Saturday, September 27, 2008

Light Arising

I actually got to go on a date with my wife last night. Now I know that may not be blogworthy, but I had to write about a movie we went to see. We went to see "Fireproof" and anyone that is married or thinking about marriage needs to see this movie with your significant other. The message of the movie is simple but awesome. However, this post isn't about the movie's main message, it is about a statement that was made in the movie that the more I think about, the more profound it becomes. The main character in the movie is struggling with a failing marriage. His wife has all but signed the bottom line of the divorce papers and the young man is struggling very much. His father comes and talks to him and talks about "the love dare" where the young man is given an assignment to love his wife no matter what her responses to him are. He tries for a good period of time, but her persistent rejection wears him out. He is on the verge of giving up and is telling his dad how there is no way that he can love someone after being rejected over and over and over. As he is telling his father this, his father is slowly walking around. They are on some old church camp grounds walking, and as soon as the main character says this about persistent love even in rejection, his dad comes to a stop at the foot of a cross and there is a pause in the conversation. WOW!! Talk about a powerful message. But that is not the best of it. His father then tells the young man, "Son, you cannot give to her what you do not have." Now here is the crux (no pun intended) of the matter. The father in this movie is absolutely right. We cannot give an unconditional love that we do not have within us. A light went off within me when he said this because now I understand why there is pain and suffering and hurt and abuse and divorce and loss and all this other awful stuff: people don't have unconditional love within them. When we don't have unconditional love within us (which is true love, by the way) then our selfish desires overtake us and we hurt people. And if you boil down the TRUE meaning of love, then you could state with a hard and wincing truth that therefore people don't have love at all within them. This is where people really start getting mad. "How can you say I can't love my kids and wife? How can you say I don't love my family?" Well, one cannot UNCONDITIONALLY love them unless that same love resides within them and there is only ONE place where this unconditional love is found. More accurately, there is only one PERSON in which this love is found: Jesus Christ. I am not going to take 20 pages of blogging to explain and answer every question that would respond to this statement, but I am going to present this very simply. God (Jesus) IS love. Everything that He is and does IS love. If I do not know God, then therefore I do not know love. Let that sink in. If I do not KNOW God, then therefore I do not KNOW love. That is a very sobering statement. I spent a lot of time last night asking God to really seek me out inside to see if I really knew Him because my responses to people are often out of selfishness (self-righteousness especially) or convenience. This is NOT unconditional love. So I pray today that we all have a sit-down chat with God and just ask Him, "Do I really KNOW You? Do I have that love within me?" If not He is just jumping with joy to give it to you. He wants you to know Him and to know what real love is. And when that happens it starts spilling out to others and all of a sudden we start seeing heaven on earth. Come on, let's ask Him to show us the reality of His love. All of us want the world to be a better place. His love is the way to really see it happen.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Different Perspective

Different Perspective

Isn’t this how we see the world?
Don’t we seem to get it backwards?
We think the reflection is what we really see
When it is what is reflected which makes our spirits leap
Rather I should say it is WHO is reflected
If He is reflected at all
But no, He is reflected in all of us
But especially those who choose to look into that Mirror and see
That what we see with these human eyes is not the true reality
But the One that we look to with our spirits to find our meaning and our purpose
The One Who shows us who we were really meant to be
The One that gives us His life and sets us eternally free
Isn’t this how we see reality?
There is a world that is much more real than the one we see with these eyes of ours
It is much more real than this mere reflection we call life
For He alone is Life, He alone is Love,
He alone is real and all Truth comes from only Him
Isn’t it funny how we see the world?
Don’t we seem to get it backwards?

K. Duane Carter 8-2-08

I wrote this because I have been very frustrated at the lack of power and presence in modern day Christianity. It really doesn’t look like anything I read about in the Bible. Of course then the next “logical” thought is, “Maybe it doesn’t exist if you don’t see it.” Well, I know who planted that thought and that is when I asked God, “Why aren’t we seeing this real Christianity?” That is when He showed me that we will never see it as long as we look from our perspectives. That is why the people of Jesus’ day missed Him, too. They were looking for grandeur and power and majesty. They were looking for a conqueror who would destroy their enemies and set up an earthly kingdom. Aren’t we guilty of the same? The real kingdom of God begins in loving our neighbor as ourselves. That is it right there. When we start looking at life from this perspective, then we finally begin to see the REAL stuff we have been looking for all along. It is all about relationships. It is all about real relationships based in a real love given out by a real God and a real Savior and Friend and a real Spirit Who ache and long for people to be one with Him. When we enter this place, then that is when we enter into what our true lives are meant to be. Everything else will flow from this.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Miracle

Hello everyone from the Smoky Mountains! The picture is from the forests of the National Park. My family and I went to see a tremendous show today. It was called "The Miracle" and it was a Broadway-style presentation of the story of Jesus. It was an awesome show, but there were several things in there that really stood out to me. First was how Jesus was not some sort of somber and serious prude. He danced, He laughed, He hung out with the guys. Second was that I was amazed at when the show presented Jesus as healing the deaf and the blind and the leprous and raising the dead, the crowd roared in approval, yet when we see or hear of people doing this today all of a sudden people get really nervous and squeamish, especially people that go to church. What is up with that? Why is it that the One we claim to worship, the One who told us that we would do greater things than He did can be applauded today for the miraculous things He did, but if someone who follows Him completely does the same thing then we disdain that person? Third was the fact that everyone that was with Jesus really missed out on God's purposes because their thinking and their expectations were way too small. Jesus did not just come to rescue the Jewish people; he came to save all of us and give us all what we needed to be restored into a real relationship with God. That's why people just didn't get Him. I am wondering if we are doing the same thing. God has big plans for His people (ALL of His people), but our thinking is so small, I wonder if we are missing Him in the process. We are so focused on getting people "in church" that we miss the fact that God is trying to love them into His kingdom. We are so focused on people's shortcomings and aberrations from us that we miss the fact that God loves them and has a particular call and destiny for them. We are so focused on "doing stuff" that God will smile on and that will get us a better seat in heaven that we forget that Christ already did it all and we simply need to love each other by letting Him live that love out in us. There were several other things but I will have to save those for later. Sorry for the "pounding post" today, but I couldn't help but think of these things today. If you are ever in the Pigeon Forge area then check out "The Miracle." It is really a great show and it is very well done.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Picture

The Picture

There is a picture of God’s plan for us here
We start in the center with darkness
Then we see glimpses of His glory and majesty
We are then immersed in the crimson of His blood
And as we go outward leaving the darkness far behind
The realities of His resurrection and His glory become far more clear
And the realities of His resurrection power become far more bountiful to us
Than when we first saw those glimpses of His glory
They become so glorious that they overshadow the dimness of death and dying
They become so clear that all of this worlds other alternatives are dull in comparison
There is a picture of God’s plan for us here
He whispers His love for us in all things He has made
We see with our ears and hear with our eyes
When we simply take the time to listen and see
In ways that go beyond our mere reality
That is only a shadow of what is truly there
God places His love in a flower with care
And waits for us to simply kneel down and see it

kdc 9-14-08



I am here at this place
A place where I feel tethered down
Yet resting in the waters
I have risen above the waters to see Your glory
And though it is so bright no man can look upon it
Yet I rest in the peace of this water
Knowing my chains are loosed
Knowing I am not tethered anymore
Awaiting my moment to fly over those mountains
That were always so large and daunting before
Yet now they are only beautiful things
That I will be able to fly over
To get to that place that is closer to Your brilliance,
Your majesty and Your power
I am here at this place
A place where even though I feel tethered down
The Truth is right there before me
And I choose to believe Him
Over what I feel

kdc 9-14-08

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Is being right better than having a relationship?

I don't like posting on things that I am currently wrestling with because I am the type of person who wants to have the answer perfectly in order before writing it down; however, I feel that these thoughts have to be released today. I have just finished "The Shack" by William Young and I am currently reading "Messy Spirituality" by Michael Yaconelli and there is a deep theme in both of those books that speaks of how God is much more interested in our relationship to Him than He is in us getting all the rules right. Now this really cuts against the grain of how I am shaped, but what fascinates me is how God is right now, every day, testing me in this same area. Am I going to yell at my child for breaking something, or am I going to offer forgiveness and love and establish a deeper relationship? Am I going to be determined to be right in front of my wife even if it means a heated argument, or am I going to forfeit that right and establish a deeper relationship? Am I going to condemn someone for falling short of God's law, or am I going to establish a relationship? Am I going to take God's place as judge, or am I going to take my place as a bridge helping people who are standing on one side of the chasm away from God and lead them to Him? Am I going to speak words of criticism and judgment, or am I going to speak words of hope and healing? I am not talking about "tolerance" here and I am not talking about condoning evil. I am talking about living like Jesus amongst evil and REDEEMING it (that word means to free something into life by the way) instead of bashing evil to death and in the process bashing people to death. The choice is simple: life or death? The power and the love it takes to choose life and relationship is the hard part, but only if I try and do that on my own. In fact, it is impossible to do that on my own. Jesus, let Your love flow through me and nothing else. Let Your truth flow, let Your life flow. It is only through Him that we can live this out.
One more thing that I have to say. I read one of the most profound things I have read in a long time last night. Mr. Yaconelli wrote, "People who pretend have pretend relationships." WOW. No wonder our world is full of people who feel hopeless. We live in a society (especially in church society) where we pretend to have it all together. My most hated question in church is "How are you doing" and the response "Fine". It is time for transparency because only in transparency are real relationships built. Only in transparency can the church finally become a people who actually ATTRACT others instead of repel them or, even worse, reject them. It is time. It is time. IT IS TIME.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Wooden Fence

The Wooden Fence

I see this as me

I have a fence between the green pastures and me
I have a fence between the oceans of God's love and me
I have a fence between His cloud of glory and me
The fence even barricades the color out of my life
Yet, why can't I see the gaps?
Why can't I see that everything holding me back is dead?
It is dead on wood that no man has understood
Without the help of the Spirit of God
I am ready to bend down and go between those gaps
I need to learn how to lie down in the grass anyway
Because that is exactly what I will do on the other side
Everything holding me back from God is dead
I must move this thought right out of my head
And put it into action, so it will come alive in me
I see this as me

K. Duane Carter

I had to write this after a major let-down in my life yesterday. I hate screwing up. Through the night I kept thinking, "Great, now I have to go through all of this again. I am never going to get to my destiny because of my stupid decisions." What is so funny about this is just the day before God had shown me how that everything that holds us back from walking in the kingdom of God had been nailed to the cross and killed with Jesus, and when He rose up from the dead we could now walk in that same power. The kingdom of God is simply stepped into when we step into it by the power that Jesus gives us when we believe in what He did for us. Then I go and use my gift of resurrection power to raise up the dead stuff in my life instead of walking in life. Isn't that funny how we squirm and doubt when the possibility of raising the dead comes up, yet we use our resurrection power to do that everyday with the things that are dead which hold us back? We are constantly raising up our old nature from the dead. The enemy is very good at deception. He is using our very own God-given ability to resurrect the dead to raise up those things that have died in us. We may think they are alive because he deceives us to think that, and once we think they are "unconquerable" we tell them to get up and get on us and that power is released and here they come again. But in truth they are dead. Let's use our God-given authority to proclaim those things dead and call forth those things that God has said are alive in us. Let's put that resurrection power that God has given us in Jesus to good use!
I have to mention Abraham in this. He screwed up yet he walked right into his God-given destiny. Then you read God's view of him in Hebrews 11 and there are no mentions of the screw-ups. He is said to be a man without fault. We look at God and say, "What? Haven't You read Your own book?" I think God laughs at that question because God rewrites stories. Not because He made a mistake but because He has the power and might and love to erase our mistakes and to simply see in us what pleases Him. Then He writes down what He sees: the good stuff. He has the right to remove those mistakes we have made. In fact, He already did that at the cross, and He is just simply waiting for us to become agreeable with Him on that. Wow!


8-31-08 Thoughts in the office

If there is anything in the universe that is good, then God made it. Pleasure is created by God. Happiness is created by God. Laughter is created by God. Contentment and peace are created by God. Then I think of the verse, "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you." So if I want these good things then I need to seek first God's kingdom and His righteousness. Seeking the kingdom is seeking God's plan and place for me. There are three phases of this. The first is the actual birthing into the kingdom. The second is where I learn how to walk in the kingdom. The third is where I begin to live abundantly in the kingdom.
All of my life I have had the following "stinky thinky": God allowed Jesus to suffer on the cross so why wouldn't He allow us to suffer? What makes us think we are above pain and suffering if God allowed it to happen to His own son? That sounds real good on the surface, but below the surface it states that God made pain in His kingdom. Therefore pain is "very good" because God proclaimed it to be. That is garbage. Read Isaiah 53. It is NOT God's will that we should suffer and be sick and be afflicted and bound. It was His will that Jesus would take all of this on Himself and that all of that would DIE on the cross. When Jesus rose from the dead, that stuff was conquered. It was DEAD. It was God's will that Jesus would suffer so we wouldn't have to. Jesus took the pain and the suffering, the illness and the punishment, the guilt and the condemnation and even the mindsets that lead to those and KILLED IT. In other words EVERYTHING that is holding us back from the kingdom of God is DEAD.
Now the next typical thought is "how does something that is dead hold us back?" In other words the pain and suffering don't LOOK dead! They look very alive and "well." God then states that we walk by faith and not by sight. The enemy is the great deceiver and the great pretender. In God's kingdom there is no cancer, there is no disease, there is no suffering and there is no death. WE must see things as they REALLY are, NOT as they SEEM. We must speak out the truth and live the truth and allow the Truth to live through us. There are root issues that God is looking to rip up so that we can truly live, but we must be willing to know that He is always good and always love and He is NEVER the maker of evil.
Now everything in my "logical" mind is going, "Now wait a minute. It can't be that straightforward. And how do you say something 'is' when you can't even see it or even worse you see its very opposite before you? How can you say suffering is dead when you can go next door to your neighbor's house and find a person with cancer?" Because Jesus has proclaimed that His kingdom is here. Declarations go out before actions. It is time to declare and believe and then the actions will come forth. My logical mind can stick it, anyway, because it cannot understand what God is up to and I am getting to the point that I don't want to understand; I want to SEE.


Hello to all!! My name is Duane Carter and I am a man on a mission to see God's love truly rock our world. Over the years I have really struggled with what most people view as "Christianity" because frankly it was very judgmental and very powerless. Then I met Jesus and that was all it took. I am beginning to learn that if there is hate and discord and malice and jealousy then that ain't Jesus. If that is what you think when you think of "Christianity" then you are not looking in the right place. So I will periodically post poems, photos, and just simple thoughts of my personal walk with the One Who created it all. My intention is that you will see the real God, the real Jesus Who loves us more than anyone can imagine and Who wants us all to walk in all the great things that He has made for us to walk in. More later!