Thursday, December 31, 2009

2010 'Lord willing's'

because the word 'resolution' smacks so much of self-motivation, self-direction, and self-determination (none of which i have), i won't be doing 'resolutions'. i haven't for years, actually, that i can remember. rather than trying to muster up the gumption to do things and then feel bad when i don't, i'm going to 'fix my eyes on the author and finisher of my faith', and let Him direct my steps.

but i have a few 'Lord willing's floating through my head as the new year approaches.

first off, Lord willing!, i will be ringing in the new year in harp and bowl (worship and prayer) playing piano at an event locally. then i will follow up the countdown by a few hours overnight of more prayer and worship with some people at a different location, as part of a 24 hour prayer effort. talk about a way to dedicate the coming year to God!!! i'm stoked....

a few 2010 Lord-willings:
  • an expensive, exhausting trip to see my counselor sometime this spring hopefully.
  • to read through the Bible this year ...or much of it (half of it is still a success! compared to barely scratching the surface)... probably using this plan/page from this site's many options.
  • find a smaller guitar that does not make my arm go numb when i play...
  • take my class 5 drivers exam (it's hard to believe i've had my novice license for 4 years already! time sure flies....)
  • to not place expectations on myself, and then beat myself up for failing!
um.... that's pretty much it. all i can think of, really. big aspirations, eh? lol.

but He has plans for me that are abundantly beyond what i can even imagine.... how much better is that than anything i could come up with!?!!! :D

#1 for my life, every year, is to grow in God. to know Him more. and, Lord willing, maybe this will even be the year i can go home to see Him!!!!! (i doubt it, but one can always hope!!! LOL)


Jesus is my Hero!!!!

"Every story has Christ as the ultimate hero. For example, don't read the story of David and Goliath and leave your devotional time "ready to face your giants." Realize that you are Israel in the story, not David. You are weak, powerless, cowering before your enemies of sin, Satan, and death, and you need an anointed King to defeat your enemies and cause you to rise up in hope and courage. Jesus is the true and better David, and he is the point of the story of David and Goliath." --JR Vassar (from here)

wow. i'd never seen that story in that light before... and it clicks. it's cool when that happens. it always seemed so stressful to 'live up' to david. don't wear armour that's not yours, etc. that's all cool and all... but this makes much more sense to me. i am the weak, powerless, cowering one.... and Jesus is my Hero!!!! :D


songs in the night

"Any man can sing in the day. When the cup is full, man draws inspiration from it. When wealth rolls in abundance around him, any man can praise the God who gives a plenteous harvest… The difficulty is for music to swell forth when no wind is stirring. It is easy to sing when we can read the notes by daylight; but he is skillful who sings when there is not a ray of light to read by -- who sings from the heart… Lay me upon the bed of languishing, and how shall I then chant God's high praises, unless He Himself give me the song? No, it is not in man's power to sing when all is adverse, unless an altar-coal shall touch his lip… Then, since our Maker gives 'songs in the night' (Job 35:10), let us wait upon Him for the music." --Charles Spurgeon


Friday, December 25, 2009

christmas memories

this has probably been the best christmas experience of my whole life.

beautiful sunrise. waking up to the smell of coffee perkin' and the phone ringing and sleepy kids coming alert to the realization 'santa' came!!!

hearing a 4 year old, after being told Jesus isn't a baby anymore, say determinedly, 'well i still love baby Jesus. and i always will!'

being accepted for who i am and knowing i didn't have to be someone i was not.

watched 'the nativity story' (2006). gotta buy it. it opened my eyes to a whole new depth of the christmas story....

gooooood food. didn't eat over much. but still ate more than usual, and my gut is stickin' out a full 6" further than it usually does. think i'll be gassy the next few days, hehe....

interestingly enough, i'm also incredibly exhausted. i went and just laid on my assigned bed at my friends' house a couple times, once for probably an hour. not sleepy enough to sleep, but too exhausted to focus, think, or sit upright.

and... someone was referred to me and they asked me to speak into their life tomorrow about God and suffering...... it's an honor i'm ill deserving of... pray for me!!!

i hope your christmas's were as awesome as mine..... MWAH~!


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

incredible story.... God glorified in tragedy <3


nothing burns...

... quite like being chastised for something you did not do. when someone completely misunderstands you and blasts you unjustly. especially when they do it publicly....


it happened a lot when i was a kid, so it stirs up a lot more pain than one event should normally bring up on it's own....


Wednesday, December 09, 2009

capable of being

Whatever else may be said of man, this one thing is clear: He is
not what he is capable of being.

-- G. K. Chesterton

thank You, Lord, for that truth!

granted, i do not know the context of this quote. and i believe it to be true, but not (i assume) in the manner it was intended.

i assume it is intended to mean that we've fallen far short of what we are capable of being in God's Kingdom. with that i would disagree: we are capable - outside of Christ - to only do evil and are slaves to sin and satan. so there is no 'capability' involved when it comes to meeting God's standards. that was the purpose of the Law - to tutor us to show us that we are definately not capable of that.

what i see is the flip side: because of God's restraining grace, i am not the evil beast i could be - what i am totally capable of becoming if left to myself (were God's restraining hand and sanctifying Presence not at work in my life).

....and for that i am thankful.

and i praise God that all the good things that He works in and through my life is from Him, to Him be all glory and praise, as there is no good thing in me aside from Him. :)

"and i am Yours... what does that make me?" :)


Saturday, December 05, 2009

struggling vs. suffering

this may be controversial, and some may take exception to it. please understand this is my personal distinction between the definitions of 'struggling' as opposed 'suffering'. to me, it's not 'just semantics'.

today i was discussing with a friend the difference in what people would call 'suffering' [--as it pertains to a Christian, only. (i am *not* including the lost, those without a Christian worldview, in this comparison -- because they have much to fear, existentially - eternally - speaking.)]

the question of the day: is it 'a struggle', or is it 'suffering'?

picture learning you have a life-threatening illness and are facing radical surgery, with all the unknown that entails for you and your family.... many would call that 'suffering'. but i would call it 'struggle'. no intention to minimize the pain, at all--a hardship, an affliction, an intense struggle to be sure!, but 'struggle', nonetheless. Jesus knowing that He would soon be whipped, nailed to a cross, bones broken, speared, and left, bleeding, to die. (huh? is she saying Jesus didn't suffer?! blasphemy!!! -- WAIT, keep reading...)

because what i would call 'suffering' is the kind of existential torment and desperation that drives a person to do extreme things, like drink a gallon of paint thinner or cut off their own body parts... or is demonically tormented with fears of eternal damnation for not having worked 'enough' to please God... endures extreme torture and emotional manipulation at the hands of evil men.... or is anxious with grief to the point of sweating blood, like Jesus knowing He would soon face being forsaken by His Father with the very WRATH of GOD being poured out on HIM for the sins of ALL MANKIND.

profound existential pain to the core of one's being. now *that's* what i would call SUFFERING.

(obviously, i believe Jesus' suffering was not in the crucifixion itself, but in what lay beyond that - the Cup of Wrath which He would be partaking of, shortly....)

(also obviously, the one does not exclude the other. just sayin'.)

so, hmm. for myself, i find this a helpful distinction. one that bathes an awful lot of our 'light and momentary afflictions' in a whole new light.... revealing them to be exactly that.

i guess to me, 'struggle' is situational/attitudinal, whereas 'suffering' is existential.


Wednesday, December 02, 2009

please God, be unfair... and be unfair to me!!!

bang on!!! love it!!!

matt chandler on "does God have two wills?"


more, Lord....

For Keller an idol is “anything more important to you than God, anything which absorbs your heart and imagination more than God, anything you seek to give you what only God can give.” Elaborating on the book’s title, Keller writes that a “counterfeit god is anything so central and essential to your life, that, should you lose it, your life would feel hardly worth living.” What does Keller have in mind? Well, everything: family, children, career, earning money, achievement, social status, relationships, beauty, brains, morality, political or social activism—even effective Christian ministry.
--Collin Hansen (here)

to be bluntly honest.... i struggle so much with feeling life is hardly worth living to begin with!! so this thought for me has to be turned around to... 'what i think i need to make life worth living is my idol'. hmm. i don't know.... my only ultimate answer is, "Jesus".

the 'food for thought' question in this weeks cell email was along the lines of, 'are you satisfied?', and the verses about 'come and buy' and 'the water I give you will never thirst'. and my immediate answer in my head? NO!!!! no i'm not satisfied! i'm hungry and i'm thirsty and need more. more OF HIM than i've been able to access in this life so far. which makes me yearn to leave this body and be present with Him - FINALLY. because while He is yet so close, He is still so FAR.....

there is nothing in this life that makes it worth living. there are things i hunger for, for sure: love and acceptance, for example. i also realize the only perfect fulfillment of that comes only from Him, and i will only perceive that perfectly in heaven.

what do i need to make this life seem worth living? more of HIM, NOW. it's not enough. it's never enough. more, Lord.

unfortunately, what always comes next after this thought is, "what do i need to DO to get more of Him?" and/or "so what am i doing wrong?". which reveals another longing in me, to be free from the requirement to DO.

i just want to BE.
with Him.

enough already.

the song that's popped into my head (for the first time in years)....


Outcast, Adopted.

THIS BLOG IS IN NEED OF AN OVERHAUL. there are posts from years back i would not be able to post in good conscience now. i plan to overhaul the blog, and either delete or add a disclaimer to those posts. but that is gonna take time....

The Radical Summons: "
Therefore let us go to Him outside the camp and bear the reproach He endured. For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come." Hebrews 13:13.

"The Spirit never loosens where the Word binds; the Spirit never justifies where the Word condemns; the Spirit never approves where the Word disapproves; the Spirit never blesses where the Word curses." —Thomas Brooks

‎"God receives none but those who are forsaken, restores health to none but those who are sick, gives sight to none but the blind, and life to none but the dead. He does not give saintliness to any but sinners, nor wisdom to any but fools. In short: He has mercy on none but the wretched and gives grace to none but those who are in disgrace. Therefore no arrogant saint, or just or wise man can be material for God, neither can he do the work of God, but he remains confined within his own work and makes of himself a fictitious, ostensible, false, and deceitful saint, that is, a hypocrite." --Martin Luther (W.A. 1.183ff)

i will not let You go: "Jacob's sense of his total debility and utter defeat is now the secret of his power with his friendly Vanquisher. God can overthrow all the prowess of the self-reliant, but He cannot resist the earnest entreaty of the helpless." --Albert Barnes

i will not let You go: "Jacob's determination did not flow from his strength, it flowed from his weakness." --Charles Leiter