Friday, October 29, 2010

Not Forgotten

6 days. all spent going to doctors. getting tested. now I’m waiting.
I’ve been doing this for years: Go to doctor, take tests, wait for results, find out nothing.
The question occasionally arises:
 has God forgotten me? Has He somehow missed what I’m going through, what I’m waiting for, what I’m asking of Him?
To find out the answer, lets look at some impressive stories (true stories too, cause they’re from God’s Word), starting with the one that happens to be my favorite “Sunday School Bible Story”
(Genesis 37-50)
a climactic animated story with so many inspiring and convicting points. 
we’ll focus in on this:
Joseph, a good man, was sold into slavery, raised to a respected servant, falsely accused, sent to prison. Joseph seemed to keep a positive and willing attitude, even in this trial, and God blessed him. However, he was still a prisoner. When a fellow prisoner was going to be freed, he asked him to
“...remember me and show me kindness; mention me to Pharaoh and get me out of this prison. For I was forcibly carried off from the land of the Hebrews, and even here I have done nothing to deserve being put in a dungeon."(40:14-15)
The prisoner was freed. Joseph waited. However, the prisoner forgot him. But God did not. Two years later, the Pharaoh had a dream that quite disturbed him, but his sorcerers could not interpret it. Only then was Joseph was rescued. 
I’ve left a great deal of the story out, it’s a great one though, so I encourage you to read it!

Click here for: Story of Joseph

Next I’ll mention Noah,
(Genesis 6-9)
who was left on the ark for, like forever. Can you imagine being in a monstrous storm for forty days and forty nights? I wonder if Noah ever thought that God had forgotten him.
But after 40 days and nights, the Bible says, “But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark, and he sent a wind over the earth, and the waters receded.” 
Then Noah and his family continued to remain in the ark for what totaled over 1 year! He was waiting on God, waiting to get out! I wonder how many times he went to sleep thinking, “maybe tomorrow is the day the Lord will rescue me from this smelly place! Maybe I’ll get to feel sunshine on my back and soft green grass under my feet again soon!” I’m sure his whole family felt that way to some extent! 
Well, finally, God told Noah, “Come out of the ark” 
I’m sure God didn’t need to repeat THAT invitation. 
Even though it seemed like an impossibly long time to live on a boat in the midst of a zoo, it was God’s timing. God didn’t forget, not at all! Because, He loved Noah.

Click here for: Story of Noah
My last story will be from Exodus, actually about THE Exodus
(Exodus 1-14)
God’s chosen people were saved from famine during Joseph’s time, and invited to live in Egypt. After Joseph and that Pharaoh had passed on, however, the following rulers weren’t as gracious to the Israelites and began to fear their growing numbers. So they oppressed God’s people, forced them into slavery. For somewhere around four hundred years, they were in Egypt. Oh, how many people must have died, waiting to be rescued. How many people lost hope that they would ever be saved. But God had not forgotten them. He remembered them so profoundly, that they still remember Him:
  "Because the LORD kept vigil that night to bring them out of Egypt, on this night all the Israelites are to keep vigil to honor the LORD for the generations to come." Exodus 12:42
He raised up Moses, He showed signs and wonders, He rescued His people from the bondage of slavery! What a WONDERFUL God!
Click here for: Story of the Exodus
And now my last, last story: a story still being written. My own. 

God IS faithful. always. 

He consistently does what is best, when it is best for His children. My all-time favorite verse is Ecclesiastes 3:1

God knows what He’s doing in my life. He really does! 
I was thinking of how little has happened in these last 6 days visiting doctors, and in fact how I seem to be doing even worse than before. I was reminded of all these stories, and thought, “God, will you make me wait one more year? Two? Four hundred? I don’t have that long!” But then I remembered what God CAN do in six days. 
He can
Separate light from darkness and create Day and Night
He can create the sky, form dry land and pull the waters into their place, grow bountiful and luscious plants, breathe out the heavenly beings, the Sun and my favorite, the moon, craft jumping fish, looming sea monsters and twittering birds, every imaginable animal (and more).... and He can create man, a being made in His image, filled with His breath of life. 
all this in six days.
So it’s not a matter of whether or not God CAN, it’s a matter of whether or not I can trust that God KNOWS what is best. not even just what’s best for me. I have no idea how many things God can work for good through my illness, and frankly, although I’d rather Him be able to work best in me through wellness, He doesn’t want to right now and I’m learning to be okay with that.
this is like, so long that it should probably be a pamphlet, not a post, but I don’t have the funding to make print-outs right now, so I’ll just wrap up as quickly as I can. =)
God has not forgotten me. He has not forgotten you either!  His Word is full of wonderful reminders of His faithfulness, compassion, love. 
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back from captivity." Jeremiah 29:11-14
And for a little encouragement from the New Testament:
"And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." (Romans 8:28)
God has not forgotten. He Remembers You. 
He is fully acquainted with you (Psalm 139). He knows your desires but he also knows your needs
He loves you. 
And His timing is juuuuuuust right!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

I'm Waaaaaiting!

So I'm beginning to think my computer and I have an awful lot in common right now.

1. We're both "sick".

2. We're both "waiting".

you see, my computer has this problem where it takes a loooooong time to start any process, even just starting up. but it's seemingly random. some times it runs fine for hours, other times, I'm stuck staring at a multi-colored pinwheel, while my computer is "waiting" to catch up with itself.

Well, right now my life seems to be full of seemingly random waiting. Waiting on God, in particular. Waiting to see where He's going to lead me. Waiting to see if He wants me here or there, doing this or that.

This is not the "I'm just sitting around", kind of waiting. I'm involved in what God has placed before me currently (and very possibly permanently, although I'm not entirely persuaded), and I'm growing and drawing closer to Him daily through prayer, scripture, study and even some fellowship.

But sometimes i picture my life as a filing cabinet, with a bunch of different files. Things marked, "family", "work", "missions", "friends", "finances", "volunteering", "relationship", "ministry", "emotions", "future" and probably a bunch more that I just can't think of right now. So when I "open" the files in my mind, it seems a great deal of them are tagged with a sticky note marked, "Waiting".
Waiting on what?  Conviction. Direction. Assurance. Approval.

Now before you start harping on me, no, I'm not waiting for the clouds to part, and God to point His finger at where I should live, who I should marry, what job I should have, all while saying, "THIS IS WHAT YOU SHOULD DO" in an all-knowing voice.
I'm just waiting for

Conviction: to have an outstanding passion about something in particular that gives me purpose and DIRECTION in serving God.
Direction: a path; how and where I should use what passions I have, being SURE that God can (but not necessarily will) use me in the certain area.
Assurance: knowing specifically that God is active in the situation and has called me to it, because it's obvious that He is opening doors.
Approval: one facet of God opening doors: the approval and support of my God-fearing and God-seeking parents, and some other mentors in my life.

And I'm not saying this is a fool-proof plan, that if I wait long enough, or search enough paths it's gonna plop me smack-dab in the middle of the perfect life where i'll serve out the rest of my days.

It's just something I've kind of gathered from experience, for me to use as I actively pursue what God wants from me. And as he leads me through open doors and away from closed ones, I'm sure my desires and ideas will change, to fit where He's leading me next,  and maybe even my method of discerning will change too...
But I'm just kind of waiting on God.

Some of my favorite passages are Psalms (surprise!) 27, 37 and 130.
They all talk about waiting on God, but are so good all the way through, that I don't want to clip out parts, so I'll just post the links and you can follow them, if you'd like:

Psalm 27

Psalm 37

Psalm 130

and finally, a song that I often seem to have the chorus stuck in my head =) =)
it's so simple and catchy and kept playing itself in my head as I wrote this post.

So anyway. this is a raaather long post... It's also a raaaather big part of my life (as if you couldn't already tell). 

waiting =)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Special Somethings.


true story.

If it weren't so selfish to think that God made some things specifically for me, I'd say He definitely made the moon, the Psalms and llamas with me in mind.

They are what make exceedingly great joy and happiness completely bubble over inside of me, spontaneously... for no apparent reason.
I don't even understand it. But I'm glad for it. =)

I like to think of these moments as

a smile from God. 

Just a little something special between Him and me, to let me know He cares. Not because He has to, but because He wants to.
Of course, there isn't really any theology that I know of to back this up, but it's just one of those things in life where you think, "He didn't HAVE to do that, but He did anyway" =) and that just makes me bubble over with joy!

What special somethings does God smile on you with? think about it. He loves ya!

Friday, October 22, 2010

At the Right Time, Rejoice!

 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. 6For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.

Romans 5:1-6

This is all going to be in boring type, cause my computer is still acting up, and I don't want to give it anything too complicated to handle. 

So, over the weekend as I was away "Retreating", I meditated on these verses from Romans focusing on...

"We rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. More than that, 

because when we rejoice in our sufferings, not only are the characteristics listed in the passage produced, but the supernatural power of God is displayed all the more vividly. 

It's pretty easy to rejoice and say, "I trust God and His plan for my life" when we're all set up with a million dollar home, high-quality furnishings, great insurance, health and friends... 

But do we still trust, without a doubt, that God has a good and wonderful plan for our lives when we're

Do we trust? Do we Rejoice??
We should. Because His side of the equation isn't any different. it's one-hundred-percent perfect in EVERY situation.

I love verse 6 in the ESV translation, because it says, "while we were still weak AT THE RIGHT TIME Christ died for the ungodly". (emphasis mine)
You see, it may not have been at the time when the disciples were "ready" for Him to die, but it was the right time. It was God's time.

So I will rejoice in hope and be patient in tribulation, constantly communing with God in prayer, knowing that His timing for every event in my life is part of His purpose and plan for me. (Romans 12)

And I will rejoice in Him.

While I was still weak, Christ died for me!
While I am still weak, Christ lives for me!

And because He lives, I can face every trial and loss. 

My hope is in Him. And I will rejoice!

You, O People put your hope in the Lord
For with the Lord is faithful love
and redemption in abundance!
(Psalm 130)

Rejoice in the Lord always, 
I will say it again: Rejoice!
(Phil 4)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Early Christian Church Worship: hidden hymns

Been out for a while, I was on a retreat (I'll have some stuff to share from that posted soon) and then my computer wasn't working with me... but now we're back functioning in normal-ish life, so here are some more of my thoughts on life and God and Scripture...

I went to a Beth Moore Bible Study this evening, and was blown away by some knowledge: I had no Idea that early Christian Church Hymns were stuck into random books of Scripture. isn’t it awesome to think that Paul, while writing Timothy, broke out in chorus with,

 “He was manifested in the flesh, 
vindicated by the Spirit, 
seen by angels, 
proclaimed among the nations, 
believed on in the world, 
taken up in glory”
(1 Timothy 3:16)

...and Timothy probably broke out in chorus while reading the freshly scripted word of God?
I think that’s neat. 
There was sooo much I learned tonight, but I’ll just keep things simple and post a couple more of the New Testament passages that are supposed or known to be Early Church Hymns.
As you read these, imagine your spirit soaring with the fervor that the Early Church sang them with.
One day, maybe we’ll join in on the original version, language and melody with them in heaven. 
1 Timothy 6:15-16
"He who is the blessed and only  Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen"
Philippians 2:5-7
“[Christ Jesus] who, though he was in the form of God, did not consider equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess  that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

God's Word is SO refreshing for the soul. Reflect on these beautiful descriptions of Jesus. He IS truly the image of God, somehow wrapped in human flesh. Praise Him!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

World's Greatest Job

I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that I've got one of the best jobs in the entire universe.

I work as a preschool teacher which is a fun job by itself, BUT, my job is a little different than normal. See, I spend every day I'm at work teaching somewhere around 85 kids how to praise God... I mean,
how much better can it get than that?!?
Every day, I'm blessed by children lifting their voices up in praise, and sometimes I'm super blessed by a child who will come up and ask me a question about Jesus, or tell me how much they love the stories from the Bible.

It's such a wonderful gift, to be able to share my love for God with these kiddos.

To know that God's Word isn't returning void in their lives, but is like little seeds, waiting to grow up into beautiful gardens of life!

I recently went to a "family worship time" with the Steven Curtis Chapman family, who lost their young daughter, tragically, two years ago. She was five. I believe it was several weeks before her unexpected passing that she began to ask questions about Christ and salvation. These questions had been sparked by her preschool chapel teachers and probably her sunday school teachers and family members as well. Those questions led to her becoming a child of God. Nobody knew that several weeks later, She would be in His Arms, praising Him and resting in His loving care.

Her chapel teacher made a difference. And I pray and hope that I can too. That I can be a tool in God's hand, to bring these children to an understanding of Him and His Love.

Do you know His Love? His great love caused Him to send His Only Son to earth, to take the penalty for the wrong things we have done, so that one day we can be with Him, worshipping forever in Heaven, saved from a sentence to an eternity of suffering and punishment in Hell.
His Son DIED, in agony, so that I wouldn't have to. So that you wouldn't have to... if we choose to believe.

All have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God (Romans 3:23)

The wages of sin is DEATH but the free gift of God is ETERNAL LIFE through Jesus Christ, our Lord (Romans 6:23)

For God so loved the world, that He gave his only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:13)

These verses are only the beginning of wonderful promises and truths about salvation!
If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask me, either through facebook or email (if you have my info), or talk to your pastor, parents, or someone else you know who is a believer. We all want to answer any questions you have or help you find answers to help you understand the wonderful gift God has given.

If you are a believer already, let me encourage you to share your faith EVERY chance you get, as the Day draws nearer... and never think someone is too young, too stubborn, too lost or too worthless to understand this great gift of Salvation. 

He wants us all. He loves us all.

so yeah. all this to say. I've got the greatest job ever. What about you?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Confessions, Questions, Comments...

This is my prayer in the fire,
 in weakness, or trial, or pain. 
There is a faith proved
of more worth than gold, 
so refine me, Lord, through the flame.
-Desert Song
Okay, I’ll admit it... I’m kinda addicted to the Psalms.

Psalm 34:1
I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
Psalm 35:1 
Contend, O Lord with those who contend with me; fight against those who fight against me.
Psalm 35:10 
All my bones shall say, “O Lord, who is like You, delivering the poor from him who is too strong for him, the poor and needy from him who robs him?”
Psalm 37:5
Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him, and He will act.
Okay, so what do these few random favorite verses (out of, like a million favorites) have to do with each other today?
Well, my health has been under fire for quite some time now, and I feel like an annoying, broken record when people ask me how I’m feeling, because I always have some kind of illness. It gets in the way of activities. It gets in the way of commitments I’ve made. It makes me feel like I’m letting people down.
Confession: I feel pathetic
Question: Why can’t i just be healthy, happy and hunky-dory? 
Comment: Applying what I spoke of yesterday, I need to look up and out... Then I see that God is refining me. He is drawing me close to Him, so that I learn to ‘Bless Him at all times’ and so that when He ‘fights against those [things that] fight against me’ I can completely and wholly say “O Lord, Who is like you, delivering [me]?
Now, He has yet to completely rescue me from this trial, but I have committed my way to the Lord, I am trusting in Him. 
Since I believe that the Bible is the true, inerrant Word of God, when I read the words, “and He will act,” I know,

And so I wait, and bring praise before Him. 
For in the end, no weapon shall remain against me. 
I will be made anew, in a perfect, sinless form.
I will be whole.
I will be worshiping Him.
One day...
Oh, how I eagerly await that day. I look forward in great anticipation. 

Until then, as we are struggling with pain and trials, let me encourage you to commit your way to Him, trust in Him and He will act in your behalf.
Oh there are a million more verses I could share with you on this, but it might just do you some good to go digging around in the Scriptures yourself. Check out the Psalms. I Love ‘em!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Do You Get the Super-Thankful Butterflies?

Woke up at 4:45 and, well, so much for falling back to sleep... sometimes, once I’m awake, I’m awake. That’s how it is this morning. Honestly, I was excited about sleeping in today, because looking ahead at the week, i realize that it’s the only day I can possibly sleep in. 
1 Thessalonians 5:18- “give thanks in all circumstances...”
There are so many things that we are obviously thankful for: food, a place to live, family and friends, salvation... But what about the less obvious spots? Am I thankful when I feel disrespected? Am I thankful when I don’t get my way? Am I thankful when I have to give up something I love? Am I thankful when I don’t get to sleep as long as I wanted? Am I thankful always? hmm? HMMM? HMMMM?
The root of thankfulness is realizing how truly undeserving of any good thing that I am and yet, how much good has still been given to me. I deserve to burn in a lake of fire forever and the sooner I realize the magnitude of the grace bestowed upon me, the more thankful I’ll be in any situation.
I shouldn’t be allowing petty things of this world affect my attitudes, causing pendulum-type thankfulness. My responses shouldn’t be directly proportional to my feelings. 
I’m not saying that feelings shouldn’t weigh-in at all (even David mourned and danced), but seriously, God calls us to respond above our human nature. In 1 Peter 1, He calls us to “be holy as He is holy”, to go above and beyond the normal, so that He may be glorified. 
The easiest way to continually give thanks is to take the focus off of introversion (what i like, how i feel, what i want, what I “need”) and move it outward and upward (who God is, who I am in Christ, what He has done for me, what I can do for Him). 
all of a sudden, it seems like
There’s so much to be thankful for.
I’ll begin my day with a little bit of thankfulness that I’ve experienced already:
for the super neat gift of fish. I looooove my fish tank. I looooove watching these tiny creations of God go to and fro, eating the little granules I give them, chasing each other, talking with their reflections in the side walls. Seriously, my spirits rise, and joy bubbles up within me when I watch little fishies, reflecting the creativity of God. 

I don’t know why it happens... Certain things in this world just give me the super-thankful butterflies in my tummy. Like thinking about Christ, who conquered death for me(!!!). Like reading a passage in Scripture and realizing that it directly applies to something in my life. Like getting a hug from my mommy, and knowing that she really loves me.
I bet there are some unique things that give you the super-thankful butterflies too. 
And maybe, just maybe, by reflecting on the things we ARE thankful for, we’ll minimize the time we spend being ungrateful, and become more Christ-like as we answer the calling to give thanks in ALL circumstances.

oh dear, I'm a bit long-winded today. so sorry, for all two of you who are reading my posts!
 I pray you have a thankful day in the Lord!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Places you never thought you would...


"Oh God, You are my God;
Earnestly I seek you...
On my bed I remember You;
I think of You through the watches of the night"
Psalm 63:1, 6

I had a really neat night last night/ yesterday evening. I caught a stomach bug and was in bed for, like, 16 or more hours. Sounds fun, right?
Well, I'm not gonna go as far to say that it was fun, but it was refreshing for my spirit to talk with God as I drifted in and out of fitful sleep.
If you have ever requested prayer from me, last night you were thoroughly brought before the throne of grace.
I was reminded that even when I'm feeling awful, even when nothing is going as planned, God can still be praised, and my time can still be used for His glory.
So, next time you're bored or sick or sitting on a bus or riding on an airplane or eating lunch... whatever you're doing, wherever you are, lift your voice to God in prayer and praise (even if it's only inside your head!!!)
And watch Him work wonders in your life.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Blogging: Talented Only

I'm still not quite sure of my choice to begin a blog, but nevertheless, here I am!
Up till this point, in my mind, blogging was for two types of people. 
Number one: Gifted writers. Number two: the Wanna-bes... of which I am neither.
well, I think I was wrong.
I'm finding that there are many good and valid reasons that people create blogs. 
A friend recently asked me why don't I have a blog. I responded, "why would I?" but that got me thinking on the pros and cons of having a blog, and after a lot of thought, I decided I did have a reason to add to the "why people create blogs" list.
My reason? it's kinda basic, actually. 
I don't feel that I have anything particularly special, unique or impressive to share, but one of my favorite Scripture passages is from Psalm 145
1  I will exalt you, my God the King;
       I will praise your name for ever and ever.

 2 Every day I will praise you
       and extol your name for ever and ever.

 3 Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise;
       his greatness no one can fathom.

 4 One generation will commend your works to another;
       they will tell of your mighty acts.

 5 They will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty,
       and I will meditate on your wonderful works. 

 6 They will tell of the power of your awesome works,
       and I will proclaim your great deeds.

 7 They will celebrate your abundant goodness
       and joyfully sing of your righteousness.

Commending God's work in my life, praising Him, putting my focus on Him and hopefully helping to encourage others to look up to Him and praise Him, that's the main goal of my getting a blog.

I think in today's modern world, we spend so much time sharing links, photos, news articles and so on, but while getting caught up in those things, we neglect to share the wonders of God, the things He is using to grow us, the things he has blessed us with.

This is just an attempt to use what I've been given to proclaim the words of the Lord and point out His hand in my life. So we'll see... we'll see how it goes.