Thursday, May 31, 2007

Getting serious.

It's absolutely exhilarating.

Though, I must admit it's not very girly. But I've always been too stubborn to fit into a dainty role anyway.

So what's so exhilarating? Working outdoors.
There's grit under my fingernails, my face is red, my hair has gone frizzy, and some sweat made it's way to sting my eye before I could reach an arm up to swipe my brow. And I'm as happy as can be.
There's just nothing quite like working outside. Rubbing blisters into your hands, bashing your finger with a hammer, getting sunburned and overheated, and tired.
Really tired.
You don't get that from an office job.
It takes 12 hrs of tedious labor to even begin to come close to the fulfillment that comes from just 30 minutes of strenuous labor. It's powerful. It's refreshing. It's wonderful. It's all too rare.

You would think, since I enjoy it so much, that after coming home from work I would immediately set out to accomplish one of the many physical tasks that I've just labeled as 'fulfilling'. But I don't. At least not as often as you'd imagine.
You see the tedious stuff is the worst kind of work. It's more weary-some than tiresome, and more draining than invigorating. Yet, even knowing that if I go home and take 30 minutes to set at one small chore outside, I'll feel a world better.... I still don't do it.
Why not?
Because being weary drains the desire right out of me.

I don't spent 30 minutes doing what invigorates me, because I've spent 9 hours doing things that don't. To me, that makes as much sense as being too thirsty to drink, too hungry to eat, too tired to sleep, too happy to smile. It's senseless.

And then, because I can twist almost anything into some strange spiritual lesson that - more than likely - only I understand, I realized I face the same problem spiritually.

I spend 24 hrs in the world, every single day. It's draining. This isn't the home I'd like to be living in. I'd rather live in a heavenly home. My neighbors aren't the people I'd rather be talking to, I'd rather be talking to Jesus. My radio isn't the music I'd rather be listening to, I'd rather be listening to heavenly choirs.
So, do I go to church as much as I possibly can? No.
Do I pray as much as I possibly can? No.
Do I read Gods word as much as I possibly can? No. I don't even read only Christian books as my library records can prove.

Why do we do this? If we, and by 'we' I mean everyone that professes to be Christians, long for Heaven and Christ so very much... why on earth do we not surround ourselves with as much Heaven on earth as we possibly can?
Tired of the worlds news and books? Read Heavens books.
Tired of the words music? Listen to Heavens songs.
Tired of the worlds standards? Hold Gods standards.

We don't though. I've ignored special revivals because I was 'busy', watched tv because I was tired or bored, and read insanely stupid articles about which celebrity is shaving their hair or fighting with another celebrity. All the while asking God for more of Him.
To be perfectly honest, I don't deserve more of Him. Granted, none of us do, but looking at my life, my habits, my passions, I almost believe that God should withhold himself until I learn to get serious.
Why He's given me this much, when I've done so little, is beyond me. But it does make me wonder....
If I've got this much, when I've been so foolish, and done so little...
Great God, what would happen if I got serious?

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Learning to lean.

I've struggled with something for a very long time. It wasn't a huge thing, but it was something I definitely felt I didn't need to have in my life, but I had had the hardest time weeding it out.
And so I brought the situation to God, ironically enough that was something I'd failed to do up to that point, and suddenly my prayers took a different turn than I was expecting.

I was simply talking to God about it, when suddenly the idea of Him being my deliverer come to mind and I began praying in earnest that He would deliver me, that He would be my deliverer and bring me out.
It was a prayer He answered in more ways than one.

First, in the initial thing I brought to Him, I've still struggled with it, but every single time, I have overcome. I've never overcome it before. He is a faithful deliverer.

And second, I found freedom from something else as well. It's complicated and personal and I don't know how I would explain it even if I felt comfortable explaining it... so I'll simply leave it at this: I didn't realize that I was bound in this area and had been for a very long time. In many ways with this specific issue, I feel like a bird that has been caged for it's entire lifetime and now the gate has swung wide open. I'm staring at doorway to freedom, knowing I'm now free, but not sure what to do with it.

Immediately after that cage door opened though, it felt as though I walked into a storm. I had two choices, to either claim the truth God had given me that made me feel so free, or accept the troubling circumstances around me as truth. I admit, it took me a few troubled days to see the connection between the circumstance and the freedom, but when I finally saw it I made a decision to claim the truth that came with the freedom.

Next,

Sunday night, as we all gathered round the front to pray for my pastor, I remembered the words of a fellow blogger (I'd link to him but I'm not quite sure which one wrote about doing this). The word from the blogger was, when you're praying for someone, to first ask God how to pray. And then pray that way. So while everyone else was praying for my pastor, I was asking God how to pray, though I confess I told God several times that it would be much appreciated if He'd tell me while I was suppose to be up here praying. And finally, as clear as a bell, I knew God wanted me to pray in the Spirit. And I did. An experience that still surprises and thrills me.

My main point in writing all this for you and for me, is to document. I've been praying for big things, and yet at the same time, I realize how foolish I would be to dismiss God speaking to me as a 'small thing'.
In any trade it's important to know which tools to use. You don't pick up a hammer when you're putting in a screw (though I have occasionally) and you don't pick up a wrench when you need to cut a strip of wood. In that same way, I'm coming to see the many traits of Gods character as tools. If I run out of money when the bills are due, I can call on God my Provider. If I break my leg, I can call on God my Healer. When facing someone that wants to hurt me, I can call on God my Protector. BUT, in Gods wisdom, if I ask Him how to pray, He might tell me that I've run out of money and the bills are due because I was careless, and I should call on God my Counselor. If I've broken my leg, He might tell me that He's using this time for a special purpose to His glory and I should call on God my Peace giver. And, when facing an enemy, He may choose that I call on God my Strength who will see me through the battle, and not around it.

Gods perspective is not my perspective. That much is obvious. But it's also become obvious that God is willing to give me His perspective. He'll instruct me on how to pray, and which way to make it through to where He wants me to go. Much like He directed me to seek my deliverer, He is able to direct my paths.

Primarily, I write today because I don't want to forget. These are big things for me. Maybe you're farther along spiritually than I am, but don't ever take for granted that you've got the wisest counselor in the universe instructing and guiding you.

I'm so glad to know Him.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

A small tub of apricots

I've been watching a tree in my newly owned backyard, and have wondered what it was. At first my dad thought it was a pear tree. Spring sprung and it flowered up beautifully leaving me happy in the hope it was at least a fruit tree. Then small little things appeared, and after excitedly telling my co-worker I thought they were apricots, she tamped down my hopes some by warning me it could be a fig tree.
Finally one day I arrived home from work to find a small orange ball splattered on the ground. I did the only thing I could think of since I don't know that I've ever actually seen a fig; I picked up the blob and sniffed it. And instantly knew I had myself an apricot tree.

Since then, I've watched it drop plenty of split, and nasty looking apricots onto the ground and just haven't made time to deal with it. Finally, on this long holiday weekend I thought I might just try to see what I could get.

Unfortunately, it rained most of the day. Finally, in between rain storms I decided to take the chance. So armed with a little plastic tub, a ladder, and an indifference to getting rained on by a tree, I headed outdoors.

I learned a lot while I picked at my fruit tree.

A lot of my apricots were still on the tree, split right across the top. Rather nasty looking. I'd mentioned this problem to others and was told that it was a result of all the rain we'd had lately. The fruit was ripening too fast and so it split. And I found myself praying God, don't let me grow too fast. I want to grow more than anything, but You know how much to teach me and when. You know when I need to simply sit and soak up the available knowledge around me without giving me more. Help me grow, Lord, but at the right pace, at the right time, and help me not be overwhelmed.

The branches of my tree are all rather high, and I needed to use a ladder to be able to reach any apricots. At one point I aimed myself at a branch that leans over my carport and, with one hand to the tree, and the other hand to the carport I climbed to the very top step of the ladder. The fruit on this particular branch seemed to look even nicer than the other branches of fruit. They didn't look split, and I couldn't readily see brown spots or holes so I determined to shake the branch (since I still couldn't reach) and try to make some fall on the roof of the carport where I could snag them my direction with a stick. I especially got rained on by the tree at that point, and certainly jump started my heart a few times as I got a few reminders why the ladder manufacturer doesn't want you to stand on the top step.
Besides praying that I'd be careful, I found myself praying, God, help me to never be afraid to climb as high as I can in You. Even when my steps feel shaky and the rain runs down my arm help me to not just hold on, but to always reach out, as high and as far as I can in order to have the best fruits You have to offer.

After I was finally done climbing around my tree, I started looking at all the apricots that had fallen on the ground during the week. Most looked nasty, but I thought there might be something good in there so I started checking through the ones on the ground. Sure enough, I found several good apricots on the ground. But I also found out something else. I found that sometimes I would spot an apricot and think how good it looked, only to pick it up and discover that the other side was as nasty as could be. And I found myself praying, God help me to see the fruit in my life for what it is. I see the fruit of peace that I strive for, has the blackness of fear to make others upset by speaking the truth. That's not good fruit Father, because where I do not see truth, I will never see true peace. Help me Father, to throw out this bad fruit and to develop the true fruit of peace.

Looking around the ground of my tree though, I discovered often that the very opposite was true of some of my apricots. Some of them, I initially thought were black and not good, turned out only to be dirt marring a perfectly good apricot. It only needed to be washed off and it would be just fine. And I found myself praying, God, help me to be careful in my assessment of fruit. Help me not be too fast to declare something bad, that You have made good. I see a need for this mostly in my assessment of other peoples fruit. So often I confuse simple dirt and bruising for decay and rotting. Help me to never undervalue some of the fruits in other peoples lives, and help me to get close enough to see the difference. And Father, help me to be diligent in cleaning my own fruit, so that if ever a day comes when I can be used to help others to perfect their own, I will be able to do it skillfully and gently.

And then, finally having gathered all the salvageable fruit, I decided I didn't want to leave the nasty ones still littering my yard. So I grabbed another plastic bag and started picking up the bad apricots. And again, I found myself praying, God, help me to always be concerned about the bad fruit lying around in my life. Help me to be constant and vigilant about keeping the my heart clean and free of old and decaying, worthless things. Help me to see bitterness, resentment, fear and pride with the same disgust that I see the black and flies and mold on these fruits that I don't even want to touch. Help me to stubbornly work until every last trace is gone.

Finally done, I put my ladder away, threw away the bag of bad apricots and took the time to make sure I didn't track the mud on my shoes from the experience back into my house. I went in with my fruit and then washed them, dried them, and separated the fully ripe ones from the ones that needed a little more time ripening. The ripe ones I put in the fridge, hoping it would slow their aging, and the ones that needed a little more time I stuck in a paper bag hoping the trick I've heard of so many times -but never tried- was not just a foolish gag. And, this one last time, I found myself praying, God, help me preserve the good fruit in my life. Help me to tend it, and pay attention to it, and not just leave it sitting there unnoticed until it spoils and collects flies. Help me to cultivate the fruits in my life that need a bit more time before they look like anything usable. And help me to diligently use my fruits to the best end possible. Help me to share my fruits, even the ones I might be embarrassed over because of the bruises and scars on them. And help me to use the seeds that can be found in my fruit, to help others bear fruit also.

And Lord, thank You for my apricot tree.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Coincidence? I think not.

It was Sunday morning, and I walked into church and leaned into my pastors office to say good morning. We exchanged "good mornings" and "how are you's" and when he answered that he was 'fine' I stopped and asked if he really was. That's when he mentioned he was scheduled to have a heart cath done this coming Wednesday. I walked away saying something half joking, and half serious about how I've come to expect him to lie to me first thing in the morning since he always originally answers that he's 'fine'. (Just so you know, I did regret saying that later, and apologized to him that evening.)

He always talks briefly to the church before dismissing everyone to Sunday School and, this time he made a point to mention that sometimes it's necessary to speak in faith, speaking for your own healing in your life, sometimes by saying your 'fine' and then believing for it. - I'm paraphrasing but I believe I've gotten the gist right.

That bothered me all afternoon. I understood his point, but I just couldn't accept it. Somewhere in the afternoon I reasoned that maybe it could be different for him since he had family, but if I applied what he said to my own life, I would be carrying all my burdens, by myself , all the time. I'm usually pretty good about giving God my troubles, but there's something reassuring to know that others are bringing me to God as well sometimes. I've never strongly disagreed with my pastor before, but I just couldn't see any way that I would be willing to apply this to my life. In small things, I could do this easily, but he wasn't applying this to a small thing, but a big thing.

I spent all afternoon wrestling with the idea and couldn't see a resolution. And then I went to church that evening and at the end of the service he talked about his upcoming heart procedure and asked the church to gather around him and pray. Walking away from church that night it was almost as if clarity were a light shining down on me. I didn't understand the entire answer to my questions, but I felt I understood the concept.


Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart. Psalms 119:34

Thy hands have made me and fashioned me: give me understanding, that I may learn thy commandments. Psalms 119:73

I am thy servant; give me understanding, that I may know thy testimonies. Psalms 119:125

And I will give you pastors according to Mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding. Jeremiah 3:15




THEN

After last Wednesday night, I pulled out a cd that I rarely listened to anymore since I've come to prefer the radio for the time being. I pulled it out and began worshipping, rather loudly, on my way to and from work. And I had the idea that I'd like to take the cd to church one night (not when others are there) and simply have my own worship service and time of prayer. I reined myself in when I recalled my dad recently advising me not to do things at the church without talking to my pastor first. I didn't particularly want to explain that I wanted to come to the church and sing along with a cd, it sounds foolish even now to think of it, so I simply put the idea aside and decided I would just worship in my car as I'd been doing.

Sunday night, my pastor put a cd in and said our worship service would be a bit different in that we would worship along with a cd.

Delight thyself also in the LORD: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.
Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.
Psalms 37:4 & 5


THEN

I specifically asked God to bring something into my life. I left the request alone and forgotten for weeks. Then I received an e-mail, from someone I barely knew, offering me the very thing I'd asked for.

For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.
O LORD of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee.
Psalms 84:11 & 12

Friday, May 25, 2007

I don't speak spanish.

God never answers prayers like I think He's going to. Even when He says yes, the answer doesn't seem to come out the way I expected.

Unfortunately, that generally makes it easier for me to dismiss events as coincidence and not Gods divine intervention.

I'm not going to do that this time.

Our church recently began a Spanish ministry. On Thursday nights a Spanish speaking gentleman and his bilingual wife lead a service in Spanish. I've tried to attend as much as possible though, I have to admit I often find I need to shake myself and refocus my attention since I tend to get lost in thought since I can't understand a word they're saying.

I accept the fact that I'm at a Spanish service, and so - not knowing Spanish - I won't understand what's going on. But for some reason, last night, I prayed that I would understand. I told God that it was possible for them to speak in Spanish and me hear them in English, and so I asked Him for just that. I didn't want to be confused, I didn't want to not understand what they said.

So the service began, and I was the only one there -besides the gentleman and his wife. I was it. So, instead of preaching as he normally would, the gentleman turned the service over to his wife who proceeded to preach/teach in both Spanish and English. She'd speak in Spanish, then immediately translate for my benefit. It wasn't the miracle I'd asked for, but it was the miracle I'd asked for. And yes, I mean the sentence to read that way.

God is good. He hears my prayers, and He cares. I got more out of that service, than I received out of any of their previous services. I also learned more Spanish in that service than I had learned in the previous services. God is kind.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

I quit

I'm relieved.
And blessed.
I'll give you a little backstory to tell you why.

I have a job, a regular job. But I also work part time a man that runs the paper routes for the Dallas Morning News. I don't run a paper route myself, but I'm just a handy person that he keeps around so he can take days off while I do his chores. I tend to say yes to his requests because I really do enjoy the job. It's terrific work and if it paid better, I'd be more than happy to do it every day. The 2nd reason is simply because I really enjoy collecting money. Really. It's a hobby.

Years ago, I had run a full time paper route for this guy and had quit for only one reason, (and I forced myself to tell him honestly) I was quitting was simply because I knew God did not want me running the route.

Enough backstory.

I picked up one more job besides the other little things I do for my boss. He'd asked me to run someone elses route just one day a week so they would have a day off. I thought nothing of it and agreed easily, though I did tell him I wouldn't do it on Sundays as the lady was requesting but would agree to Saturdays if she was still interested. She was, and so I started doing her route on Saturdays.

It was around two weeks ago, while at 1am in the morning I was preparing to head out the door that God quite distinctly said "I thought I told you not to do that". I hadn't considered God in this equation. And I really hadn't thought of how He'd previously told me not to run a route. So, I said I'd quit. I'd already requested the next week off for my dads surgery, so I wasn't in a big hurry to talk to my boss. I definitely wasn't in a hurry to go to my boss again, telling him I was acting on Gods instructions. Right as it may be, and even though my boss goes to church and says he's a christian... I still hate looking like a crazy person.

Finally, just yesterday, I prayed for backbone and told my boss I wouldn't do the route after a certain date - and why.

Today, as it turns out, the girl informed him she was quitting and I wouldn't need to throw her route for her anymore.

1 day. If I had waited 1 more day, I would have lost my chance to be obedient. I would have lost my God-given opportunity to look like a crazy person.

I'm so grateful, and I feel blessed that I didn't miss that opportunity. I had said in my Sunday Post that I had been waiting to publish the posts I was writing until I felt ready to "be back" and today, I feel back. I feel different. I feel more ready. Though what that readiness is for I don't know.
I feel less effected by the things around me. Less changed by them. And more changed by God. I feel more settled and more sure of the path that I'm walking on. I hope my writing changes to reflect that. I hope my life changes to reflect that.

I'm ready.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Wednesdays Return

Things are going really well. Dad actually was home from the surgery by Friday night (modern technology is amazing), but God gets most of the credit for a remarkable healing. His biggest complaint is that his catheter hurts. And that's just something to live with until June 1st when we'll go back and have that removed. Mom did absolutely amazingly during the surgery, all of the days we were up there actually. Her alzheimers didn't really show itself any more than it normally does, and that was an answer to prayer.

I realized right after the surgery as I was getting this and that, and going here and there running errands, that without love I'm just a well trained servant, and that was a hard thing to swallow. And after I considered how important it was to "love without expectation" I realized how often God must feel like I did. How often do we come to Him only when we have a problem, and ignore Him the rest of the time. He's our own version of Santa Clause, except instead of just 'stuff' we'll come in wanting peace and reassurance. It seems more spiritual to go desiring those things, but I wonder if God really sees a difference between the two.

Thinking about it right this moment, I realize I spend too much of my time trying to figure out how to get God to do what I want. Having more faith and love will earn me the power to heal. Pray more, read the bible more, that will help me know God better so I can see signs and wonders, miracles. All of those things are good things, but He sees my motives. My motives for wanting to see people healed, for desiring signs and wonders, miracles, and knowing God better... they're all good. But not one single motive is as good as 'I want more faith and love, so I'll be more like You, because You're the best thing that has ever happened to me.' or 'I want to know You better, because You're the most amazing Friend I've ever known, and every new detail -no matter how small- that I learn about you simply amazes me. And as impossible as it may seem, it makes me love You more.'

I never really considered the idea that those motives are the most pure, and that love for the people around me is albeit a good motive, it still uses Christ as simply a means to an end. My relationship with Him is strong. It is good, and easily flows. He doesn't take offense easily, and I don't spend a good deal of time watching my words with Him so that I might deter misunderstanding. Simply because I know He understands.

That doesn't mean that I haven't sinned a thousand times in my motives. And, as our relationship grows, His expectations of my love for Him grow as well. I don't know that the idea of "don't hurt Gods feelings" should play a big part of my day to day happenings, but I do know that He is THE faithful friend. And I want to be a faithful friend to Him as well.

I guess, in all the events, I simply learned that in the hours that I'm not praying for others, or reading His word, I want my prayer to be, "I'm here God, for no other reason 'cept I want to be near you." Like watching tv with a friend or chatting on the phone while you work. It's simply the comfort of being around them, regardless of what you're doing. The biggest hindrance is that you don't always remember to call your friend before the show starts, or pick up the phone when you're busy working on something.

While He will never step into the role of servant, duty bound to satisfy my every request; I hope, and pray, my heart remains steadfast enough to ensure I don't place Him in that role. I hope it is always clear, fervently clear that He has drawn me, and I have chosen Him as the Master. And that this transition took place solely because I desperately love Him, for wholly loving me.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Monday

I'd originally planned to have today (Monday) off work because I didn't know where I would be with my dad's surgery. But, we arrived back home on Friday, and I even returned to my home on Friday as well. His healing progress has been simply amazing. But, despite some random trips and chores to help out, I've had a very long weekend to myself. I was able to arrange my return to work to come tomorrow (Tuesday) rather than the original return date of Wednesday, but unfortunately (listen to me!) 'unfortunately' I only have a certain number of vacation days I can roll over. So I had to use up some and stay at home today.

In the quiet of a very rare weekday at home, I did a lot of thinking.

I don't know how this post will come off, I never do. Things get interpreted in ways I never imagine sometimes, so I want to help you understand. As you read this post, read it with the knowledge and image of the words flowing out on a sigh of peace. That's the best I can describe it.

I love God. I love the idea of Him loving me, and being in control of my future. I love those crazy moments when I look at a scary decision and wonder how a year or even a week will turn out. I've done something recently that I've never done before, and I love knowing that I can place it in His hands and trust Him for the wisdom on how to handle it.

I love having desire. Earnest, gut-wrenching desire that overwhelms my thoughts and my plans. And I love that all of my most longed for desires are God planted into my very being. I love verses that tell me He'll be faithful to complete the work He started in me. Because I know that those desires are the very works He started in me. I love being satisfied with dis-satisfaction. Always loving where I am, but never content to stay there a moment longer than I have to. I have seen so many that live from day to day, not looking into the future, and that just makes me appreciate and hold more tightly my dreams. I love my dreams.

I love that my God and Savior draws me. I'd easily fall into believing that my spiritual growth is a result of my own efforts. When, in truth, even my desire to grow comes from God Himself. For so long I was content with where I was, and now I can't imagine living without this burning in my heart. Driving me, convicting me, and changing me.

God has been gracious to me. He's accepted my childish questions, my immature selfishness, my tantrums, and my outbursts. He works in me knowing the end result of what I can become. He created me, and drew me, and changed me. And continues to do so still.

I love Him because He speaks through the unexpected, and never fails to warn me when I step out of place. I love that He is even less content than I am to have me stay as I am, and that He looks towards my future with more excitement and hope than I do.

I love Him, because in every moment, every situation, every struggle, and every wonderful and sorrowful day, He has been there loving me all the way. I love Him because I know the same love that He has for me today will awake anew tomorrow as fresh and as vibrant as the first day He loved me.

I never imagined being able to say this... but, I love Him now - simply because I can't help but love Him.

Te Queiro SeƱor

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Sunday

It's Sunday right now, though I believe you won't see this until Wednesday, or maybe Thursday. I'm writing posts, but not publishing them until I'm ready to officially 'be back'.

I didn't want to go to church today. Preachers like the quote "I'd rather be here than the best hospital in town" but I don't think I would have qualified for that today. I wanted to hide. I wanted to sit at my house and hide from the world. Even if the world I was hiding from was a Christian world.

I didn't want to smile, I didn't want to be happy, I didn't want to talk to people. And when you go to church people expect you to do just that.

I've smiled before, when I didn't want to; I've been happy before, when I didn't want to; and I've most certainly talked to people, when I didn't want to - though the invention of caller id has left me more leeway in that area. But today was different. Today, I just wanted to quit.



The day was beautiful, even as I write this, there's warm sunshine and a refreshing cool breeze coming through my screen door. Birds are chirping. And even now, I'd like nothing better than to crawl into my chair, curl up in a ball and wait for the day to end. Today, I would love to write God my resignation for life. Not necessarily the existence of my life, but the living it. It's the living life that feels harder today than before.



I'm tired. And I'm hurting. And I wish this day would hurry up and end.



BUT.



For all the things I want to do today, I'm not doing a single one.

I didn't want to go to church, so I went to church if for no other reason that I would never have to look back and regret the fact that I let my emotions keep me from the house of God.

I didn't want to take lunch to my parents, but I did it, because I didn't want to regret not being able to take back even that hint of unfaithfulness to them.

I didn't want to praise God today, but I did it because I know that even if it doesn't seem like it by the way others act, those that don't praise God, those that don't know God, struggle a lot more than I am struggling today.



It's not about my feelings, but my beliefs. I believe God is loving, even when I feel unloved. I believe God is just, even when I feel mistreated. I believe God is faithful, even when I feel alone. I believe God is merciful, even when I feel condemned. And I believe God is my comforter, even when I feel overwhelmed by grief

Most of the time my feelings agree with my beliefs. But today I've had to choose which one is my master. Today, I will honor and serve what and WHO I believe to be true, even though it doesn't feel like it at all.

And maybe it will feel true tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Life.

This will be my last post for the next few days, I'll explain why in just a moment. First things first though.

Thursday, May 17th 2007 my brother and his wife will celebrate 10 years of marriage. Congratulations you two. I'd be the very first person to shake her head and say marriage was too much trouble and frustration. But you both jumped in, and stuck with it. Despite the fact that I know you both drive each other nuts sometimes. 10 years, or 3,650 days, or 87,600 hours later you're still together. I'm proud of you both and hope you have a lifetime such anniversaries. Thank you for my niece and nephew. And thank you for all the years you allowed me to live with you and be a part of that family.

Sunday, May 20th, 2007 that very same brother is turning 30. I can't believe it. 30. 30. You're about to finish your college degree and that amazes me. I don't know all the things you went through, but I do know how overwhelmed your mind got a few times with all the numbers (his major was accounting). I'm proud of you for finishing, and I'll be praying that God opens up the perfect accounting job for you to get that year of experience in before you take the CPA exam.

Now, moving on the blog related stuff.


It is 2am, and I am up at an hour that I have always deemed to be ungodly. Shortly, I will pick up my parents and we will head to the VA hospital in Dallas, Tx. where at some point today they will remove his cancer ridden prostate. I'm already amazed at Gods handiwork, but the idea that human beings, can open up other human beings and just take organs out never ceases to leave me awestruck. God is an amazing God. The fact that He gave man the idea and ability to understand His creation enough to figure out what organs you can rip out, which organs you can splice with someone elses donated organ, simply floors me. I can easily imagine Him, sitting on His throne, watching with an amused smile while we discover yet one more thing we can learn from just one drop of blood. He is amazing. And today, my dad will be placed at the mercy of those instruments of God, with their God given talents. And in doing so, by Gods mercy, a measure of health will be restored to my dad. Today, even at this ungodly hour, I know it is a good, and God-filled, day.

The stress of this upcoming surgery though, has made my mothers alzheimers far more noticeable. She is, thankfully, in the early stages, but her confusion has multiplied in the last few weeks since this surgery was announced. I wonder what the hours today are going to bring me with her condition. I'm praying I find the right balance between distracting her and helping time pass, and still not overwhelming her poor mind. I hope I don't get frustrated hearing the same things, or having to say the same things over and over again. And I pray I have the right words to say when she cries.

I need God to do a special work today. And I'm grateful already, because I know that He will. It's going to be a long day, and the hours ahead are going to be tiresome, but God is going to be with me all this long day. He is a trusted Friend and welcome comfort. He is the breath of peace and clarity that my mother needs. He is the strength of calm and healing that my dad needs. He is the wisdom and compassion that I need. He Is. And that is good enough.

I am always a little surprised every single day when I look at my meter that tells me how many people have visited my blog that day. I’m a foolish 26, and I don’t imagine that my random thoughts and ideas are profound or even original. Yet a small collection of you come back day after day. Thank you. Thank you for reading.

We'll be staying in Dallas until my dad gets out of the hospital, and we don't know how long he'll be there. Blogging will resume at least by next Wednesday, possibly sooner, but there are no guarantees. I hope you good week.

Dios Te Bendiga

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Experimental blogging.

Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, majestic and powerful, mighty in words and deed. Marvellous are thy works and that my soul knoweth right well. You are King of Kings and Lord of Lords, powerful and awesome. The mountains and the valleys display your very handiwork. You are Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy and precious, Redeemer, kind and merciful in all Your ways. Your mercy overflows from generation to generation, from age to age, from eternity to eternity. You alone are good, You alone are worthy, You alone are Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy worthy Lamb, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy.

Monday, May 14, 2007

What are YOU thinking?

What's on your mind?

Think about that question. If you'll indulge me a bit, name the top 3 things that are running through your mind today.

My mind today has spent most of it's energy focused on:

1. An upcoming trip
2. Writing this post
3. Whether or not I'm going to follow through with plans I've made for tomorrow evening.


It's not very interesting is it?

Have you figured out your top three yet? Do you have 6 or 7 things and you're trying to figure out which ones might be 1-3? I completely understand. I confess, I've spent at least 20 minutes accumulative time (not consecutive, because that'd just be crazy right?) trying to decide if I should take a deck of UNO cards on my trip. I promise, it revolves around something more involved than whether I want to play uno or not, but it's still a solid waste of 20 minutes. Wouldn't you agree?


Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? Matthew 6:27


So many of the things I think about are worthless, over thought, and fruitless. I'd go so far as to say the majority of the things I think about have no real lasting value. The trip I'll take soon; I've gone up and down hundreds of different scenarios and then other scenarios that fork off some of the original scenarios. It's maddening. Truly.


And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.


I don't generally wonder about things like this until I realize some thoughts have taken over. As though I just can't help but think about the situation, the event, the problem. When I've lost the feeling that I have control over my thoughts, that's when I reign myself back in and say "Hey God, I've got a problem here."

For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself. Philippians 3:20,21


It's hard to let go of the things my mind thinks about. But He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself. Including my pesky thoughts. He can handle it. So... that decided.

I think I will take the UNO cards with me, just in case. I am going to follow through with tomorrow nights plans, and this blog post, is all but taken care of. As for thinking about my trip, I'm just going to have to put that on the backburner and think about the only thing that makes the trip worth taking.

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Isaiah 26:3

I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings. Psalms 77:12

O LORD, our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens. Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger. When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas. O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! Psalms 8

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Unposted.

I'm posting now, because I'm feeling guilty.

This week, what you've seen in posts have been short, late, and not very well planned or thought out. Why? Because you're only seeing what I hit 'publish' on.

I've written a lot, only to find it was so deeply personal and controversial that I just couldn't find it in me to publish it. Strangely enough, the topics of those posts were joy and witnessing. I've now got large amounts of posts saved to drafts, and other posts, after spending more than two hours working on them, I deleted every last word, content that I had said what I wanted to say, but also content not to send it out into the world. In a year and a half I've never had this much trouble posting.

And now, as I've sat here contemplating what I'm going to do with this post, I've realized the core of what I've wanted to say all week long.

"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
by Emma Lazarus (taken from The New Colossus)



They're classic words, the first two lines of which are famously known because they're engraved on our Statue of Liberty. But I'm not making a political statement on immigration. I'm offering conversion. I'm talking about lifting MY lamp, beside the golden door.

I've spoken with them all week long; the tired, the poor, the frustrated, the angry, the worried, the discouraged, the numb, the frightened, the confused, the broken, the sad, the dejected, the rejected, the grieving, the ashamed, the bitter. They've walked into my office, I've walked into their checkout line, they've served my food, they've simply waved as they passed me in the street. There's just so many of them. They're hurting, and broken, and scared... and they just go on.

Someone in a blog recently asked the question of themselves, "Is my witness unacceptable to God?" and reading that question now, I'm convicted. My witness? MY witness? What witness?

I have SEEN what God can do with a heart that's hurting and broken. I KNOW He is a healer. But how can I claim to be a witness, when I never stand before someone needing to be convinced and testify to the events I've seen. Isn't that what a witness does? Singers sing, musicians play, speakers speak, witnesses testify. Typically in our judicial system a witness has no need to testify for the courts when everyone agrees. They are called upon to convince those that don't believe.

So is MY witness unacceptable? I beg God to forgive my witness. People are dying, suffocating under the weight of their sins, and I have failed. "Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free", how many times in your life have you experienced the miracle of actually putting your burdens in Gods hands and breathing freely and deeply the breath of peace. The world is no different in that regard. They worry, they're afraid, they yearn for that same deep breath of peace, and don't know how to find it.

God, forgive me. Forgive me for treating the saving of souls with such a lack of urgency.



I've been praying for love; Gods love, to fill my heart for others. I've been practicing offbeat acts of kindness. But I can be the nicest, kindest person in the world, and if I never speak about Christ to those that are lost and dying, they will still die, lost, in the arms of a kind person whose cruelest act was to never speak the words of Life.

May God in His infinite grace keep me from such a fate.

Friday, May 11, 2007

What would you do?

If you could only write one blog post, what would it be about?

Thursday, May 10, 2007

What a God.

What a God I serve.

I've found a blogger that I have really been enjoying lately. He's had a whole - and quite long - series on faith going on for awhile now, but all the posts are in small bite sized chunks that I can easily take in without feeling over-saturated. His name is Richard Bentall and his blog is "For Such A Time As This".

The most riveting post was added today and in it he absolutely nailed me. He says:

Many Christians are waiting for God to move in their life, to make some dramatic change, to open doors to greater power and ministry while they lounge in front of the TV for countless hours each week. It is an appalling thing to watch Christians who have been filling their minds with worldly filth during the week crowding the altars on Sunday asking God for more power.


And I wondered if this Mr. Bentall guy lives next door to me or something.

But I've noticed something lately that actually makes my laziness in the issue even worse. I'm no longer watching tv out of desire, but out of habit. When I heard my favorite show was ending next week, I mentally said, "eh". When I accidentally saw the results on American Idol last night before I could tell TIVO to start my recording of it, again I just didn't care. The clincher? I watched the show anyway out of habit.

So much of what I watch lately is fluff, simple filler in my life that stands as an excuse to not do other things. When I desired to watch tv, that was one thing. But lacking the desire and doing it anyway, somehow that sin seems worse.

I asked though, for more of God and while He's given me some more of His presence, and spirit, what He's given me the most of is the ability to get more. By taking away the desire for some of the worldly things I pursue, He's opened up more possible times for me to pursue Him. I've spent the last two weeks almost a model of moderation. And I never asked for that. Things are changing.

This week I found a McDonalds employee that apparently wasn't concerned about window times and as I pulled up to the window he automatically looked for any cars behind me. He then actually seemed to commiserate with me that I couldn't pay for anyone elses meal that morning. Then he popped the magic question, "Why do you do that?" and this time I didn't fail in answering. It probably doesn't mean much to anyone else, but the fact that I witnessed to a McDonalds employee this week... practically screams that things are changing.

I'm so glad I serve a God that not only allows me to change, but instigates it, and enables me to. For all my asking for more of God, it all began with Him saying "You need more of Me".

What a God I serve.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Love

I had something backwards.

SLW quoted John 13:35 last night in a comment on yesterdays post. Immediately I began my same round of thoughts that I'd gone over before. Specifically, how tiring it would be to love everyone.

Loving people, is a lot of work.

I went over in my mind the random different things you can do to show Gods love/Your love for others. When suddenly my backwards thinking was revealed. It's something you probably already know, and if you had spoken this to me, I would have told you I already knew it. I guess you might just call it an "Aha!" moment. But I realized, love is a feeling first, then an action. All the actions that take place prior to love are - according to Paul - not worth much.

I've been praying for the strength to complete an action, all the while completely lacking the feeling. The feeling itself, is something you can read in a persons eyes. You can hear it in their voice. It can be manifested in a simple 2 minute acquaintance at the wal-mart checkout line, or enjoyed throughout a lifetime of friendship. It's a visible thing, that prompts physical things like financial help or transportation, or simple acts like carrying in someones groceries.

But unless those actions are based on the feeling... well again, Paul declares it to have no profit for you. So I find myself praying more for that kind of love. The kind that will be read in my eyes, felt in my touch, and heard in my voice. There are a lot of people that I don't want to look in the eyes though, several people that I wouldn't want to touch with a ten foot pole, and an even larger number that I thank God every time the phone rings that I have caller id and don't always have to answer.

And there are an equal number of times that I just simply don't want to talk. Sometimes I just want to go home, my own less spiritual form of the Garden of Gethsemane, and be alone. And I wonder though, how many times Gods been disappointed in me for walking away from an encounter that He arranged.

It's Gods love that I want. He doesn't screen my prayers, touches my heart when it needs a comforting hand, and has let me know in a thousand different little things that His eyes see me for everything I am -both good and bad- and He still loves me just the same.

Imagine, if my heart held that kind of love for you - for everyone I met. If you met me at wal-mart and felt the warmth of that love would you tell others that you'd met me?

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

A different question

I asked recently "How do I know you're saved?"

Today I want to know something else:


How does the WORLD know you're saved?

Monday, May 07, 2007

The complexity simplicity of the Gospel

There is a company that we hire for, that requires all potential employees to first pass a math test before they go to work. It's nothing overly complicated, just rounding decimals and a few other things like that. The moment we mention a math test though, at least 75% of our applicants ask about what other companies we have available that don't require a math test. And I spend a good deal of time reassuring them that the test isn't that hard, and I can talk them through it.

So far, I've only had two people not pass. The first was a guy that had a friend who was supervisor at the company and he was convinced that he'd still get the job whether he passed the test or not and no amount of us telling him otherwise would convince him. So he went ahead and walked out on the test. Sure enough, he hounded his friend to have us hire him anyway, and was given the standard answer "you must pass the test first". Unfortunately by then, we had had to tell the company why the expected employee hadn't started work, and they didn't like that he'd walked out on the test, and so they told us not to have him retake the test.

The other guy, really was a bright guy. He just got frustrated too easily and once he got frustrated he couldn't be taught anything else. It went downhill until finally he just said he was stupid, and couldn't do it, and walked out.

One of the main things I tell these guys when I first sit down with the scratch paper and pen is that what we're doing is really very simple and then as I show them what we're doing, at some point everything just 'clicks' and they suddenly get it. I've seen that moment so many times, and every time it just thrills me. As I point to our scratch paper and ask my questions, the answers come with a different tone in the persons voice. You can tell just by the tone that understanding has sunk in. They're getting it. It's exciting, and really rewarding.

And now, here I sit, having struggled with trying to get more of God. Sometimes I got tired of trying and wanted to give up trying for more of God. I tell myself that I am already saved and getting closer to God is just "better" but, should I stop trying, it's not like it would cost me heaven or anything, right? Other times, I just get frustrated. It feels like all these spiritual people get things that I just don't get, and no matter how hard I try I'm just never going to be "spiritual enough" to get some concepts, so I might as well stop struggling.

I don't know when my 'click' came, but something changed last week that left me scratching my head wondering why I had made this so difficult. You want to know God better? Pray, tell Him you want to know Him better. Read the Bible, and get to know Him better that way. Spend time practicing your faith, believing for the impossible and expecting it, whether in your lifetime or not. As I'm reading through 1 & 2 Chronicles right now, it's easy to see that a lot of Gods promises didn't come to pass in the lifetime of the people He promised them to.

If you're tired, rest. If you're worried, take your burden to God and leave it there. If you keep picking that burden up, then keep taking it back only returning also with prayers that He would help you leave that burden with the only one who has control over the situation. If you have sins in your life, ask Him to forgive you.

I've got a particular sin in my life, of despising a man that attends my church. When he sinned against me, I ran away and hid. And now, I am clueless as to how to attempt to act as Christ would towards this man, without giving him the impression that what his actions were not inappropriate.

But even this sin, I see it and I want it gone, but without knowing how to act on it, I'm willing to satisfy myself with telling God that I'm willing and asking Him to show me a way. And that means that I'm not going to whine and moan over the situation as I've been doing, but simply know that with Gods help, and in Gods time, a way will be provided. Only catch is, when He does provide a way, I need to act on it.

I've always liked concrete answers. I would have loved living in the Old Testament times just because things were pretty cut and dry. Kill 2 lambs, pour blood here, give priest xyz portion, go home and wait for such and such day then repeat. So the idea of seeking God coming from doing what I'm already doing, seems foolish. But I'm not doing what I've always done. I'm seeking God more. I'm spending more time in prayer, more time reading His word, less time worrying about things that I'm suppose to give to God, and more time trying to simply follow what He wants me to do.

Being like Christ isn't complicated. I'd like to make it so, because that certainly gives me excuse to fail. But the truth of the matter seems to be that I'll never wake up and suddenly shout, "I'm like Christ!". But I can be like Christ at 3:12pm, 3:13pm, 3:14pm and so on. I don't need to wait for a year without mistakes or flaws. I don't even need to wait for an hour without mistakes or flaws. I just need to keep trying for this minute, and pray I keep on the minute after.

I made this too hard. I'm sure I'll get confused again later on, I'm sure I'll struggle to understand the simple concept of Christ. I'm sure I'll want to give up again. But not this minute.

And that makes me happy. :)

Friday, May 04, 2007

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Leaving the kitchen to find God.

Luke 6:35
But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.

Treat everyone with politeness, even those who are rude to you - not because they are nice, but because you are. ~Author Unknown

Galatians 6:10
As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.

Love and kindness are never wasted. They always make a difference. They bless the one who receives them, and they bless you, the giver. ~ Barbara De Angelis


1 Timothy 6:17,18,19
Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.

A bit of fragrance always clings to the hand that gives roses. ~Chinese Proverb

Galatians 5:22
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

In this world, there is nothing softer or thinner than water. But to compel the hard and unyielding, it has no equal. That the weak overcomes the strong, that the hard gives way to the gentle -- this everyone knows. Yet no one asks accordingly. ~ Lao-Tse



I almost didn't write this post, because it felt like I was changing the subject that I've been on for so long. But as I read more about it, and then found these quotes and verses, I realized it's just one more aspect to what I'm working towards already.

I've been moved to action by the "Million Acts Of Kindness" campaign going on in the DFW area www.onedfw.com & www.kcbi.org . And as I've made a few kind moves I've realized how vulnerable I feel about the actions being rejected. People are prideful, and I know first hand that it's humbling to have people unexpectedly do something kind for you. I know how much I hate the fact that Christ had to suffer like that - for me. He could do that for the rest of the world if He wants to, but I would rather die than have Him suffer like that for me. Christs act of kindness, His sacrifice, humbles me.

The very first verse I posted, Luke 6:35 But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. That's what God did for me. He lent His only Son to the world with my salvation in mind. He gave His Son for us, when we were unthankful and evil. He gave His Son knowing some of us would refuse entirely, some of us would refuse for only a season of our lives, and worse still - some of us would accept the gift of His Son only to later refuse it. He gave His Son knowing that even the most thankful of us would never be thankful enough.

"for He is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil"

I've been praying for more of God, to know Him better, to see His power, and in all that I've just realized how truly kind He is. I'm sure I've said it before, but I don't know that I really thought about it much before. In a recent post I said:
"It's in daily loving others as much as you love yourself. I love myself enough to buy me an ice cream cone, but do I love the guy next to me in line enough to say "his is on me"? I mow my lawn, but do I love my neighbors enough to offer to mow theirs after I finish mine? It's in letting someone else put in the last puzzle piece, eat the last cookie, get in front of you in line, choose the temperature of the room, "

And it's only just now hitting me that Christ would do all those things. He is not just a kind friend, but a kind stranger. His kindness shows an unabashed love for every individual.
My love, isn't there yet. Even when I do love others, I do it almost embarrassedly, because I know others will think it's strange, or it becomes mocked as a weakness. That's why the story of Christ washing His disciples feet always gets me. And I wonder how He did it. It makes me wish for His strength, His bold love. His bold servitude. It's one thing to wash your disciples feet. It's another thing to kneel down in front of that disciple, holding your rag and your water basin and hope he won't say "No, you can't wash my feet".

I've said I want to be more like Him, that I want more of Him in me, and so often when I say that I'm talking about power and spirit. Feeling His presence, and walking in power and authority, seeing miracles and wonders. It's only recently that I've added into the equation what Christ actually did on the earth. He didn't just walk around doing miracles. He acted in the Spirit of the Law, rather than the law, blowing peoples lifelong ideas concerning how the religious sect should behave. He looked at condemned people and with Gods eyes saw the greater problem in the situation was those that were condemning. He convinced people that their very sins had been forgiven, by Him. A crazy thought when you stop and think about it. He behaved in ways people thought were crazy, spoke words people thought were crazy, and died for a reason that people still believe to be crazy.

But, I've realized, what I'm doing with God is like trying to play hide and seek with a child that's hiding outside, yet not wanting to "seek" outside the house. I'll never find him while I stay in the kitchen. I'll find traces of him, signs that he's been there, ate there, slept there, played there, but I'll never find the child until I'm willing to walk outside the house, maybe get a little dirty or hot, maybe even get stung by a wasp. It's easier said than done, but very well worth it. Even more so if it means finding God.

And in this thought process, this growing process, I'm starting to believe that seeking God, being more like that seemingly crazy Man, isn't nearly as hard as I've made it out to be. The hardest parts seem to come when I'm trying to hold on to my 'normal' life. And I've come to think you can't passionately pursue God and live a normal life. I think you should just come to expect funny stares, and rejection. It seems to be what Christ received here on earth as well.
I've also come to see how the difficult times revolve around my desires to hold onto the unGodly aspects of me. I've chosen not to love some people, and it's hard to let go of that decision because doing otherwise seems to be excusing their sin. That reasoning doesn't make my lack of love concerning those people any less sinful though. So,I need help, Gods help, to be boldly kind. To practice kindness - not just in action but in words and thoughts as well - until it becomes instinctive. To be kind without motive, or expectation. And that is one reason I seek so desperately Christ. I want to know Him. To know how He did it.

I'm so grateful for the life I have in Christ. I'm so thankful for what He's teaching me. I'm thankful for His peace and His mercy. And I'm especially thankful for His example. But most of all, I'm profoundly grateful that He chose to dwell in me.



If I have brought a gleam of light
To cheer a darkened day
If I held out a friendly hand
To help along the way
Then in these acts of kindness done,
It is not me you see
But glimpses of that Loving One
That chose to dwell in me.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Why... (update)

This is just a second quick post about what I posted on earlier today concerning testing Gods promises. I thought it easily connected with my earlier questions - though it still doesn't answer 'why'.


I found a discussion in which a man named Conner mentioned a problem he'd faced recently.

Conner: "I did battle with sin recently and it was all about my trust in God. I was plagued for a time about losing my wife in childbirth. I discussed it with Troy, who challenged me by reminding me that this is when our faith is defined.
I was all ready to talk to the doctor, to gain some type of assurance that my wife is healthy and the risks are low, but then I realized that I don't want peace from that source. I want peace because of God's character. I want peace because of who God is, how much He loves me, and His perfect plan for my life."

I wonder if David struggled against trusting the official tally of numbers, rather than Gods simple promise?

Why...

It was a scripture that got my attention when I read it. I was reading in 1 Chronicles, and so a lot of what I was reading had already been covered before in the previous books - the sense of deja vu made it difficult to remember which chapters I'd last read.

But this time, when I read it a new thought hit me.

David did not take the number of the men twenty years old or less, because the LORD had promised to make Israel as numerous as the stars in the sky. Joab son of Zeruiah began to count the men but did not finish. Wrath came on Israel on account of this numbering, and the number was not entered in the book of the annals of King David. 1 Chronicles 27:23,24

It made me wonder about Gods promises. Why did God always get so angry about David numbering the people? or Joab numbering the people? Why?

At what point do you not test God? It's like being promised a financial miracle but never checking your bank account to see it. Or... maybe Gideon never going outside to see if the fleece really is dry or wet. Why be upset?

Was He angry because they were counting what He had said couldn't be numbered?
And what does it mean that they were always able to number what He said couldn't be numbered?
Maybe God was only saying that 'one day' there would be too many to number, and if so, I go right back to why get mad if they're numbering them now?
Does it all boil down to some unseen reason of their hearts as to why they were numbering the people?

It left me with a lot of questions. Things I don't understand - still - about Gods character and why He does what He does. Granted, I'll never fully understand the mind of God - He's made that clear - but when it comes to things that are going to made Him angry enough to start striking people down... Call me crazy, but I'd like to be able to predict how to keep that from happening.

Ultimately, here's what I got from the verses. If you get anything additional I'd like to hear it.

Mine is basic. Trust God. That's basically what I got. Trust God. If God tells you it can't be numbered and you're able to number it. Trust God anyway. Gods word is true. Gods promises will come to pass. Trust God.
Don't test Him and tempt Him.
If He tells you He's given you something, believe He's given you something. Sometimes that simply means not checking with the doctor to make sure you're healed.

That tiny bit of understand about the story still barely distracts me from the question of why God got so angry. But I'm content even without understanding. But, if you asked me why I was content, I wouldn't be able to explain that either.


Why

Why (I wonder why)
Do the rainy days have to come
When the storm clouds hide the sun
I wanna know why
Why (I wonder why)
When the reasons aren't clear to me
When it all is a mystery
I want to know why
And though down here,
I may not understand
I wont let go of the Unseen Hand
For it holds the reasons why

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The wonders of waiting.

Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.
  • Psalms 27:14



  • That's exactly what I did.

    And that's exactly what He did.


    The last few days have been very interesting. I've been struggling. And I've been confused. As I scrambled to try and figure out why I was having to fight some of the things I was fighting, I realized something. The last time I felt this badly was in the days just surrounding my being filled with the Holy Ghost and speaking in tongues.
    So as I was driving back towards church Sunday night the idea sparked in me that I desperately desired some quiet time to pray. And I resolved that after church was over and everyone was gone I would return to pray and sit in the quietness. The memory of how Joshua stayed near the tabernacle came to mind.

    The song service started, and one of the songs we sang was "
    Kneel at the cross"
    The first verse actually didn't catch my attention until we finished singing it. So I went back to the page to read it over:
    Kneel at the cross,
    Christ will meet you there,
    Come while He waits for you;
    List to His voice,
    Leave with Him your care
    And begin life anew.

    It felt like a promise. That that very night, Christ was waiting to meet me there.


    God continued working though, and when the prayer time came around, I wasn't asked to play the piano. So as I knelt down I felt almost like breathing a sigh of relief. I was finally at the right place, at the right time, talking to the right Person. This prayer time felt different from the others.

    I told God that I was single minded. I'm focused. So when I focused on knowing Him better, I forgot to enjoy Him.
    I told God that I was confused, because everyone will tell you to seek God, but few people tell you how. And when they do tell you how, they usually tell you to pray, read your bible, and seek God. I've been doing that for 5 years now, this is different, though I'd be hard pressed to say how except to call it more intense.
    I poured my heart and my fears out that night. And then I waited. If I had a clue to tell you what I was waiting on that night, I would tell you. I only knew I needed to wait, so I did.

    But I reached a point that night where I knew I was through. I hadn't gotten what I came to get, but I had done what I was suppose to do.

    It wasn't until late Monday afternoon that I saw a difference. I went into a store I never go into, and just happened to mention an item I was looking for. One of the ladies within hearing mentioned she had just such an item and would bring it for me the next day. As I walked out of the store I thanked God for His providing even something unimportant.
    And I realized, I was enjoying God.

    And later that same afternoon, as I thought about someone, the lie that had been attached to that person, wasn't there anymore. I felt at peace concerning the relationship.

    As I tested my thoughts I realized that all the lies and fears that had suddenly surrounded me the last few days were gone.

    This all is just explanation, maybe you just skimmed it, uninterested - that's ok.
    Just don't skim this.

    You'll never have a friend, as good as This Friend.
    You'll never have a love, as good as Love Himself.
    You'll never have a peace, as good as His Peace.
    You'll never have true comfort, until you meet The Comforter.
    You'll never know contentment, until you've met I Am.
    Because He Is Everything.

    Those words sound glib, I entirely understand. But they couldn't be less so. Read your hymnal, and see all the words that sound glib, yet pour from hearts that have felt and understood Christ better than I may ever do so. Sit down and read from Psalms, as King David pours out what always sounded to me like "fluff". I never before saw the depths in Psalms until now. Now I understand better why David sang.



    Eagles Wings

    Here I am waiting
    Abide in me I pray
    Here I am longing
    For You
    Hide me in Your love
    Bring me to my knees
    May I know Jesus
    More and more

    Come live in me
    All my life
    Take over
    Come breathe in me
    And I will rise
    On eagle's wings