Saturday, February 26, 2011

Servants of God

We live in a culture that is always wanting more. Do you agree? Did you know that there is a thing called "update addicts"? They are people that have to get the newest phone. They have to, or so they think. I remember when the "razor" cellphone was hip and then blackberries and iPhone and ipads took over. Americans seem to constantly want. We also constantly "want" from God too. I do, at least. My prayers can easily sound like a list of requests. We often come to church just to see what we can get out of it. I once heard Beth Moore put it that we can be like beggars. We walk around with beggar cups asking people to fill us up, asking God to fill us up. We simply want to be entertained, comforted, pleased, and fulfilled. It's the "what can you do for me?" mentality.

I've been thinking a lot about being a servant. It's easy to choke on that word. Servant. We feel too good to be servants right? Cinderella was a servant. We need to go after happily ever after, like we're told, right?  Being a servant isn't usually at the top of life goals. There is in fact only one kind of servant that I'm willing to be, a servant of God. It seems weak and pitiful doesn't it? But I take a look around me at this selfish, "it's all about me" world and Jesus has shown me that there is a greater way for living. But everywhere around us, we are pushed to take care of ourselves and make sure that we are happy. I think that churches would be stronger, families would be better and that Christians would be closer if we would stop worrying about ourselves and become servants. Not just servants, but servants of the Most High. We can be the star of the show in something that doesn't matter, or we can take a piece of the role in a purpose that lasts. We're all servants of something. For some, it is popularity, for others it is work, etc. But it is a tragedy to spend our lives living for the wrong thing. I only want to serve what matters. Don't you? And the best part, is that the One I'm serving, served me in the greatest way. He gave His life for me. If we call Him our Lord, we should be willing to do whatever He asks. We as Christians, especially American Christians, need to stop trying to fill our cups. If we become sold out servants of the King, He'll provide our every need! It's easier said than done, but if we can grasp the concept of being Christians with servant hearts, we could change the world.

Romans 12:1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Rain, rain


I'm afraid I have nothing of any value to say, but let me assure you, these words are my thoughts:


February Rain

To be the mud, the bog, the mire;
To soak the bones in February –
Eons from the autumn shower–
Even from a summer berry!

The crying air was lost in rhythm:
Drums incessant in the drops;
Not a chance for rainbow prism –
Even if the hammering stops!

Still the clouds are hammering,
Hammering home their dreary aim –
A chatterbox in constant yammering,
Drenching all to make a claim.
Mark R Slaughter

We do need this rain, but I can't help but get a little spoiled to the beautiful weather we've had lately! Even on such a miry (in weather, or heart) day we can say:

Psalm 40:2-3

He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
   out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
   and gave me a firm place to stand. 
He put a new song in my mouth,
   a hymn of praise to our God.

Many will see and fear the LORD
   and put their trust in him.



If your heart feels gloomy and rainy like this day, cheer up and sing a new song on the solid rock! :)

Monday, February 21, 2011

My Daddy

My Daddy has been very busy lately with a big project, a dauntingly big project. A book. He has been working on writing a book entitled, Rite of Passage: Raising Christ-Centered Young Adults. Raising young adults is quite a topic and he has been writing with all of his power.

Even now as I'm typing this, I can hear Dad and Mom discussing the contents of the book. Mom has helped Dad tremendously with it, especially with the English. But right now they are surrounded with stacks of paper, pens and computers. He has typed and written and typed and written. Sometimes I'll throw in my "two cents" but I mostly just listen. It is so much to think about.

Not only has my Daddy been writing, but he has also Pastoring our church. And that is quite a responsibility. With all of this, it would be easy for him to put a hold on being a Daddy. It would be easy to neglect his family. But he doesn't and it honestly amazes me how much he still shows he cares. Yesterday for example, I was about to have a nervous breakdown, (not really, but I felt like it) about a ton of piano pieces I had to have ready by today. To make matter worse, a song had somehow been missed and I hadn't practiced it. Daddy was on the computer working and when I showed him all the pieces I had to have ready. I thought he would mumble, "I'm sorry" and I'd move on, but he stopped, grabbed my hand and bowed his head. He prayed for me. I'm not a crier, but at that moment, I got choked up. It was more than a prayer, but him showing me that he loves me and he cares. Today in piano went pretty well, by the way.

For the past week or so, he has put notes on Kandace's and my nightstands with Bible verses to read, that we would discuss later. He has played with Andrew and Clara too. He continues to show us that the book is not going to come before his family. I'm not saying all of this to put him on a pedestal, but to say that I do have the best Daddy. He is worth more than anything he could give me. I just had to share that. I love my Daddy! He is truly a reflection of my Heavenly Father.
I'm saying all of this and it's not even Father's Day! ;)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Time


Clara, Kandace, and myself on Easter 2006
I remember when I was little, adults would say, "The older I get, the faster time flies." I just smiled like a good little girl and thought, It seems like a hundred years between Christmas and my birthday! How can they think "time flies"? Well, now I'm starting to understand what they mean. It really seems like I was just 8 years old, when I got lost at Disney World or 11 when we started the adoption process to get Clara. I was little. I remember sitting at the kitchen table for hours with Daddy, doing math. I couldn't remember my multiplication tables to save my life. 4 x 8 was especially hard (Yes, I remember that). And I know then answer now, 32. I would promise myself that I would never do any math harder than division. That didn't work out, by the way. I remember when I was upset that I couldn't read chapter books and when I couldn't stand writing an essay (my how things change). I used to be terrified of the stage, any stage. When I was 10 or 11 I used to be mortified in a restaurant when the waitress brought me a cup with a LID on it. That was the worst nightmare, because I thought people still saw me as a kid. It seems like I was just little. But reality tells me that I am going to 17 in April.


My siblings and myself last summer
Can you believe that it is already the middle of February? Well, actually I can, it has been a cold winter. But really, Christmas wasn't so long ago, was it? Time moves on and there is absolutely nothing we can do to stop it. It's Friday, and most people like the weekend, but before you can blink, it will be Monday again. Sometimes I wish I could stop the clock and let those special days stretch out longer. The point is that we must use every day we have for Jesus. We have to remember each day and enjoy the time we have. I don't want to worry about being 18 before I've even gotten live 17. Each time I sing in the Praise Team at church, I try to remind myself that that is one less time I'll get to witness through music on that stage and I should give it my all. Every time we talk to a non-Christian and don't mention Jesus, time is slipping and we may be their only hope. I'm not trying to be negative, but we can't forget that we won't be here forever. Time ticks on, so we have to do all we can for the Kingdom of God. It is pointless to live our lives just for the relaxation we may get toward the end of it. I want to do the best where I'm at. If I'm writing, I want to write the best I can. If I'm singing, I want to try my hardest. If I'm playing basketball, (something I'm not too good at!) I would have to do my best, even if it isn't "my thing." Sometimes things aren't "our thing" in life, but we have to try because God could use that. We are doing a Passion Play at our church and there is a lot of acting involved. Well, I love to act, but I know there are some that are in it, could take it or leave it. They still choose to do their best, because it is an opportunity to serve Jesus in this very short life.

That was a rabbit track. But I'm glad I said that. These are my points, for all of you type "A" people. Hehe. Life is short. We have to live it for Jesus. In everything we do, whether we think it is "our thing" or not, we have to do our best where we are at. Jesus wants to use us if we could just get our minds off of worrying about tomorrow. Time is ticking and the Kingdom of God is coming.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Waters Parted

This is the story of one of the greatest miracles in the Bible. I hope you enjoy it though the eyes of a child.


The Waters Parted

I remember the howl of the wind outside my home that dark night. No moon shown across the dry land. Mama held me in her arms and sang in her smooth, low voice. She sang songs of deliverance. Songs of Hashem. Abba hummed harmony as he ran his rough hands over Eliam’s wooly hair. The shanty door creaked eerily. We waited and waited. Abba had told me that an angel was coming that night, an angel of death. My father had swiped the scarlet blood over the doorframe of our home just as Moses had ordered. The blood would be a sign to the angel that no firstborn would be taken from this home. All of neighbors had done as we had, with hope rising in our hearts. Would this be the end? How many horrible plagues must Hashem send before Pharaoh would let us go?

I closed my eyes when suddenly I heard it. The cry of the Egyptians is a sound I will never forget. The pitch sent a chill down my back. Mama jumped up as Abba scurried to the door. The anguished, deep groan of a mother after losing her child filled the night air. Mama squeezed me tightly as a tear ran down my face. The angel had taken what was his.

“It has passed,” Abba muttered. He turned to Mama and said with a slight smile etching his shadowed face, “Let us praise Hashem.”

A few hours later as the sky turned from deepest black to pale purple, the cry of the Egyptians still carried through the land. We heard a loud knock. Abba’s friend, Josiah, smiled at me as I led him inside. He seemed rushed and frantically looked for Abba.

“Jael, where’s your father? I must speak…Ah, there you are Caleb!”

Abba immerged from behind me putting a hand on my shoulder. “What is it?”

“Pharaoh has… well, he is setting us free! Oh, can you believe it, Jael?” He smiled into my shocked face.

“What? It is over?” Mama asked in disbelief as she walked in with Eliam on her hip.

“Yes!” Josiah nearly shouted out. “Pharaoh lost his firstborn son and can take no more. He called for Moses just a few hours ago. Moses has ordered that we must leave now. Gather what you need and prepare to leave immediately.” He grasped Abba’s hand and disappeared into the early morning.

I had never heard anything as joyful as the sound of the Israelites that dawn. The shouts of joy and anticipated gathering of belongings. My heart beat wildly as I helped Mama lift the last of our few possessions on the back of our donkey. I glanced at our poor abode for the last time. I couldn’t help the little twinge of sadness I felt. I knew our new home would be better, and belong to us. There would be no overseers lashing Abba’s back for not working as hard as they desired, and there wouldn’t be a lack of food. We would make no more bricks. I couldn’t imagine such a thing. All I had seen for the nine years of my life was the straw, mud and bricks and felt the oppression of the hot sun beating down upon my tired back, but there would be no more. After four-hundred years, Hashem had saved us.

“Jael, come now.” Mama pulled my hand, leading me away from the house.

The slave streets were packed. To the streaked horizon there was nothing but Israelites, thousands upon thousands of us. A lady beside me began singing in an elated voice and I joined in with her, letting my heart rise with the sweet words. My throat stung with tears as I rejoiced. Suddenly we had passed the slave quarters and were walking by the Egyptian homes. I gripped Mama’s arm and anxiously asked her if we should be there.

Mama’s thin face melted into a pearly smile. “Jael, we are free! We can go where we please! Isn’t it wonderful?”

It still seemed a little scary to me, so I hung onto her hand. As I watched the ornate homes, Egyptians opened their doors and watched us. Some of their faces were angry and others cried. The women began tossing gold and jewels into the street. Others around me fell to the ground gathering the jewelry. Mama and Abba didn’t gather any and walked on in silence.

“Mama, why don’t you want the any of the gold or jewels?” I asked as a lady offered her a handful of sparkling riches.

“I don’t need gold to bring me joy. Hashem has set us free and that is all I need,” she said.

We journeyed through the desert. Herds, flocks and humans followed the faint image of Moses and Aaron. The darkest cloud was leading Moses and guiding our path. After arriving at Succoth we went south. Far south. At night a glowing flame led us. It licked at the starry sky as Egypt and bondage disappeared behind us. We walked on and on. Finally, we ceased our travels to rest. I slipped off my sandals and massaged my weary feet as Mama served us the unleavened bread we had brought. It soothed my stomach and I fell into a deep sleep. I dreamed of a land flowing with milk and honey, the land of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

A day later, we were near the Red Sea. We had walked all day to see nothing but the yellow desert. We had stopped as the sun was making its descent and I was completing a few jobs for Mama. I began to feel the odd sensation of the ground shaking beneath my feet.

“What’s that sound, Mama?” I asked, beating the stubborn dust from a blanket.

Mama walked over to me as Abba stood from cleaning the donkey’s hooves. “I don’t know. It’ll be fine. Abba will find out.”

Those around us quickly heard and stopped their work, frantically asking what was happening. A few moments later, Abba and a few other men sprinted back from wherever they had been. As Abba’s tall frame approached, I could see his face was damp and his eyes fearful.

“They’re coming back. Pharaoh is leading an army of Egyptians to take us,” he heaved, shaking his head in disbelief.

Mama’s face broke my heart. I felt disappointment squeeze my throat. Tears immediately welled in my eyes, making her face a blur.

“Why, Caleb?” Mama breathed. Her hands balled into fists. “How could this happen? What has Moses said?”

“I don’t know. We are surrounded by the sea. We have nowhere to go…”

Abba’s deep voice broke. I put my arm around him, trying to give him any measure of peace I could. Mama covered her face. I looked around to see thousands of distraught and panicked people. As I looked beyond the mess, I saw the shimmering Red Sea. The sparkling waters seemed to laugh at us. Yet, I knew deep down in the depths of my heart that Hashem was in control, even if Pharaoh had never intended to set us free. Yahweh hadn’t led us out of slavery to bring us back there. He would provide a way.

We gathered together our things and stood wondering what to do. Eliam and the younger children played gaily, not realizing or understanding what was happening. Mama sang under her breath. Abba talked with a few other men in fervent tones. The sun left beautiful colors across the desert sky. As the light dwindled, so did our hope. Suddenly, the cloud before us turned into a fiery flame. It lit up the sky, reminding us that Hashem was still there. I wished that we could have taken off and soared away like birds, but there was nothing we could do.

“Look there!” Abba suddenly pointed off into the distance. What I saw made my blood boil. “Dust. It is certainly the Egyptians with their horses and chariots.”

“Abba, Hashem isn’t going to let them take us, is He?” I had asked, with my eyes set on the growing cloud.

“He has a plan. We will trust in Him.”

Thousands of us stood there waiting, dreading, and hoping. Parents held their children. We squinted our eyes as the first glimpse of the Egyptians were seen. I looked down for a moment, ringing my hands. I was trying to believe it wasn’t happening. I must have been looking down in a deep stupor for longer than a moment, because when I glanced up, the Egyptians were much closer, so close, I could almost see their furious faces.

Suddenly, a young man nearby shouted out with vigor. Anxious conversation rippled throughout the mass of people. I looked up to see the two barely visible men standing on a hill over the sea. I turned to the sound of Egyptians; their brash voices finally coming to our ears. The hundreds of chariots roared like thunder. Children began to cry, mothers were shaking with grief, but the father’s faces were the worst. So many Abba’s with clenched jaws and tears in their eyes. The hope that we were just growing accustomed to was being ripped from our hands.

The glowing flame before us swirled mightily. It left its place and danced over our heads. At first I thought it was leaving us; that Hashem was deserting us. It stopped in front of the Egyptians and lowered as a wall in front of them. Terror covered their faces and they halted to an abrupt stop. I had never felt such relief or been in such awe. We turned to see Moses lifting high his staff. What happened next still leaves me speechless. Wind whooshed around us. My hair swept onto my face. I could feel the spray of sea mist.  The shining sea was no longer calm but in a furry of waves. The water rocked and to my utter amazement, began to pull apart from where Moses stood. It seemed as though the very hand of Hashem was sweeping back the dark waters. I could begin to catch a glimpse of the sea floor. The water groaned and heaved as it stacked into two overwhelmingly massive walls. My heart pumped against my chest. I dared not take my eyes off of the wonder.

The sea had at last split, leaving a path. The people began to move toward the waters as Moses strode down the hill and between the walls. There were gasps and shouts of joy, but above it all were the shouts of the Egyptians behind us as they looked though their barrier in utter shock. We quickly grabbed our things without thought and followed into the waters. The murky walls raised so highly that my stomach rolled. We walked on all night as if in a dream. We couldn’t help but turn to see if the wall of fire still remained, and it did.

Daylight was welcomed as the last of the people came out of the other side of the sea. We climbed onto the shore and turned to look over the waters. The barrier of fire suddenly disappeared into a haze of smoke. Fear gripped my mind. Wouldn’t Hashem close the waters before they came? But the walls remained after the last of the Israelites had trudged up the sandy hill. The Egyptians rose dust along with the smoke as they stormed toward the sea. I squeezed Abba’s hand harder as at last the entire Egyptian army was in the midst of the dark waters. I remember thinking it seemed as though they were between the palms of Hashem. I let out a gasp as the waters suddenly made a churning sound. The walls suddenly collapsed on the army like bricks that had been stacked too high. It was as though Hashem had squashed them between his mighty hands. The sea groaned and swirled. The screams of the army were hardly audible. Shouts rose up from the people. Tears streamed down the faces of children and the old alike. I turned to Abba. I felt my face pull into a wide grin. Abba’s eyes pierced mine. I’ll never forget the words he spoke as he cupped my face with his hand.

“You have witnessed a miracle, child, a miracle of Hashem that will be told until the end of time. Yahweh has saved us.”

I turned from the sea. The cloud ahead seemed to be beckoning us to follow. Moses lifted high his staff. We were going home, home to the Promised Land.


*Hashem: the Hebrew word for The Name, since the Israelites would say Yahweh, rarely or not at all.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Love




Love. One of the most popular words in this world. A word and emotion that ties the world together. Have you watched TV lately? How many shows, commercials, or movies are about love? There are a ton. If there wasn't love, the music industy would be hurting too. We all love people and things. People desire to love. Tomorrow is Valentine's Day. The day of Love. I started thinking about love and I went and Googled the word. I got a plethora of examples of love. "I love chocolate", "I love my Dad", "I love the beach." We seem to love everything. But love is something with such a deep meaning. Yet we flippantly say it. I do at least. Kids tell their boyfriends or girlfriends that they "love" them. We tell people that we "love" a certain restauraunt and we say that we "love" God.

Humans need love. We like to be told that we are loved. How do we often greet others that we know? We hug them! 



We like to show love. God loves us. We hear this all the time. But really, He is Love. He loves in the most perfect form. It is never ending. We are made in His image, so we too crave love. There are obviously many forms of love. There is Agape love, which is brotherly love. Eros, that is the love between a man and woman. Philia, the love between friends or family. And then there is Storge, which is natural affection, like the love between a parent and his child. I say all of this to show you just how much there is to that simple word. 

But in thinking about Valentine's Day, I thought about the greatest act of love ever shown. The love that rescued us when we were going to a very bad place. We had done everything wrong and yet this Love reached out and chose to forgive. He even left the glory of His home on high to come here to the place He created. He didn't just come, He suffered and allowed Himself to be killed brutally. Then He rose from the dead. All of this for you and me because He loved us. He loves us. Have you thought lately about the fact that He didn't have to. But He did. Let's love others, but love Him more. Remember, that simple word is better revealed through our actions. Show Jesus your love this Valentine's Day.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

 


Friday, February 11, 2011

Opening Our Eyes to The World

Did you hear that Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian President, stepped down today after the army threatened to turn in their uniforms and join the protesters? Right at this very moment hundreds of thousands of people are celebrating in Egypt.


 



This whole Egypt ordeal has reminded me that the world is a crazy place sometimes. Riots, wars, poverty, confusion. We can't pretend these things aren't happening, because we live in the most powerful nation, at this point. America is not a "protected nation" just because it is America. Things can happen here too. I believe God has helped this nation over the last 200 hundred years because we were built on His Word and we have followed it for the most part. Things are changing though, all over the world. If you want to learn more about the changes leading to the rapture, I greatly encourage you check out a new blog a friend of mine started, http://disciple05rocketmail.blogspot.com/. Justin really enlightened me on all that is happening in the world, especially in Egypt.


The truth is, it will only get more difficult until Christ returns. I believe the Lord will be here before long! But regardless of how hard it may get or what happens, those saved by Jesus are God's children and we are always in His hands. Our destination is for sure and for certain.  Let these words sink into your heart. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33. Jesus has overcome the world! We don't have to fear.



Thursday, February 10, 2011

Winter Snow

Here is the song I sang at MPBC at Christmas. I know some of you have been asking for a video so I just got it recorded last night. I really love the song and the simple and beautiful truth that Jesus came like a winter snow. Quiet, soft and slow... to save us. I hope you enjoy, Winter Snow.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Readers are Leaders

As technology soars people spend more and more time playing and messing on screen devices. There are glossy flat screened TVs, Ipads, Iphones, Xboxes, and computers everywhere.                                      
                                      
They are so inviting and are fun and even useful, but suddenly the reading levels of children have dropped unbelievably and the use of these devices seem to be a large part of the reason. A Fox News article in 2007 revealed, “The lack of reading is the most important socio-economic issue in the United States today.”  It said that 72% percent of high school graduates were deemed by employers as “deficient” in reading and writing. Less than 50% of 9 year olds read more than 5 books a year, other than for school and 20% in high school.

There was a time in this nation when reading was common. People even enjoyed it. Many kids I talk to now laugh at reading and books as though they are outdated. I've seen several Facebook profiles that say in the "favorite books" section, "Seriously, who reads books??" How sad. I can honestly say where the majority of my learning has come from is reading. Even books that I chose, I learned from. I took a college class on Anaylzing Lit. and was mortified by all of the Old English and confusing poems, but once I dug deeper I actually enjoyed finding the meaning behind the formal, rich words. I was amazed that even something that I had considered "stuffy reading" could really capture the imagination.

A lot of adults have the philosophy of, "Okay, so lets just get kids reading something." So the most popular books, for boys especially, are extremely inappropriate. The titles alone indicate that! So even those who are reading tend to read junk. There are good books out there for kids. I absolutely loved the kid's "Left Behind" series by Jerry B. Jenkins and Tim LaHaye, when I was young. It was 40 fast paced books that were really quite unbelievablely awesome!

Why do I think reading is so important? Because it is proven that those who read, especially thought-provoking books, are more intelligent, and even well-mannered adults. Readers really are leaders. Reading stretches the brain like nothing else. A good book is better than any movie. You've seen a movie and heard someone say, "The book is better." Books have a way of pushing us. Kids have lost this in the fast-paced, thrilled culture. I love Facebook, but it can easily eat up hours of time. People don't know how it feels to have to imagine anything anymore. Sometimes we need to have to be patient for the climax of a book or have to really think about the story line. I love movies and TV shows, but they just don't require much brain power. Reading does. Lets get back to reading and thinking. It is worth it and is incredibly enjoyable.
                                                             

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Devil Doesn't Like Me

Have you ever had a time in your life when as a Christian you can sense Spiritual Warfare? There are demons and angels and they don't sit around all day. Demons goals are to distract humans from God. They try to keep the un-saved from ever becoming followers of Christ and the saved are constantly hounded on or are kept from doing their best for God by these Satan followers. Angels are sent by God to help His children and to be used for His purposes. There is a war, a literal war between these two forces. As Christians we are attacked and put down and tempted to sin. These demons don't make us sin, we are ultimately the ones who make the decision, but they poke and prod. Christians who really serve the Lord are targeted even worse. Satan hates it when we do something for the Kingdom of God. It infuriates him and he comes at us even harder. He doesn't want us to witness, he enjoys family disputes, and broken hearts. Those days that homes feel shattered are days that Satan likes. Satan doesn't bother those "Christians" who never do anything, because they don't cause any concern for him. He comes at those who are doing something that bothers him... something that makes Jesus known or praised. We shouldn't live in an overwhelming fear of Satan's tarets on us, but we should be aware. We have to pray for the Lord to send angels to fight on our behalf and on the behalf of lost family members. It is hard. There are days when I feel like Satan has thrown every disaster into my face and my family's. And being a family that is trying to serve the Lord and help others just makes that pressure worse. But God knows that and see that. He never gives us more than we can stand. But there is a War. In the end God wins, but the small battles are up to our prayers. We have the ear of God and He is willing to hear and help us. Even though there are days, weeks and months when Satan and his helpers see we are working and he comes hard. I'm not crazy, spiritual warfare is one of the most real things I've ever felt. There is evil. Don't be afraid of everything because of that knowledge, but be aware. And pray. Today feels like such a day that I should pray more. Angels will come to our rescue. We can't back down though. I can't. I'll just let the target on my back get larger. I am glad the Devil doesn't like me or suddenly seems to throw something in my face, it means I must be doing something for Jesus. And Jesus is a friend that will never leave. I'm willing to carry my cross though these temporary battles. Are you willing?


Ephesians 6:12-13  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

Friday, February 4, 2011

A Taste of Ethiopia

This video is a taste of Ethiopia. Ethiopia, it sounds like just another one of those far off places missionaries talk about, but it is more than just a place to me, it is land I love so very much with people that I call my family. People with hearts as big as the ocean. I can't wait to go back in November. This video brings tears to my eyes... The part with the Bibles is just... ah... you'll just have to watch.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Dating?

That special day when the bride wears white and she really is pure. The day when two become one for the first time. That amazing moment when you hear, "You may now kiss the bride." The wedding day.


From the youngest ages kids are talked to about the opposite sex. At four or five it's "Sweetie, do you have a boyfriend? You stay away from boys now, they have cooties!" About 12 or so, boys and girls are then told that the opposite sex are no longer yucky but quite good and they should "find one" to like. So kids try to search everywhere for someone to "like" and suddenly friends are making fun of them if they aren't hanging onto a guy's arm or if a guy, doesn't have a girl in tow. Kids are on a great mission to find a boyfriend or girlfriend and deep down they have no clue why. Moms and Dads give smiles and say how cute it is, but they too don't have an answer for why a 12 or 13 year old need to have that "special person." But everyone seems to, so that must be the way it is. By 14 the kids are dropped off at movie theaters or ball games to hang out with their boyfriend or girlfriend or if they don't have one to find one as soon as possible. They go from one to another. They cry in between. Friends are lost because of the ordeals and texts keep the problems in circulation. They claim undying love... for a while at least. Suddenly at about 16, girls and guys are usually in a "serious relationship" and all the little kids admire the "experienced daters." After all, they are really in love.  Depending upon college or life, it is all up in the air after that. The boyfriend or girlfriend might last, they may not. Sure, some get married to the person, others don't. But the dating game has finally twisted and tied you in knots so many times you're a little numb and you know how it feels to be kissed a thousands times by now. If that one was not the one then you go to college or get a job and wait until you are about 25 to try again.


Wow. Are you exhausted? What a mess. I am so glad I chose not to live that life from 5-now at least. But is this not the way it goes for so many children and teens? I am thankful the Lord shown me this is not the way to go. It tends to leave your heart torn and broken. I truly believe that the dating game is so dangerous. I want that wedding at the top of this post to be mine. When there are no regrets. I want to wear white and it be true. Kiss for the first time when God can smile upon it. It will be beautiful. I'm not afraid that I'll never "find that someone" because I don't have to find him, God knows who he is and will bring him to me and me to him. And I pray that my heart will be for him and all that is sacred for marriage will belong to us. These are my thoughts on dating and please understand that these are my thoughts, my parents aren't making me think this. They put the information out there, but I got to choose. But really, what is there to choose when all I see around are battered hearts and minds? These thoughts are so counter cultural, but they work and I know people who have made it through. People may look down on me or think that I'm weird, but that really won't matter when my heart is still intact on that special day.


If you feel it is too late for and you and you're a teenager, start now! Keep yourself pure from here on. It is so wonderful. Choose to wait, something we don't like to do, until God says it's time. And let's let little kids be little kids without the oppression of boyfriends and girlfriends. I'm still enjoying being single when I can serve God without hindrance. It is so very freeing.

Mundane

Today was Monday. Isn't Monday just your favorite day of the week? That was sarcastic. They are most certainly not mine. I woke up this morning to that most annoying alarm clock and had that quick negative thought we all sometimes have "I don't want to get up today." But I did. I put my feet on the icy floor and was reminded, like I am every morning, of how much I need a rug. I then walked down the same creaky steps I always walk down to practice the same piano I've had forever with the sticky "b" key. I went to piano lessons, ate at Chick-fil A (that was actually the highlight of the day :)), went the same old places I always go, studied in the same books, and am now sitting at this same old computer. I just lived Monday. We all, in fact, just lived January 31, 2011.


Life is like that. Most of our lives are spent in a routine of some sort. There are of course times when we go on trips, great vacations, or when there are troubles, but usually things ride the middle, at least they do for me. We can remember how blessed we are, like I mentioned in my last post, but it is hard to always be satisfied in the routine of everyday life. It is one of my greatest struggles. I am bad to ask my parents, "Are we doing anything exciting soon?" I know, I sound like a five year old. It's just that we as humans crave that feeling of excitement and joy.


My Daddy has been speaking on Heaven at MPBC the past four Sundays. Heaven. What do you first think of when you hear that word? (You may be wondering why I'm asking this. I'm coming to a point, hang on!) Do you think of Jesus? Clouds? Harps? Gold? Joy? We don't seem think about Heaven a lot, considering that if we are saved, we'll live there for all eternity. You may think about it, but I don't that much. I've been thinking about it more lately. I'm seeing that it is going to be more than clouds, harps, gold, and joy, but deeper and more beautiful and glorious than our feeble minds can imagine.


Life on earth is just a cycle. High mountains, plains and low valleys. It is never truly satisfying. Jesus is all that satisfies. Being in His presence ihere is just a taste of Heaven. As Christians we long for more of what we experience when in the presence of Almighty God. It will be Heaven when we can worship our Lord in perfectness. Mondays come and go and life passes by, but Heaven is coming. Something so great God has yet to show us. Then our hearts will truly be filled with unspeakable joy.


It reminds me of a fast tempo song we sing at my church:


Counting on God


I'm in a fight not physical
I'm in a war but not with this world
You are the light that's beautiful
I want more, I want all that's yours


Joy unspeakable that won't go away
Just enough strength to live for today
So I'll never have to worry what tomorrow will bring
Because my faith is on the Solid Rock
I'm Counting on God!


Heaven is coming and it will be worth living in the here and now. Don't grow tired of living the life God has set before you. The most wonderful accomplishments are often the ones we don't think matter.


*Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9*