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Location: Daniel, Wyoming, United States

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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Lights, foghorns, and near death experiences...

My parents love lighthouses. I suppose I've never thought to ask them why, I just go with it. I'll have to ask them someday. Regardless of the reason, they love lighthouses. We spent several weekends in my high school days traveling to nearby lighthouses and enjoying everything they offer. Not only would we enjoy the museums and explore the nicely groomed grounds on which they were planted, unless it was closed, climbed each and every step in each and every lighthouse in order to reach the top and look down on the unknowing people down below. Not to mention the view! Now that you know a family tradition, I have to tell you the "bridge" story.

While not all of my family got to attend this little escapade, those who did know exactly what I'm talking about. We were headed to a lighthouse, I don't recall which one, and we had to drive over a large bridge in order to reach it. On the way over, my mother got out the digital camera and tried to take a picture. This sounds easy enough until you remember my mothers camera. It had to have been 2006 or so but her camera couldn't give that away. Try more like 2000. It's large, square body had an open space on the side where you could easily insert it's storage device... floppy disks. That's right folks, this camera took floppy disks. Now are we on the same page?

One of the camera's many features was it's flat screen on which you could see what you were pointing at and easily take a picture. Thank you, 1999! Anyways, the problem with that little feature arose on the bridge to the lighthouse. My mother looked at the camera's screen but couldn't find the lighthouse on it, her arms bouncing to every seem in the bridge and the lighthouse being so far away. It's equivalent to looking for a deer in your scope after you sight it with your eyes... sometimes it's hard to find.

When your mother feverishly wants a picture of a lighthouse but can't get her camera on target you help, right? So I did and so did everyone in the car. We are all looking at the camera trying to get this award winning shot of the majestic lighthouse. Suddenly, we are jumping a curb and headed right into the guardrail of the bridge, pointed toward the water. Luckily we never hit it nor did we fall to our deaths into the water. My advice to photographers in cars, everyone in the car may try to help... everyone but the driver.

The rest of the day was fun and lighthouse-a-rific. We were able to enjoy the gardens below and the view from the top. My parents were in lighthouse heaven. (Luckily not literal heaven, as we came close to it that day.)

I've seen a lot of lighthouses. I've explored a lot of them. I probably could tell you many stories of many lighthouses and their many keepers as their museums usually told them to me. One thing I could tell you that I'm sure you already know is that lighthouses save lives. It's a brilliant idea, really. Stick a light in the tallest tower and keep the boatman informed of the dangers that lay ahead. Be a light to the boatman. A light to the world.

One thing you will notice about lighthouses, at least the many I've visited, is that they don't make noise. For one, there is simply no reason. If they try to make noise in the ferociousness of a storm, they will either not be heard or complicate the situation. Cause more danger.

D.L. Moody said- "A holy life will produce the deepest impression. Lighthouses blow no horns; they only shine." How true is this in our lives today? It's funny how believers act in this country. We act so persecuted. On alert as if we are about to be made into human candles and martyred for our cause. While, at the same time, believers around the world are actually killed for the faith and never heard of. I think Statesman blow their horns too much. And not only too much and too loud but too wrong too. When I hear about believers in rallies across the nation, it's against homosexuality and it shows the hateful signs they wave and the hateful words they scream. It's the lives lost due to abortion... and not the babies. It's all so very... anti-Christ. What is going on out there? Who are we to the world? Are we blowing our horns so loud that we cause more danger and harm then good?

We ought to shut up. You know... compared to the rest of the Bible, Jesus said very little. I imagine he was probably one of THOSE. The kind that is quiet and speaks only when he means it. Never wasting a breath with meaningless words, as I assume the son of God could never say anything meaningless but that's not the point. I imagine Jesus was that guy. That guy that is so quiet that when he speaks, you listen. You don't have to weed through the noise to get to the message. It's out there, out there for everyone to hear. What is that Proverb, "Better to be a fool then to open your mouth and prove it?" Hmmm....

We are to be the lighthouses in this world. The quiet lifesavers that never ask for glory. Lighthouses stand tall, boasting of nothing, only worried for the next traveler navigating it's rocky shores. Lighthouses are patient through the storms and kind to the waves that crash against them. They are not envious of other buildings with less to be held accountable for and they are not proud in what they are called to. A lighthouse isn't rude or self-seeking and it's most definitely not easily angered. It's light forever shines for those to see. It keeps no record of wrongs. It doesn't delight in evil but rejoices with the truth of those who make it by. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

"YOU are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor would you light a lamp and place it under a bowl. No, you'd put it on a stand for the whole house to see. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your father in heaven." -Jesus

Interesting enough, I didn't read anywhere where Jesus mentioned we are the foghorns in the world. That we are the noise. We are the lighthouses. When the world comes crashing in with the waves of life, we are to shine brightly. Shine to show them who God is and why He loves them. You can tell them and tell them and shout out ALL their trespasses til your throat is hoarse and your head is numb but a life that shines for the Glory of God will surpass every one of your screams. No one likes to be screamed at, even a child.

"If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does no envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. it always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.

"When I was a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

"And now these three remain; faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."- 1Corinthians 13

I think we should stress the importance of love. God loved us so much that he sent his only son to die for us. I don't think we quite grasp this. A love so great that the perfect was sacrificed for us. For us. Jesus is the epitome of love. He came for the sick not the well. Over and over the Bible commands us to love. I think the definition of the hypocrisy is shouting out one part of the Bible and then ignoring all the rest. Yes, these things in which you so fervently speak out against are clearly defined as sin in the Bible, however, Jesus never spoke a hateful word towards a single soul. We are Christ-followers, it's in the definition that we follow his example, is it not? That we strive to be like Christ? That we strive to speak not hate, but love?

In Matthew 12 Jesus said, "Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned."

What a sobering thought. By your words you will be acquitted and by your words you will be condemned. How many careless words have I spoken? I mean, I'm not one of those guys. One of those Jesus types who only speak when it's wise. I speak all the time. I'm sure you know this as many of you know me very well. I'm a talker... I only know of one solid talker who, without question, talks more than I. (Sarah, sister, I love you.) I mean nothing ill of this, in fact I find it quite funny and enjoyable. It may be the best part that we are family and we can call it a family trait. Lets blame our genes on this one okay? Regardless, I know I have spoken many careless and reckless words. I have slandered, blasphemed, and used my tongue as a bitter, two-edged sword. By these words I will be judged. But I also can use my words for love. I think this is the stressing point in the argument. If you store up evil in your heart, in times of heat, you will bring up evil.

Jesus made the connection of a tree. Growing up in Florida, I am well acquainted with orange trees. When a tree is rooted well and has healthy roots, it flowers and blooms with much fruit. When a tree has roots that are rotting or being bothered with weeds and bugs, no oranges appear and if they do, they are not beautiful, orange globes of citrus goodness. They are withering and brown, small and wrinkled. Not to mention they will taste sour and bitter like the condition of their roots. Our hearts are our roots, what is the condition of your roots?

Have you ever had to stretch out your pantry? There was a time when Stoney and I were really low on cash and we depleted our pantry instead of buying new groceries. The cash stretched out further this way but the food we ate wasn't always the five star kind of food. In a moments notice, I would have to cook dinner with the fewest of ingredients. The result was pitiful excuses for dinners which bore very few nutrients. Years later, I have a stocked pantry and can whip up a healthy dinner in about an hour. In fact, I have a deep freeze in the garage that I store items like bread and various cuts of meats which help in this quest for last minute, tasty nourishment.

Our hearts are so very similar to this. What do you stock up your heart with? Is it nutrient-rich love and hope, or are you dwindling and using your last bits of emotions: hate and disdain. I think it's time to fill that pantry. It's time to fill our hearts with so much of God's love that we have an overflow that spills onto the rest of the world.

My daughter loves water. She particularly likes running water (if you include bubbles we may have an excitement overload). One of her favorite bath time games is to let the running water fill a cup until it spills out over her hands and arms. Every time she does it she looks at me and smiles like it is the best thing in the world. I commonly get a magnificent toddler squeal too! May our hearts be so very filled with the Word of God that it times of trouble, we overflow the love of our Savior and not the hatred of the evil one. And perhaps, with the overflow, not only will we bless the world but we may be so overjoyed that we, ourselves, squeal with delight.

May the words of our mouths and the meditation of our hearts be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, our Rock and our Redeemer.

Beka

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

To your heart...

It's very possible that we are bound by our circumstances. At least in many ways. I can't think of a way, other than Christ, that we can look at life and it's ups and downs from any other view but through our own selfish eyes. We open our eyes each morning and view the room in which we lay. Our perspective. Our eyes. Our lives. Each day passes as we only see what is in front of our faces. What a plague it is. How I wish I could see through others' eyes every now and again.

But isn't this a spiritual problem as well? How many of us spend much of our time with God on others' behalf? How many of us are heartbroken by looking at the world through His eyes? The answer, if found, would probably make us all squirm. I've been making a point to spend time talking with God about other people. Praying for everyone that comes to mind. I've always prayed for other people; for family, for friends, for enemies, for whoever. Except now, I'm trying to spend more time praying about others' lives than my own. Looking through their eyes. It's hard to look past our own needs and wants. There are many things in my life that I need to pray for and now that I'm willing to put them on the back burner, I'm able to make more time to pray for those issues too. I think this is what God desires of us. How many of us remember that there are people sitting in a little hut on a lake in the middle of Burma while we are getting ready for bed? Or what about the young adults celebrating their friend's birthday in a small, snow-covered, Russian town? The woman wrestling with depression as her newborn baby cries all night long? I think we forget about everyone we can't see. I don't think it makes us bad people. I think it makes us human. And products of our own circumstances. Our own eyes. Our own lives.

I spent a good amount of time last night praying for General Than Shwe, the political leader of Burma, also known as Myanmar be its government. My husband and I were talking about how we think most people fight for a cause that they truly believe is right. I think it's highly likely for me to understand that General Shwe probably sees his atrocities as the right thing for his country. I have come to this point where I can understand what he might be thinking. Sure, he may be filled with hate and he may take measures that I can't imagine taking, but is it so far from what is done everywhere else in this world? He is doing what he believes is best in order to unify the country in his charge. When looking at it from this point of view, is it so hard to see? And how different will it be not so long from now when a new world leader will bring us to one world currency? One world order? One world religion? Sure, there will be crimes committed in order to get to this end but is world peace worth the means? Many will be convinced it is. Is this so hard to believe? Especially in a time and country where tolerance and acceptance in order for peace is considered the humane and right thing to do. How far of a jump is it from legalized abortion to one world-wide religion to be enforced? I dare say, it isn't far at all. Most people in the world would be willing to give up major beliefs in order for peace. Can you imagine the questions people would pose? ..... "What is wrong with love? That's all it is. Love. Why are Christians so hateful and hypocritical? I thought Christ was about love and peace. That's what this is.".... and what is the difference now?...."What is wrong with love? That's what homosexuality is. Love. Why are Christians so hateful and hypocritical? I thought Christ was about love."

Everything under the sun is justifiable. At least in Earthly terms. We can seriously convince ourselves of anything. America is founded on honor, loyalty, and many other admirable traits. At least that's what we've built it on after the official split with England. But in all honesty we are a bunch of traitors who committed treason of the highest offense. We used violence to get what we wanted. We snuck around behind our government's back and committed horrible crimes. But it is all justifiable. England was mistreating us. We were fighting against a great evil... where we not? All of the crimes were committed against us. We found the truth and fought for it. Right? We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights. That among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness...... Everything is justifiable.

So, I guess my point is: I think we need to pray. We need to get some seriously bloody knees. Pray for our world and not through our own eyes, through Christ's.

Savior I come
Quiet my soul remember
Redemption's hill
Where Your blood was spilled
For my ransom
Everything I once held dear
I count it all as loss

Lead me to the cross
Where Your love poured out
Bring me to my knees
Lord I lay me down
Rid me of myself
I belong to You
Oh Lead me, lead me to the cross

You were as I
Tempted and tried
Human
The word became flesh
Bore my sin and death
Now you're risen
Everything I once held dear
I count it all as loss

To your heart
To your heart
Lead me to your heart
Lead me to your heart

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Weeping, there will be...

You know, I think the Bible is so interesting sometimes. I was talking to a friend today about some kids she babysat. These kids LOVE star wars. Kind of. See, the only movie they had really watched was The Clone Wars. These two young boys thought Anikin was the hero. Well, until my friend babysat them...

The second movie happened to be on TV and she offered to let them watch it. They loved the idea. Once it got started they started asking her questions about the characters. She explained that "that was Anikin. He's Luke's Father." Then their world came crashing down on them. "No, Luke's dad is Darth Vader." "Well Anikin turns into Darth Vader." "No, Anikin's a good guy." "Well, at first he is but he turns to the dark side." "No, Anikin's the best guy!" "Well, no, not really."

Then she goes on to crash their worlds explaining the whole saga. In listening to her repeat the story... I realize how good the story really is. How in depth it is. How everything links so perfectly and everyone has such a fate as anything I've ever heard of.

This reminds me of the Bible. I love how everything is so connected. How you never really get the connections until you're older. How David, Moses, Joseph, Abraham, Isaac, they all hold great stories of their own but never are truly revealed until later. I mean really, why would God put Joseph through such a struggle, to teach him a lesson? Patience?... maybe, but when we grow up, we realize that Isreal had to be led to Egypt, at the very least so that Moses could bring them to the promised land. or try to anyways. These are the links I'm talking about that make you sit and wonder what your link is. What your "fate" is (star wars style).

I love the little things. I love the "lamb to the slaughter" quotes and the little similarities that make a story soooooo... perfect.

2 Samuel 15:30 "and David wept as he went up the Mount of Olives . He was afraid for his life. He was trying to escape the promise of death waiting for him in the hands of his best friend's dad. He wept for Saul's sin on the way up the Mt. of Olives. Later, this place would be known as the Garden of Gethsemene. One of the most famous Bible verses conserning Jesus' life was "Jesus wept." Jesus, decendent of David, wept in the Garden of Gethsemene, also over the sins of others. How cool is this? I love looking at these links and thinking about how God plans everything. God knows every step we will take. He plants us in just the right spot so that everything in this story will fit perfectly. What other author can claim that?

I guess that I like to be reminded that there is a reason and a purpose for everything under the sun... even for the little things. Just like there is a reason you are weeping for this burden as you walk across that Garden. Maybe you won't see the reason tomorrow, maybe you never will, but the world will never be the same because that garden is watered by your tears and tilled by your steps. And later, the world will take notice that your decendent has watered it again with sweatdrops of blood. And that garden may hold bad things, like betrayal, but it may also hold awesome things like the beginnings of great sacrifice, faith, and love. At least, David's "walk" sowed that and he never saw that fruit.

So take stregnth in this. Whatever is going on in your life, there is a reason. Not just to say that, I mean I know you've heard that a million times. But as Oogway says in Kung Fu Panda, "there are no accidents." God has perfectly ordainded every step you take in this walk up your life's mountain. And maybe you expected to see olives and you got a mt. of pistaccios. So what! God has a plan for it. And maybe you can't see clearly out of your misty eyes. So, trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways, acknowledge Him and He will lead your paths straight. So, I guess, as you jump from stone to watery stone across the stream in your garden, remember that God's son is with you now, and later, when you look back at your garden, you'll find that He wept there for you too.



Friday, August 29, 2008

This is my message...

People are always finding reasons why God doesn't exist. I've sat through college classes and lectures from friends that speak of studies that show psychological reasons we think He's there. When Christians say they've experienced God, these psychological studies fight for the reasons why it's all in their heads. Interesting to me, it's so funny how people spend so much money and time proving that Christians are idiots and science reigns supreme. But the ones who talk so elaborately and wise, these guys have no idea that they have pushed the truth away from them. That they too will be held accountable.

"But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who push the truth away from themselves. For the truth about God is known to them instinctively. God has put this knowledge in their hearts. From the time the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky and all that God made. They can clearly see his invisible divine nature. So they have no excuse whatsoever for not knowing God.

Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn't worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. The result was that their minds became dark and confused. Claiming to be wise (and sounding so) they became utter fools instead.

So God let them go ahead and do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other's bodies. Instead of believing what they knew was the truth about God, they deliberately chose to believe lies.

That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. And the men, instead of having normal sexual relationships with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men and, as a result suffered within themselves the penalty they so richly deserved.

When they refused to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their evil minds and let them do things that should never be done. Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, fighting, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip. They are backstabbers haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They are forever inventing new ways of sinning and are disobedient to their parents. They refuse to understand, break their promises, and are heartless and unforgiving. They are fully aware of God's death penalty for those who do these things, yet they do them anyway. And worse yet, they encourage others to do them, too.

You may be saying, "What horrible people you are talking about!" But you are just as bad, and you have no excuse! When you say they are wicked and should be punished, you are condemning yourself, for you do these very same things. And we know that God, in His justice, will punish anyone who does such things. Do you think that God will judge and condemn others for doing them and not you? Don't you realize ho kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Or don't you care? Can't you see how kind he has been in giving you time to turn from your sin?

But no, you won't listen. So you are storing up terrible punishment for yourself because of your stubbornness in refusing to turn from your sin. For there is going to come a day of judgment when God, the just judge of all the world, will judge all people according to what they have done. He will give eternal life to those who persist in doing what is good, seeking after the glory and honor and immortality that God offers. But he will our out his anger and wrath on those who live for themselves, who refuse to obey the truth and practice evil deeds. There will be trouble and calamity for everyone who keeps on sinning-for the Jew first and also for the Gentile. But there will be glory and honor and peace from God for all who do good - for the Jew first and also for the Gentile. For God does not show favoritism.

God will punish the Gentiles when they sin, even though they never had God's written law. And he will punish the Jews when they sin, for they do have the law. For it is not merely knowing the law that brings God's approval. Those who obey the law will be declared right in God's sight. Even when Gentiles, who do not have God's written law, instinctively follow what the law says, they show that in their hearts they know right from wrong. They demonstrate that God's law is written within them, for their own consciences either accuse them or tell them they are doing what is right. The day will surely come when God, by Jesus Christ, will judge everyone's secret life. This is my message.

But now God has shown us a different way of being right in his sight – not by obeying the law but by the way promised in the Scriptures long ago. We are made right in God's sight when we trust in Jesus Christ to take away our sins. And we all can be saved in this same way, no matter who we are or what we have done. For all have sinned; all fall short of God's glorious standard. Yet now God in his gracious kindness declares us not guilty. He has done this through Christ Jesus, who has freed us by taking away our sins. For God sent Jesus to take the punishment for our sins and to satisfy God's anger against us. We are made right with God when we believe that Jesus shed his blood, sacrificing his life for us. God was being entirely fair and just when he did not punish those who sinned in former times. And he is entirely fair and just in this present time when he declares sinners to be right in his sight because they believe in Jesus. Can we boast, then, that we have done anything to be accepted by God? No, because our acquittal is not based on our good deeds. It is based on our faith. So we are made right with God through faith and not by obeying the law. After all, God is not the God of the Jews only, is he? Isn't he also the God of the Gentiles? Of course he is. There is only one God, and there is only one way of being accepted by him. He makes people right with himself only by faith, whether they are Jews or Gentiles."
~~Romans, The Bible

Monday, June 30, 2008

Broke and Broken...

Have you ever felt forgotten?

I realized today how out of touch I am. I feel slow. I was told by a friend, not in a bad way, that she loved my little life. It was sweet, but paralyzing. I do have a little life. A cute little blurb that can be and is being forgotten. Not exactly how I pictured it. I speak to almost no one but my husband and my mom and day after day execute the same old routine as the days before.

When did life get so stagnant? When did I get so tired?

As I look through pictures of some of my closest friends, I find I don't know them very well anymore. It's been too long. Too far. I read the pages of their lives, from a distance, only to get a headache from the staleness of the computer screen. I used to be there, in those pictures. Under their arms. By their sides. Smiling and dreaming.

It's cold here in Wyoming.

I'm broke, not poor (I've been told that poor is a state of mind), but broke. Stoney and I are trying to get out of debt. It's a battle but we have each other. I love Stoney. He's a strong and patient man who loves God with all of his heart. He loves me to no end and I in return. He makes me feel as if I'm surrounded by friends even though it's only us. He is trying to find the place God wants him. Me too. I miss missions. I wish I could go... but I can't until we get out of debt. Have you ever been stuck? Or felt stuck? I think that's part of being poor. The lack of hope. The mindset. I'm not stuck. We're ready to be free. Free of it all in order to find the place God wants us to be. The job he wants us at... the talents he'll use... the gifts he'll give. But it's hard to do that when people are tracking you down for money. Pinning you down where you are. So we're waiting. We feel led to wait.

I hate learning patience.

But there's a peace. A peace in knowing that, because of my creator, my life won't continue to be little. That, because of my creator, my husband is perfect for me and comforts me with love. That, because of my creator, my friends of days past will continue not to forget me, to remember.

" Teach my eyes to recognize You
Teach my lips to glorify You
Guide my feet so I can find You
Wherever You are
Be my way, I'm lost without you
Be my light, shining through my every breath
My every move, till every thought is You

One day every knee will bow
To the
God of Glory, the Lord most Holy
Emmanuel
Giver of Life, Light of the world
And there's no other name
Worthy of praise but Yours

Teach my eyes to recognize You
Teach my lips to glorify You
Guide my feet so I can find You
Wherever You are

One day every knee will bow
And one day every tongue will confess
You're the
God of Glory, the Lord most Holy
Emmanuel
Giver of Life, Light of the world
There's no other name
Worthy of praise but Yours

Jesus, there's no other name but Yours
Jesus

You're the
God of Glory, the Lord most Holy
Emmanuel
God of Glory, the Lord most Holy
Emmanuel
Giver of Life, Light of the world
And there's no other name
Worthy of praise, oh there's no other name
Worthy of praise but Yours
No other name but yours."

Friday, April 04, 2008

O sun, stand still...

12.
On the day the LORD gave the Amorites over to Israel, Joshua said to the LORD in the presence of Israel: "O sun, stand still over Gibeon, O moon, over the Valley of Aijalon."
13.
So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, till the nation avenged itself on its enemies, as it is written in the Book of Jashar. The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day.
14.
There has never been a day like it before or since, a day when the LORD listened to a man. Surely the LORD was fighting for Israel!



I think I love this story! God is something else. So is Joshua. The faith he had. In the midst of battle and all the fear and distraction it brings. And yet, here he is, believing that God can and will stop the sun for him and his men. Now that's faith! I mean, yeah we have faith in God, but I can say that there are plenty of times when I would doubt that the sun would stand still. Not because I feel that God can't, I just feel that God won't... which plants doubt in me. You know the feeling. I am inspired by Joshua. To say with assurance that the sun won't move for a day. Or that mountain will move out of the way. Or the sea will part. Or perhaps the Earth will flood. Or maybe that God himself will come and die for sinners. It takes a lot of faith.




Monday, March 17, 2008

And then we grew up...

I was reading 'Praise Habit' by David Crowder for the second time and came across something interesting. So here I am, speaking on some thoughts that came after reading.

I'm pretty sure everyone can picture this:
a small child entering the room. in his hand is a toy. at first it doesn't look too exciting. at least it's nothing to note as 'special.' But then the child speaks. with all the excitement in his eyes and voice, he proclaims loadly how great his precious toy is. his arms are flailing about and he dances, jumping and singing ensue. toy after beautiful toy he speaks of the joy they bring. he wants you to try. forcing it into your lap he proclaims his wants for you to feel the joy that it brings him.



See. Praise is natural. It is built in us. Engraved deeply. In our core. It's who we are. What we were made for. So natural to us that we praise with such pride in the beginning. But then we grow up. At one point we hold up our beautiful toy and the crowd tells us it's ugly. Beaten and torn. It probably only takes once for this to happen... but in the end we lose the confidence we once had. The irratic dance. The uncontrollable song. All of it... has ended. With one critique, the joy is gone and the toy is placed on a shelf, or in the closet... somewhere safe.

I think that's the way it is with God. At first we proclaim Him to the world. With all honesty and sincerity we scream for others to try Him. We dance, we flail about only to be told that He's torn and broken. He's not that attractive anymore. And it probably only takes once for this to happen... but in the end, we've lost the joy we had. All of it... is gone. And we decide to place Him in the Sunday School room, on the nightstand, in the closet... somewhere safe.

Where'd it go? Where is my natural desire to praise Him. To show the world what joy He brings? The love he posesses? Where's my song? The dance? Is it still there?

It's been beaten out of me. time and time again i'm bashed on the head with the fact that i'm different for my joy. i'm neive. childish.

Where's my love for the Author of Love?

I have a feeling that it's still there. The only problem is now I have to work for it. I have to take off the layers of protection I've placed around my pride and take the toy off the shelf, out of the closet for all to see. It's old and torn. Some of the pieces are missing and the dust has settled on top. But the more I praise the One I Love, the more my praise becomes natural. Every part of my being cries out to the One and Only True God. My Beautiful One. And suddenly, when i discard the criticisms of many...as foolish and misguided, I fall in love again.

I feel my legs start to move.
My arms are waving.
My vocal chords errupt with praise.

I feel Him in my bones.

We're meant to praise Him. He created us for it. Why do we fight the thing that fits us best? We will search and search for the answer as to why we are here... yet neglect to listen to the One who knows us best. For He calls us by name. The name HE gave us. He made us to worship. To praise him with every ounce that we are.

So I will continue to dance. To sing. And I will refuse to discourage others from doing the same.

I see the joy you raise in the air. The One that brings you to the point of praise with your whole body and soul. You shove Him in my lap. "He's precious," you say.

Trust me....



He's beautiful...

Friday, December 21, 2007

The Christmas Story...Part One

This part of the story of the birth of my Savior can be found in the Bible...


1 A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham:

2 Abraham was the father of Isaac,
3 Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar,
4 Ram the father of Amminadab,
5 Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab,
6 and Jesse the father of King David.
7 Solomon the father of Rehoboam,
8 Asa the father of Jehoshaphat,
9 Uzziah the father of Jotham,
10 Hezekiah the father of Manasseh,
11 and Josiah the father of Jeconiah and his brothers at the time of the exile to Babylon.
12 After the exile to Babylon:
13 Zerubbabel the father of Abiud,
14 Azor the father of Zadok,
15 Eliud the father of Eleazar,
16 and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ. 17 Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Christ.

~Matthew 1:1-17


It's interesting to see the importance the people took in genealogy. I've noticed that most people skip over this part... honestly probably because the names are so freaking hard to pronounce... BUT, I figure, if it's there, there is a purpose for it. So I'm thinking about every name as it comes up.

Abraham.
Father Abraham! He had many sons... He was promised, by God, to be the Father of a great nation! The nation of Israel, God's chosen people. THIS sounds like a family our Savior would be born into... But this guy made some serious mistakes too. Like, what about that time when his wife, Sarah couldn't get pregnant. She offered her maidservant to him for a son... and the guy accepted... talk about marital problems. Then he had to deal with the mother of his son... who really started to act disrespectfully to Sarah, and a jealous wife. That's one way to dig your own grave! One angry woman is hard enough, let alone two... and a kid thrown in the mix.
Eventually, and I do mean eventually, God promises Sarah a son!!! They are like really old by now... and there's a laughing incident, but that's another story. Anyway, she has this kid... and you can imagine how they treat him. He's like their pride and joy! They went through so much with him. Isaac! Isaac! Then God tests Abraham.... asks him to do the worst... sacrifice his ONLY son, Isaac, as an offering. Abraham goes to do it and God stops him just in time. Tells him to sacrifice a goat instead. pretty cool. So I guess we can say that Abraham was an average guy... had his ups and downs, I mean, he was Abraham and all, but he was still human! A great start for the nation of Isreal! But relating it to the Birth of Jesus... well, I can see a similarity... Jesus was God's own Son and He was sent by God to be the ultimate sacrifice for our sins... ripping the curtain... destroying the temple... and rebuilding it in three days. Abraham was about to sacrifice his only son for a sacrifice to God. Maybe it's just to show that God's love reaches really far, really deep, really strong... just so we can be saved.

Isaac.
This guys a pretty cool cat too! But for the sake of time, I will just say the important part... they went through a LOT to get this guy a wife... a LOT... her name was Rebekah. Yeah, goooooooood name! Anyway, she gets pregnant with twin boys, Jacob and Esau. Now these guys have an interesting story... it all starts with the fact that God promised Abraham all these blessings and he passed them to Isaac, to pass them to his sons, AND the fact that miss Beka and mr Jake had favorites!

Jacob.
Jacob and Esau were twins and from the second they were born, they were struggling with each other to be the best. Esau was the first born and that means that he gets all the good stuff, then Jacob gets the left overs. Just how it was back then. Anyway, Isaac liked Esau and Rebekah favored Jacob. When it was time for blind Isaac to die, he was ready to give everything to Esau, including God's blessing of a huge, favored nation! Well, Beka wanted Jacob to get that. SO, they come up with a plan. They trick Isaac into thinking Jacob was Esau, it's gross, there's a lot of hair involved, but anyway, Isaac gives Jacob everything. Eventually he finds out and it's a mess but... still, Jacob gets everything. and this is why Jacob becomes "Israel." Yeah, the nation. His sons become the twelve tribes of Israel. They have sons, and their sons have sons, and their sons have sons, and so on and so forth all the way until today!

Judah.
This is where the whole "Lion of Judah" thing comes from. Jesus comes from the tribe of Judah... so he is the Lion of Judah...... Jacob has a whole BUNCH of sons. Judah isn't exactly the most famous of these sons... Joseph is more well known... probably. You know... with his coat of many colors?! Well, that's not what I'm talking about. lol. I'm talking about Judah. He's the ONE guy amongst his brothers, the Heads of the Tribes of Isreal, that said they shouldn't just KILL Joseph, OH read the story on your own. lol. Back to Judah... he's a pretty decent guy, till he has sons. He becomes one of those guys that's so wrapped up in his own goals and agendas that he forgets the promises he's made. You know the type, there's about a hundred movies about these guys... and gals. Okay, well, Judah, he has first batch of sons: Er (God puts him to death because he's like waaaaayyy wicked), Onan, and Shelah. Well, Er had a wife and then he died. Well, back in those days, if the oldest son died without heirs, the next son had to marry his older sons wife and lay with her, producing heirs for his older brother.... pretty much taking his brothers name, and forgetting his own identity. GAY! Anyway, Er's wife Tamar is like "Hey, Judah, I don't have any heirs for your son, so.... what are you gonna do about that?" Basically, he makes Onan take Er's place! Well, THEN, Onan is like "Heck Nah! I'm not doing that!" So every time he had sex with his new wife, Tamar, well, he pulled out real quick and spilled his semen on the floor, so that she couldn't have sons. God wasn't so happy with him. He thought it was super wicked, so he killed him too! Tamar's stuck again! Well, the only other son Judah had at this time was Shelah and he was really young. TOO young to be married. So, Judah promised he would marry him to her, if she would wait. He told her to live in her father's house til Shelah was ready. BUT, secretly, he was thinking "She's killin em off. She'll have to wait til she dies." (in my words.) well, Tamar catches on. Years later, Judah's wife dies, and he gets over grieving and sees this chick, he's like.... ooo mamasita!!!!! he thinks she's a prostitute because she keeps her face covered and he acts accordingly. They sleep together and she's like okay, pay me, he's like i give this as a pledge to you... giving her his signant ring thing, his cord, and his staff.... oopsy! he tries to get a hold of her several times to get them back in exchange for the real payment, a goat or something lame like that. well, there's no sign of her. So he gives up and hopes nothing becomes of it. Yea RIGHT! People come yelling and screaming at him saying... " Your daughter-in-law Tamar has defiled your household. She is a prostitute and has become pregnant." Well he flips!!!! He's all mad because she's a whore, you know, he's saying bring her out to burn her to death..... And then she shows him his signant ring, cord, and staff saying I slept with the man who gave me these things. BOOOO YAAAAAA!!!! She totally showed him up! So they have children! Perez and Zerah! It's wierd... this is the line of Christ. I mean. He's not really from this family... as in no spermy... but, this is what the books say, you know. What a history!!! ESPECIALLY for the son of God! Just one last note... if you remember the excerpt from Matthew up top... Tamar is mentioned... it wasn't very common for women to be written about back then. They were considered property. The fact that Tamar is mentioned says that she definitely did something worth noting! The moral of the story... dysfunctional families didn't originate in the South Eastern United States.

Perez.
Twins! Perez and Zerah. They fight each other to get out of mommy! seriously, there are limbs going in and out... it's a struggle. You should read about it. It's.... interesting. So Perez, He's mentioned a lot. But no huge stories, except for the whole birth thing. See, if God hadn't taken out Judah's first two sons, this great tribe of Isreal would have been lead by very wicked people. It shows you just how well God plans. There is a purpose for everything. He perfectly wove Tamar and Judah's lives together so that they would eventually have sons who would be part of the line of our Lord. It's pretty neat. Well, Perez has no HUGE stories, but i think he must of done some pretty cool things because there are a lot of places named after him in the Bible. It never says why, but... I bet it was because he did some great things for his people. At least... that's my oppinion!

Ram.
Perez has Hezron, who then has his own son, Ram. I skip Hezron because he isn't really spoken of..... just his name. Now Ram. The only thing I really can remember of Ram is his name. I don't think he does much either. He refrenced to a lot in lineage. but i didn't want to forget him. i like his name. and he's mentioned in the list.

Amminadab.
First of all, sweet name! Second, Amminadab was known because he has a really cool son. His son, Nahshon, becomes a GREAT leader of the people! Nahshon leads his people through the normal stuff, but also in the sense that he was the first, in the book of numbers, to bring an offering to God on several occasions. Hey, if it's mentioned, there's a reason. Numbers 7.

Salmon.
Salmon's kinda like Ram, Except.... I don't really like his name. I don't know what he did... but he's mentioned. Any clues?!

Boaz.
I like Boaz. Boaz appears in the Story of the Book of Ruth! And this story is for the chicks. It's like one of the few chick flicks in the Bible... if it were a collection of movies that is. Before we talk about Boaz, let's note the passage from Matthew most definitely says... Boaz, whose mother was Rahab. Another woman mention. And what more important lineage, then the lineage of Jesus Christ. A long story short, Rahab was a prostitute. Not a pretend one... like Tamar... no a bonafide whore. Paid for sexual favors. Despicable stuff. But she ends up hiding some of God's spies in her home. So they spare her life when the city is overturned! The city of Jericho. Another courageous woman in the Bible. A prostitute. In the line of Christ. What a promise of hope! No matter what mistakes we make, God can still use us for His purpose. To forward His Kingdom. To aid in the Greatest Story Ever Told! Hope!! Well, she ends up having Boaz. And like I was getting at before... he's quite the catch. See, Ruth marries one of Naomi's sons. Detestation happens and both of Naomi's sons and her husband die. Ruth vows to stay with Naomi no matter what, even though they were doomed having no man to make money for them to live. She even vows to leave the practice of worshiping her gods to worship Naomi's God... the True God. My God. So, when they get to Naomi's home town, Ruth goes out into these fields, walks behind some workers, and pick up what they leave behind. (common back then.) Well, these fields just happened to belong to Boaz. He sees her and sees that she's beautiful. He wonders... Why she isn't married? Why no one works for her? And why she needs so much food... food for two. Well, he finds out why she works so hard... because she takes care of her mother-in-law. He tells Ruth that she is allowed to drink from the worker's water source and she is allowed to follow any of his workers. He also tells his workers to leave a little extra behind. He tells them not to make fun of her... or make any bad comments to her. Oh yes, i forgot to tell you that Boaz is actually related to Naomi somehow and remember how i said earlier that you had to remarry someone of the same family... idk, just go with it... well, Naomi tells Ruth to go to Boaz and uncover his feet and some other stuff... some kind of sign... So Boaz gets a little drunk and lays down. Ruth goes to his feet and uncovers them. Boaz asks who she is and she says that she his servant. She tells him to cover her with his garment because he is a "kinsman-redeemer." I think that means that he could marry her... the whole family thing again. "The Lord bless you, my daughter," he replied. "This kindness is greater than that which you showed earlier: You have not run after the younger men, whether rich or poor. And now, my daughter, don't be afraid. I will do for you all you ask. All my fellow townsmen know that you are a woman of noble character. " He says that to her. Beautiful. and then he says some pretty tough news.... "there's somebody in our family closer to you than I am. he has the choice to marry you first." so he asks the guy if he wants Ruth. (all of us hoping he says no.) Boaz presents the case to this guy in such a way... i don't think anyone would take it. the guys like... if i take this land and this lady... i take his name and endanger my own estate.... no way!!! so Boaz gets the girl!!!! They marry, and Naomi is the happiest mother-in-law ever. She is told that Ruth is better to her than seven sons would be! Ruth... a woman! Beautiful! Then, Boaz took Ruth and they laid together. They bore a son, Obed! Obed grew and had a son, Jesse!

Jesse.
A lot of people know the story that's coming up here. So I will keep it very short. Jesse has some sons. There is a war going on and his sons go to fight. All but one, David. He's too small to fight. So, the Phillistines bring this huge guy from Gath, Goliath. No one even has the guts to fight this guy. Day after day... they wait for someone to step up to the plate.... so David does. Little David. And long story short... He kills Goliath. He knocks him out with a stone... flinging it at him with a sling... and then takes Goliath's sword and chops off his head. I know... they normally leave that out of the sunday school version. Anyway, so David's a hero! Later on, he becomes the only one who can help Saul when he is troubled. Even later, David becomes friends with Saul's son, Jonathan. This is the closest friendship i've ever known of. You should read about it... it's really cool. Well, David has a few spouts with Saul and Saul becomes a little paranoid and a bit crazy. David, in the end, becomes king! It's a pretty sweet story!
There are soooooo many stories about David. He was a pretty amazing guy. A man after God's own heart! He feared and worshiped God with all he had. This great man! Of course he's a part of the genealogy of Christ! BUT... let's not forget that he was STILL human. One time he pretty much murdered a guy. See, he saw this really beautiful woman bathing... and he saw it and it was good. lol. he wanted her. when he found out that she was married, he had her husband sent to the front line of battle... almost guaranteeing his death! And boom, the guy did die and David took her as another wife... so i guess you could say he's not perfect. He wasn't. It just shows that God really does work the kinks out you know!? God DID punish David for that. His sons had some issues... his family had issues... But David never stopped worshiping God. He really did love Him with all his heart! He wrote a whole bunch of Pslams. His story was mixed with emotions and never once got boring. David's story is well-known. He was the King of a great nation! Just as God Promised years and years before.

Solomon.
Solomon is another well-known character! He was the son of King David. A king himself! He was the most wise and rich man that has ever lived... a part from Jesus on the wise part, who was God as man. He built the temple and tried to follow God's will. He wrote the book, Song of Songs (Song of Solomon), a book about love. He was wise and his opinions and knowledge were much sought after. With his great knowledge that God had given him, and with God's help, he wrote the book of Proverbs which still gives tid bits of wisdom to all who seek it with an open heart and mind, and whose prayers ask for it. What a wonderful man! I'm glad he's in the lineage... let's not forget that he had thousands of wives though. And he made several mistakes too. It's like God was trying to say something through this line of family members..........

Rehoboam.
Rehoboam became king once his father, Solomon died. Rehoboam wasn't very good at being king. He decided to listen to his friends instead of older men, his advisers when asking for advice... and it brought on a whole heap of problems. He had to flee for his life several times, and his decisions started a great war! He was at continual war with Jeroboam and his people. He lived war on a daily basis. He wasn't very happy and it all stemmed from his horrible judgment of character and his childish ways. Rehoboam had a son named Abijah, who had a son named Asa.

Asa.
"Asa's heart was fully committed to the Lord all his life." He spent most of his reign as king getting rid of all of the detestable things that were in his kingdom! He was a great king that was able to make peace with one nation that would in turn help support his troops against another nation. He was wise and calm. We know that he followed God all his life, as quoted above from 1 Kings 15. A good guy and a great leader, he would lead Israel through years of safety. He had a son named Jehoshaphat. When he died, he was buried with his fathers.

Jehoshaphat.
Jehoshaphat King of Judah was part of a cool story. Another major player in this story was the King of Isreal. Isreal's king was misguided at this time. He sought help from prophets who ended up telling him lies. Jehoshaphat would only join forces with Isreal in war if the God was going to bless them with victory. They sought the council of Micaiah, a prophet of God who would tell them the truth. They ended up going to war anyways... even though Micaiah foresaw destruction. The king of Isreal ended up getting shot with an arrow between the plates of his armor and bled to death. There was a massacre. Isreal and Judah had lost. "In everything he walked in the ways of his father Asa and did not stray from them; he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord. " He did what he could to follow the Lord BUT he did forget to take down and demolish the "High Places" as God had commanded years and years ago. People still continued to do evil things there. Another one of those misguided men that laid the foundation for the Birth of Christ! Jeoshaphat had a son, and his son had a son, Uzziah.... he's got a fruitful story!

Uzziah.
Uzziah became king when he was young. Like, a teenager, if I remember right. He was always doing what was right in God's eyes. Always seeking to follow God's will. As long has he was following God and seeking Him, he was successful in everything he did. When he went to war, he won. All of his victories made him really famous! Everyone knew who he was! He built all kinds of buildings and towers, he was a good king and kept his people safe. Uzziah is mentioned several other times in the Bible. Mostly, he's mentioned as a reference to God speaking through people. Nevertheless, this guy was good for Judah. Uzziah had a grandson named Jotham.

Jotham.
Jotham is known for rebuilding the upper gate of the Temple! Another piece of the puzzle. I'm not really sure why he's so important. any ideas?!?!?! he had some sons. One of his offspring... Hezekiah.

Hezekiah.
I had to look this one up. The Bible says: Hezekiah trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel. "There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him. He held fast to the Lord and did not cease to follow him; he kept the commands the Lord had given Moses. And the Lord was with him; he was successful in whatever he undertook. He rebelled against the king of Assyria and did not serve him. From watchtower to fortified city, he defeated the Philistines, as far as Gaza and its territory. " He was the one that finally tore down those "high places" for God. I guess he is in there because he held so tightly onto God. Through thick and thin he held on. Never forsaking God, never forgetting the promise of redemption. A lesson to learn. Hold fast. Hold strong and you will overcome. God will take care of you. He is watching and holding tight to you! He promised redemption... and it came with the birth of His Precious Son! As for Hezekiah... his descendant, Manasseh, succeeded him as king!

Manasseh.
He was twelve when he became king!!!! He was a horrible king and wicked boy/man. He did very evil things and led his people to do very evil things. He rebuilt the "high places" that his dad had taken down. They were evil, but he loved them. He worshiped the stars and other gods. He made a mockery of the temple. He even sacrificed his own son in a fire to the stars, making God angry. God warned the people but they refused to listen. Manasseh led them into their destruction. And THIS guy is in the line of Christ. completely evil. Maybe God is saying He can do all things, even things we can't understand. He doesn't care who you are or what you've done. Just that you turn from it. Maybe He's promising us a "future and a hope".... no matter who we come from. Mannasseh had a son, Josiah.

Josiah.
Josiah was the father of Jeconiah and his brothers. Judah was exiled to Babylon. They were a part of the exile. Josiah was prophesied to be king. Now Josiah was a good guy! 2 Kings says "He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and walked in all the ways of his father David, not turning aside to the right or to the left. " It's hard to go straight when your looking to the right or to the left or to the back for that matter. it is said in Isaiah somewhere, " no one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of heaven." Oh so true! Well, Josiah cleaned up the kingdom. He rededicated his people to God, he rededicated the temple, and he brought the people back to God! He did away with other gods and practices. He was a good guy that searched for God's heart faithfully and fervently. Another good guy in the list!! woohoo!! He had those sons.... Jeconiah is the important one.

Jeconiah.
We know nothing about this guy. This is the only time he is mentioned. he must of done something down the line. I like to think of him as the big nobody. An average Joe that is mentioned in Jesus genealogy. It gives me hope. That God doesn't forget you. You are not forgotten. You are in his faves. lol. He will never leave you nor forsake you! What a hope!
After the exile, Jeconiah had Zerubbabel.

Zerubbabel.
God promises Zerubbabel through a prophet that he will be okay. That He is with him in all things. Zarubbabel helps rebuild the temple and bring God's presence back to the people. He reminds them of God's love and grace. I think Zerubbabel is a reminder that God keeps his promises. He uses the weak and the strong alike. The nobody's and the famous. He is not afraid to use anyone for the advancement of His kingdom. He will use you if you are willing. Zerubbabel has a son, Abiud, who has a son Azor.

Abiud and Azor.
These guys aren't mentioned anywhere else either.... I guess just another reminder. Azor had a son, Zadok.

Zadok.
All that I could find on this Zadok was that he helped bring the people to God when the Israelites went astray. I suppose this is a lesson that we should always be pushing towards the advancement of God's Kingdom. We should always be striving to help others, even if they think they don't need it. We are responsible for our brothers and sisters in Christ, so take care of them. Zadok had a son, Eliud. Eliud had a son, Eleazar.

Eleazar.
I think this was the Eleazar that was in the choir. If so.... i like this! If so, maybe God is saying that music is important or acceptable. Music is kind of a touchy subject in Christianity. i won't get into it... but i do think it is important to worship God with music and with our lives. Maybe Eleazar was proof of that! Eleazar had a son Jacob. Jacob had a son named Joseph.

Joseph.
Joseph was engaged to Mary, the virgin mother of Jesus. It's important to know that Joseph was his earthly father but didn't contribute to the making of Jesus. No Joseph sperm involved here. They didn't have sex before they were married. I think everyone knows the story of joseph.... but i'll quickly indulge. A carpenter. He was a hard working man that seemed to have bad luck. First he finds out that his fiance is pregnant. that's a shocker, especially since he knew it wasn't from him. Then he's like freaking out because the whole world will probably think the worst of him... if not kill them for their "acts." Good thing God sends an angel and puts his mind at rest. The angel fills him in on everything and i bet he felt a lot better knowing she didn't have sex with anyone. Of course, he was probably still freaking out over the whole... my son is God thing. But there's a census and they have to go back to Bethlehem to be counted. Well, there's no rooms available because there are so many there on account of the census.... and who knew..... a stable is where his new son is born. Welcome to the world God!!!!


I won't go too in depth here on Joseph because the rest of the story is to come.

To sum up... i guess I believe that God put this "boring" part here for a reason. That it wasn't just important to the people of that time, but it was also important for us to read today. To me, I think this part of the story is important. I think it's an important sign of hope. A hidden message of deliverance. A reminder of the Love of God. Every single name rings the bell of hope to me. From Abraham being promised and delivered a son, to Ruth and her marriage to Boaz, to the nobody's, to the prostitutes who are loved by God, to the normal ol' carpenter who becomes the Earthly father of God in the Flesh. These are all signs that there is a purpose for our lives. That, maybe we won't get to see it for a long time, or maybe not at all, but it's always there none the less. That God is always working for the good of those who love him. He gives us a future and a hope. He would come to Earth as a small child. The tears that had been shed and the hearts that had been broken could now be healed by his fragile fingers. His tender brow would be prepared for thorns. and His tiny heart, it's blood would save them. A promise... and a hope.


Tears are falling, hearts are breaking
How we need to hear from God
You've been promised, we've been waiting
Welcome Holy Child
Welcome Holy Child

Hope that you don't mind our manger
How I wish we would have known
But long awaited Holy Stranger
Make yourself at home
Please make yourself at home

Bring your peace into our violence
Bid our hungry souls be filled
World now breaking Heaven's silence
Welcome to our world
Welcome to our world

Fragile finger sent to heal us
Tender brow prepared for them
Tiny heart whose blood will save us
Unto us is born
Unto us is born

So wrap our injured flesh around You
Breathe our air and walk our sod
Rob our sin and make us holy
Perfect Son of God
Perfect Son of God
Welcome to our world

Friday, August 31, 2007

In the beginning...

We always start talking about our lives "from the beginning." When we started this sport or this pastime. When we first thought we liked him/her. When we began...everything. That's why I think it's wierd that we've forgotten the importance of the disagreement of the beginning of time. We always start our conversations, our stories, from the beginning. That's what God did. He said...
"In the beginning..."

It's laid out for us like a "once upon a time" start and we never seem to be able to pay attention. It's okay that the world teaches us that the beginning was formed from nothing and that WE formed from nothing and that God was never there...in the beginning, or at all. I guess we always skip to the Jesus part. It's always easier to teach about the love of Christ and his sacrifice then to unravel that story from "the beginning." The whole Bible is one big story. A big story full of little stories that don't really seem to fit until later and so we skip them. God, who is infinite in wisdom decides to start from the beginning..."They'll want to know what happened. Why WE did what WE did. Where they came from. WHO made them. WHY." So He told us. Piece by piece, once upon a time by once upon a time, in lands far far away, until the ultimate sacrifice and promising future was laid out on the table. Don't get me wrong, all of the stories are real. Real people and real events all leading to the One who give His life to save those who were drifting.
Anyway, I guess we've just been battered down by the teachings of the world. We've been taught that Christianity is no longer ligit and is only practiced by those mindless fools who refuse to believe in "scientific evidence." Carbon dating, dinosaurs, and monkeymen are proof that we formed from nothing...that we are big nothings that just kind of happened. AND, the worst part is that we have tried to fit these insults into our beliefs as if they fit somehow. God made the world in six days...crap, carbon dating sets us back another like billion. Well, God works on His own time so He really could have made the world in millions of years and millions of years are just days to Him. Well yeah, that makes sense but it can't be.

And He made them both male and female...Day Six...He made them in the beginning.

If we discount our creator's words, then we discount the creator. If He lies in the beginning then who can follow Him to the end? We are but mere men and cannot try to out-think our creator. If He is brilliant enough to make us, with all of our intricacies, then He must know what was there in the beginning. He must know that we didn't evolve from a speck of nothing. That we are made in HIS image and cannot be greater than He. How can we evolve into greater beings without doing that? Only time can tell of our mistakes. Only in the end will we see ourselves for what fools we have become. In this anti-christian world, we have but one hope...to read the Maker's words from the beginning and believe with all of our hearts that His words are true, holy, and just to the end.

On a side note... for me, at least, it seems easier to believe that God, divine being, created us; then to believe that a whole bunch of nothing exploded and years later, bam!, here I am!
Try that again...a whole bunch of nothing...just sitting there...and bam...the universe! I don't know...it seems to me that it takes more faith to believe in that then the "foolish" faith it takes to believe that I was made for a purpose.

I was talking to Greg about stuff last night. We talked about the beginning. We talked about life.

I think that conversations like that are specifically placed there by God. Last night didn't hit hard and deep. I believe one of the quotes was..."Beka?...What is your position on dinosaurs?" I must say I've never been asked that before...but anyway, we talked about truth and confusion and science. We talked about humans and thier limited minds that seem so big because of their pride. We talked about how the world praises the creation rather than the creator. But after it was all said and done...i felt a passion again. A fire that I have felt roar and a fire htat I have felt dwindle away. But it was back and all because of a conversation about dinosaurs and monkeymen.

God put a desire in our hearts to know more. He made us to yearn for truth and answers to life's deepest inquiries. How did all of this get here? When does space stop? Why am I here? Where do I go after life is over? For some, these questions bring peace when they lead to the One who not only knows the answers, but gave birth to the questions as well.

I think we all bury these inconsistancies of science and christianity into a closet somewhere, hoping that we can look past the problems and pretend that they aren't there. Hoping that no one will bring it up because it's such a delicate subject! The world has backed us into a corner and shouted that we should be ashamed of who we are and what we believe. That Christianity is humane and isn't accepting. That we are wrong for believing what we do. That it isn't American, it isn't right, it isn't freedom at it's finest. They speak as if they know love. As if their fight for rights has the main goal of peace. The problem is that they don't know love and they don't know peace. Love isn't always pretty. It isn't safe. It isn't sorry for it's actions. Love is telling the truth, even though it hurts. Sometimes, love requires a fight. It requires justice and discipline.

Love isn't a man in an intimate relationship with another man. It's killing a person humanely because they commited murder. It's not always staying away from wars. Love is not always pretty. It isn't giving the rights to women to kill their unborn children. It isn't letting people get away with things because your always worried about peace. Love is patient and kind and forgiving...but never has it been a floor mat. Your parents love you but they cannot let you get away with things that hurt you, cause you harm. In the same way their love disciplines, God has justice for those He loves.

What greater love is this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now, these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.


All these stories from "the beginning" til the stone was rolled away, tell of a love like no other. A disciplining Love that teaches those who love Him to surrender themselves to the Teacher and follow in His steps.

In the end, it will all pass away. It will stop. No more. And in that moment, I hope that you are not caught up in your own distruction. I hope that you have found the Answer to all the questions He designed us to have. I hope that you aren't set up for a destiny of hopelessness. I hope that you have found the Love that surpasses all understanding. I hope you have found that you will never have the chance, on this Earth, to understand why things are the way that they are. Sometimes, things just happen. Sometimes, we have to admit that we are only human. That this great wisdom we think we have stems from the pride in our hearts. That we are no greater than our creator, we don't even come close. I hope you find yourself, realizing you were lost in a heap of lies poured ontop of you year after year resulting in thoughts you thought were your own.

I think we give ourselves too much credit. We think we can do it on our own. That's when we get ourselves to where we are now. An anti-truth world that pictures love as a man and man. Or a woman choosing to kill her own children. Or as out-of-marriage and adulterous sex. We glamorize it all. We act like its all frilly and beautiful until we see what problems it brings. How many children's minds will we destroy because a man lusts a man and wants to raise children. How many unborn children must die before it seems as if it's not love. How many diseases, suicides, murders, and shattered lives must result from out-of-marriage sex before we realize that it's not so glamorous after all. Who are we to take a perfect thing like love and spin it around to be the excuse for our unwarranted desires and lusts? Who are we to believe we know better than the Perfect One who created us? Who are we? What have we become? We rant and rave about prisoners not having cable television while our children are murdered in silence. After all, a child is not a child until it breathes and cries.

He formed us in our mother's whombs. He knows us by name.

I'm here again...confused and hurt. Some of my closest friends believe in these lies. A series of excuses that label horrible things as common, as love. Deep down, I can't believe that they truely believe these things.

Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. Then light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.

I'm here again...wishing things were different. Wondering how I can change the world? We were told when we were little that it only takes one voice to make a difference. That one voice can change the world. If you've seen the movie 300, this quote makes sense. 300 has a few unnecessary parts. The whole sex part is skipped when i watch it but anyway, gore and all, the Spartans stood their ground. They knew that the tyrant must be stopped. They knew that one little piece of an army could stand up against that tyrant and change the world. I wonder if one such as myself would yield the same fate?

Have you ever felt confused at who'd you become? How did I become this person? I was so different years ago? I can't make sense of who I am. I'm in pieces. I think this happens to people when they start getting comfortable with a life that God hasn't chosen for them. All of the lives that people of the world live, bring pain and distruction. They are in constant worry. Broken pieces of who they once were.

See, it's hard either way, with or without God. In one hand, we have with God. Life is hard trying to live the life God chose for you. Trying to keep close to Him. Living in opposition of the world. BUT, in the end you get to be with Him in paradise. On the other hand, you have living without God. Life will be hard at times but you won't have that extra opposition. You can live life how you want and try not to worry about it. BUT, in the end you are judged for those acts. These sins, without repentence, come with a terrible debt. That's where the decision lies. That's how it is and you'll see how it's true. Maybe years from now, maybe days, maybe while you read these words. You can tell Him. You can tell Him how hard you tried on your own. You can tell Him it made sense but everybody has a choice. It's yours, freely choose. THIS...is freedom.

I'm here again
A thousand miles away from you
A broken mess, just scattered pieces of who I am
I tried so hard
Thought I could do this on my own
I've lost so much along the way

Then I'll see your face
I know I'm finally yours
I find everything I thought I lost before
You call my name
I come to you in pieces
So you can make me whole

I've come undon
But you make sense of who I am
Like puzzle pices in your eye

Then I'll see your face
I know I'm finally yours
I find everything I thought I lost before
You call my name
I come to you in pieces
So you can make me whole

I tried so hard. So hard.
I tried so hard.

Then I'll see your face
I know I'm finally yours
I find everything I thought I lost before
You call my name
I come to you in pieces
So you can make me whole
So you can make me whole.


In the beginning...was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God...in the beginnning.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Feeling so small...

After forever, I've decided to write in this thing again. I know...amazing.





We were invited to play at a camp for the first week of July, we excepted. The camp was amazing. I must say, it was hard work. We woke up everyday, very early and worked til the early morning show, the worked some more (practice and whatnot), then had lunch, then played at night, then worked, and then played again and campfire...dinner in there somewhere. I noticed that it was amazing. I enjoyed the work so much. It was like working construction during Jubilation...it was really hard and tiring, but still fun and very rewarding. I can't wait to do it more often. Perhaps we will get the honor to make it our careers. THat would be sweet.





I was thinking about a good song to quote in this entry, and unfortunately, I couldn't think of something right away. It took a lot of time and I still have yet to have ONE song sticking out in the open abyss of my brain. heh.





During the camp Keith spoke on Isaiah 6. "Here I Am, LORD. Send Me!" Isaiah was a pretty cool guy. A prophet at the words finest. Seriously. He has this amazing vision. In it, he sees the glory of God filling a great throne room. Like, God...so big in all that He Is...FILLS the whole room. This is where we meet those really wierd angels with a ton of wings. They have like, 2 covering their feet (too dirty to be revealed in front of God), 2 that they fly with, and (get this) 2 that cover their faces (because God is too great to look at). I'm really not sure how they got anywhere. They couldn't walk because they'd be stumbling on the wings, they couldn't fly because they couldn't see in front of them anyway because of the wings covering their faces...wierd. Anyway, Angels...in all of their holiness had to cover themselves before God, yet Isaiah is looking at God straight on. Here, he realizes that he really sucks. This guy, who on earth is a pretty good guy, is like "crap! i'm ruined because i've seen all His glory and i'm not good enough for that, i can't take it, i'm gona die and it's all my fault. I have done so much wrong. my lips are dirty. my people are dirty." woe is me basically. then, one of the angels gets a salad tong thing and gets a hot coal from the alter where God is, puts it in it's hand (why were the tongs necessary), and touches Isaiah's lips. The angel is like "stop freaking out. i touched this hot coal to your lips (duh) and now you are clean."


God is upset. He's like "Man! Who can we send? (trinity that is)"


Isaiah steps it up here, instead of thinking about every reason why he shouldn't answer and start looking around the room saying "i don't know God...all these guys are flyin around blind..." He steps up to the plate and does what we all wish we would have done..."Here am I LORD. Send Me!"





God has placed a calling in all of us. He definitely wants us to except the calling. Many people, will never even admit that their whole lives revolved around for searching for God...and, thus, will never find Him. But God's people definitely hava a calling to go, you know. Like, He's sitting there watching everything and he knows people are lost and searching and He knows that some have found that missing piece (Him) but aren't willing to "go" and help the others. "who shall we send?"---------- No answer.





Dude! I want to be like the big Ise-man. "Here I am LORD! Send me!!!!"





Chris Tomlin says it pretty well:


"Take my will and make it Thine it shall be no longer mine.Take my heart it is Thine own it shall be Thy royal throne.Take my love, my Lord I pour at Your feet its treasure store Take myself and I will be ever, only, all for Thee.Take myself and I will be ever, only, all for Thee.





Here am I, all of me.Take my life, it's all for Thee."





I guess we're all kind of scared. Most of the time, it's not because we're scared of being rejected when witnessing...it's because we're scared to lose what we've built for ourselves. Such a nice world, built by us, for us. Like this: Honestly, I'm scared to live for God sometimes. I don't feel that God wants me to be at a public college as well as a Bible college studying missions. However, I'm scared of the disappointment that may come from my parents, God-fearing people. OR I'm scared that not having a world-approved "back-up plan" might lead to an uncomfortable and scorned lifestyle.





See, this is really not what happened with Isaiah. It's great that it didn't even cross his mind. Can you imagine, "well, give me a few years to get some good credit and a heavy savings account and perhaps a college degree, then I'll be more than happy to go where you wish."





No. See we always hear that a life spent for God is well worth living, however, uncomfortable. BUT whenever we see others do what seems almost irrational and unrealistic for Christ, we jump to the conclusion that they aren't responsible.





What if I told God, "You know, I know you want me here, but i've got to get a degree at a public college first...just in case." That would be rediculous. What happened to, "Look at the birds of the air and the flowers of the field. God continues to feed the birds of the air. No one on earth is as splendid as a lilly in a field! Just as God feads the birds of the air and clothes the flowers of the field, in the same way, he will take care of you! So, dont worry about tomorrow. Tomorrow will take care of itself, it has enough troubles of it's own.!"





Instead of believing the Good Book, we've made excuses as to why our oppinions make enough sense to be absolute truths. We are a generation of exceptions. If it makes sense to us, we are an exception to the rule. God makes it clear what HIS oppinions are...they are truths. They are right and just. We have no right to skinny our way around rules because we feel we are perhaps the one exception. There are no exceptions to right and wrong. No exceptions to following Christ without regard to the world's standards.





Perhaps, all of this stems from the idea that everyone has to be happy. Jesus wasn't always happy. He had an unstoppable joy through His Father, but he wasn't always giddy. He felt anguish, pain, anger, and fear. The idea that God himself can openly feel this way, yet we must mask ourselves with smiles to fit into the crowd, is by far one of the great misconceptions of Christianity today. A relationship with Christ is not easy. It is not painless or fearless. The problem is...our pride. While Jesus clearly spoke against pride, we mask it as pure happiness as we galavant around in public. We are so proud of the mask we've painted for everyone to see, this perfect picture of who we'd like to be, that we easily overlook that it was crafted by the hands of our pride. "Blessed are the humble, for they will inherit the earth."

"So I tuck it all away, like everything's okay. If I make them all believe it, maybe I'll believe it too. So with a painted grin, I play the part again. So everyone will see me the way that I see them.
Are we happy plastic people? Under shiny plastic steeples? With walls around our weakness And smiles to hide our pain. But if the invitation's open, To every heart that has been broken Maybe then we close the curtain On our stained glass masquerade
Is there anyone who's been there? Are there any hands to raise? Am I the only one who's traded In the altar for a stage? The performance is convincing, And we know every line by heart. Only when no one is watching, Can we really fall apart.
But would it set me freeIf I dared to let you see The truth behind the person That you imagine me to be?"


I'm getting married in 9 days! I'm pretty excited! I can't even explain that feeling to you. So I won't try...just believe me when I say I'm excited.


What else has been on my mind? Oh yes... I was thinking about high school. I was thinking of the people and the friends i had. a lot of them, quite possibly read this through a thread to my facebook. I always wonder if they read this far. If anything i have to say about God is of interest to them. I wonder if they see reality in a relationship with Christ or if they see the same mask i created years ago and willingly flaunted for so long. I doubt christians know the responsibility they have to be real. Pre-christians can smell a mask from oceans away and will use it to barracade the space between them and Christ. I would too. If christians are the same, why be one? Just more rules for no difference. Be careful with who you make yourself out to be.

I had some advice given to me about marriage: "Above everything else, he will appreciate your kindness." It's so true about christianity. Above everything else, they will notice your kindness. Telling a person they're going to hell, perhaps isn't always the very best approach. How about showing them Christ's love through you. I dont' know, i never heard Jesus tell a prostitute that she was going to hell for her sins...he forgave her, and said, 'go...and leave this way of life, this sin.' He showed mercy when no one else would. and he really is the only one with the right to judge and condemn. He's God in the flesh. man, when will we learn.


"Well, I heard you say you would love for a lifetime
And now you complain that a lifetime just doesn't feel right for you
Another casualty of casual love
Another soul out of place, a heart that gave up
Why do we break the promises we make?
Are we living for ourselves?

Don't give up on love and throw it all away
Don't give up on love and let it fall away
When did it become so easy to run from your pain?
Don't give up on love and throw it all away

Well, I heard you say you can't change a stubborn heart
Yeah, I can relate, cause that's how I feel when I talk with you
Why should it take losing everything
To realize it might be time to change?

Your restless heart won't win
Cause you take, but you don't giv
And you'll keep moving on until you learn what love is"



Lastly, before i get caught at work...lol...that isn't a good thing and i should not do that...sorry

I guess I wanted to say that it is important to find joy in Christ. BUT there is a huge difference in being "happy" and having joy. Happiness comes and goes...it's more of an emotion. Joy is something that lasts. Joy is deeply rooted. Joy has a driving power to it, almost like passion. Joy takes time to receive and time to lose. It is okay to have emotions...it is a bad sign if you have lost your joy...or perhaps, if you've never experienced it.

There is a song that I always end up singing when i am reminded of the joy of Christ's love.
I don't know why i do, but i do. so, i figured i'd share my joy with you!

Turn your earT
o Heaven and hear
The noise inside
The sound of angels
The sound of angel's songs
And all this for a King
We could join and sing
"All to Christ the King!"

How constant
How divine
This song of ours will rise
Oh, how constant
How divineT
his love of ours will rise
Will rise...

CHORUS:
O praise Him!
O praise Him!
He is Holy!
He is Holy, yeah!

Turn your gaze
To Heaven and raise
A joyous noise
Oh, the sound of salvation come
The sound of rescued ones
And all this for a king
Angles join to sing
"All for Christ the King!"


CHORUS [2x]

Oh la la la la la...

O pra-ise Him!
O pra-ise Him!
He is Ho-ly!
He is Ho-ly!

How infininte and sweet
This love so rescuing
Oh how infinitely sweet
This great love that has redeemed
As one, we sing...

"Hallelujah!Hallelujah!
He is Ho-ly!He is Ho-ly!" [2x]

O pra-ise Him!O pra-ise Him!
He is Ho-ly!He is Ho-ly!
Oh, La la la la la la...

"Hallelujah!Hallelujah!
He is Ho-ly!He is Ho-ly!"
O pra-ise Him!O pra-ise Him!
He is Ho-ly!He is Ho-ly!

Oh la la la la la la...