need be. i esconce myself for the night, digesting in peace.
all is peace, and warmth , and chirping.
May 16, 1991
When I was in second grade, I told the whole class I was turning 10. We all know eight is the more appropriate age at that grade level.
My mother was bringing a cake that afternoon, I guess I needed to live up to the attention I was expecting to get.
I don’t remember a single classmate not believing me. I remember telling one, maybe two people and the rumor must have spread like wildfire. What was so great about 10?
I just remember my mother walking in the classroom later that afternoon with a huge cake and possibly some ice cream. She must have taken off from work early, something she rarely did.
My mother and Mr. Brown, the best teacher till this day, conversed for a few minutes as usual. Made small talk. Mr. Brown was very handsome. I’m assuming he was single and not gay. But don’t think they were flirting. Sally’s mom would flirt with Mr. Brown, she even asked him for gas money once.
The question must have been something along the lines of, “How many birthday candles do we need on this cake?” Or maybe Mr. Brown asked aloud, “How old did you turn today?”
If memory serves me right, my mother’s response must have been something along the lines of, “Eight!”
I just remember my heart sunk. Before I knew it, the class was whispering. A few people started shouting, “10!” The newish, quiet boy shouted the loudest in his Spanish accent, “Teeennn!”
“Oh, great. They actually believed me.” I thought.
I remember Mr. Brown looked at my mother. My mother just laughed and said, “She’s going to be eight.”
Mr. Brown made a very loud, clarifying announcement to the class that I had turned eight.
I embarrassingly sank into my chair. I’m sure the entire class turned and looked at me. My mother and Mr. Brown just laughed it off. No big deal. But my spirits were crushed.
One of the two adults began cutting into the cake at the front of the room. I had to redeem myself.
I turned to my friend, we’ll call her Linda, sitting at the same table as me and whispered, “But I'm really going to be 10!”
They Meet Again (Part I)
This story is based on the Reedsy.com prompt "Write about a character who finds Valentine’s Day sickly sweet."
- This two part adventure will feature the hero Hugh and the criminal Gull crossing paths for the first time since their original encounter in a short story from 1998. The original story in its original rough around the edges form can be read here: https://theprose.com/post/389825/the-pit. Gull's recent escape from imprisonment, along with an edited version of his first appearance, can be read here: https://theprose.com/post/437403/a-tale-from-long-ago-and-new-machinations.
Gull ventured through the dark hallways deep under the royal castle of Prosperity. It had been a long escape from prison, where much of it he spent in the form of a worm. He was thankful to be human again, even if he didn't know how this group was planning to use him. Since they had helped him escape from the cell he had been sentenced to life in, he knew there would be a caveat to his new found freedom.
After what felt like an eternity wandering through the labyrinth of underground tunnels, he found the door that Doctor Sic and Willy had told him to enter. He opened the golden door and walked into a sprawling cafe. Bright sunlight shone in from the windows. Various people were enjoying caffeinated beverages at tables throughout. Some folks were socializing, and some were alone, busy at work on their laptops. Towards the middle of the cafe was a table for two, where a young man in the form of a dark silhouette sat with two mugs of hot coffee.
"Gull!" The silhouette called out happily, as if reuniting with a friend he hadn't seen in years. "Come on over, I've been expecting you!"
Gull walked to the table and sat on the opposite side of the silhouette.
"Leftover, I presume?" Gull asked.
"Precisely." The silhouette known as Leftover replied in a tone that oozed of nobility, with a sinister undertone. "I took the liberty of getting a coffee for you. It is black like mine, but I can get some cream, sugar, or milk if you'd like."
"This is fine, and this is an amazing place by the way!" Gull gushed, struggling to remember the last time he had been in a cafe of any kind in the galaxy. "I thought we were underground though, how can I see sunlight from those windows?"
"We are indeed deep underground, this place is merely a simulation." Leftover replied as he sipped on his coffee. He motioned to a small chip on the side of the table before explaining. "My employee Tam is brilliant with technology, and per my request gave me this device that could turn a room into any kind of place I would like. A cafe was my first choice, as I liked to sneak away to them when my father's demands to follow my princely duties became overbearing."
"From what I've been told, you are the king of this country now. Since you're in charge, why don't you go to a real cafe instead of hiding in a fake one?"
"Unfortunately, I can't appear in public without disgusing my appearance." Leftover replied sadly. "Should my father or subjects know that I am still stuck in this silhouette form, they wouldn't accept me. So I have to settle for this pretend cafe, drinking this delicious, yet fake coffee that the caffeine will wear off of as soon as I exit this room."
Gull took a sip from his coffee mug. It was the best coffee he had ever had, the taste being a treat after the terrible coffee he had drank for years in prison.
"Well it can't be that bad, can it?" Gull asked reassuringly. "From what I was told by your associates that brought me here, you didn't have facial features before. You very much have eyes to see me, a nose to smell the scents of this place with, and a mouth for drinking that fantastic coffee from that mug."
"Well yes, the idiot that writes these stories didn't realize silhouettes still have facial features. He must have looked at a misleading image when he was picking my appearance. Well, he knows better now at least, and in this story I now have facial features. I guess that's something anyway."
"And this is quite a nice place, even if it isn't real. This Tam guy is obviously very talented - you are very lucky to have him."
"Perhaps. But I can't shake the feeling that this device also has a trap within it that will kill me someday. I did orchestrate the plot to murder Tam's brother, and I took his life with my own hand, literally. The only reason he hasn't taken his revenge on me yet is because he wants to use me to get vengeance on Hugh first."
Gull saw red and made a fist with the mention of Hugh's name, before getting a handle on his emotions and asking Leftover his next question.
"So you killed Tam's brother, yet he works for you and wants to kill Hugh? I am guessing this Tam worked for Hugh before?"
"Yes, after I killed Tam's brother Mirk, he had asked Hugh for permission to assault my base of operations. Hugh denied the request, and Tam quit the heroics and came here alone to get his revenge. I easily bested him in combat, and convinced him to get stronger by joining my cause. I promised him the chance to even the score with me once Hugh is out of the picture, and he is very up front about doing so when the time comes."
"Sounds like you have it rough." Gull said sympathetically. "Your flunkies bragged you up as being their charismatic leader with a master plan, but you seem to be more vulnerable than you let on."
"You surprise me too Mr. Gull." Leftover replied with a smile. "Once one of the most wanted criminals in the galaxy for murder and theft, defeated and imprisoned by Hugh back when he was a teenager. 23 years you had been imprisoned, and now you sit before me here. I expected a more brash, bitter, violent presence from you. But you are quite the good listener, and your patience is astounding. While I appreciate you hearing me out, I hope you haven't lost your edge after all those years behind bars. To be blunt, you are a vital piece to my plot for Hugh's downfall."
"And now we get to the reason why you went through all the trouble to bring me here." Gull smirked. "So what do you want from me?"
"Basically, I plan to create the ultimate hero network." Leftover began explaining. "I want to build an organization that truly protects the innocent. Hugh and his associates failed me in my time of need, leaving me stuck as a silhouette. He and his worldwide network need to be eliminated, and once they are, we will be the ones that truly protect and help others. I had initially wanted to end Hugh's life myself, but then I thought about how poetic it would be if the man he imprisoned when he first began his career on Earth was the one who did the job."
Gull smiled in an effort to feign interest, but he actually wanted to laugh at the perspective of this villain that really thought he could be a hero, despite already admitting to murder, not to mention busting a notorious criminal like himself loose. All the same, this could potentially give him his chance of encountering Hugh again, which is what he wanted. So Gull resolved to play along with Leftover's schemes.
"I have been wanting to see him again since he put me away. So what is your plan Leftover?"
"My associate CCC will be altering your appearance. You will pose as a young recruit who is being recommended by our very own double agent, John Harshal. You will meet with Hugh personally at one of his network locations. You may dispose of Hugh however you wish, but there is one more very important role you must fulfill."
"And that is?"
Leftover placed a small heart shaped box of chocolates on the table in front of Gull, along with a small remote.
"I'm giving Hugh a valentine? I thought you hated him?"
"Of course I do, and I hate the disgusting lovey dovey sweetness that is Valentine's Day as well!" Leftover cackled. "Which makes this weapon all the more sweet, if you don't mind my pun. This is a real box of chocolates, but Tam has also planted a bomb within. Leave this box anywhere within the facility, and detonate it with this remote once you, John and CCC are on your way. The bomb will level the building, and the loss of a major HQ and the network's fearless leader will cripple them, leaving their remnants easy pickings before we take their place. You get to destroy your nemesis and his life's work, and you get to walk out a free man. Not a bad deal, eh?"
"Sounds like fun Leftover!" Gull laughed. "Just tell me when we start."
Gull sat in the massive airborne jet Leftover had provided, the auto pilot function transporting him and his allies near Hugh's facility. Sitting beside him was CCC (Custom Character Creator), who was a man with a mohawk, purple eyes behind party glasses, mismatched clothes, and a toothy smile. Also next to him was the young man that would grant him access to Hugh, the mole known as John Harshal.
"So you work for Hugh, but you actually don't?" Gull asked. "What changed your mind about which network of heroes you decided to align with?"
"Hugh is a tool." John replied condescendingly. "This data entry loser that worked at the same company as me gained shape shifter powers, and he decided to hurt me with them, all because the dork couldn't take some friendly teasing from me. Hugh's people spared his life instead of putting the jerk down, and I lost all respect for Hugh then (this story can be read here: https://theprose.com/post/450794/not-so-slick-diary-of-a-shapeshifter). I aced an interview to join his network as a hero, and he has no idea that I'm actually in on the plot to get rid of him. What an idiot, I can't wait till he's toast!"
Gull smiled and laughed, but actually thought about how much he already hated John, even though he had just met him. He thought about how easy it probably was for Leftover to recruit him, and how he probably looked at John as nothing more than a simple minded pawn to further his plans.
"We will be arriving soon Gull, so I will need to change your appearance now." CCC said, preparing a laptop. "Your disguise will only last an hour, so you won't want to take up too much time. Come see the cool designs I can give the new, temporary you!"
"Thanks CCC, but I'm not picky." Gull said with a half hearted smile. "Just make me look about 28 years younger, and that should do."
"Awwww, you're no fun!" CCC pouted. "But the client is always right, so very well!"
To be continued....