Tuesday, July 28, 2009

sugar in the raw

this is gonna be a long one. the last time i blogged i was complaining about all the crap that seemed to be building up. it's true, my dad is still lost, my car may break down at any moment, and there are still some issues in other areas of life, but the Lord has been so faithful to reveal His goodness to me over the past couple of weeks. so here are a few packets of fair trade sugar to sweeten those lemons:
  • -Psalm 103. i can't stop reading it or getting away from the truths of it. please read it and savor the richness of this text!

  • -Sermons. i knew that during sweet times in my life, i listened to great sermons. so, during walks, cleaning, or just soaking up the much needed sun, i've been listening to grandpa john (acts and romans 9) as well as some david platt. God has truly anointed these men to teach Biblical truths to so many-praise God!

  • -Celebration. My "oldest" friend got married a little over a week ago. how incredible it was to celebrate this union in a Christ-honoring fashion and with those who have been my family for so many years. praise God!

  • -Singing Songs. Christ-centered worship can be so lacking so often in churches, but this summer, it has been such an honor to sing Christ-exalting songs. examples: praise to Jesus Christ in heaven, Jesus paid it all, come ye sinners, and crown Him with many crowns. praise God that he excepts songs as a sweet sacrifice!

  • -Off Campus. we had a our junior high VBS and, while i wasn't there every day, i was challenged by our "theme": follow me-Jesus' command to the whole world (or something to that extent). i was challenged as i listened to speakers and had to teach from scripture myself about what it means to follow this Jesus.

  • -Community. what a healing thing and a blessing to be a part of a Christ-centered community! to pray with them, to cry with them, to dance, laugh, and celebrate with them. these few weeks have felt more like church than i have ever experienced in my life. as we have bore one another's burdens and shared in each other's triumphs, we have gloried and rejoiced humbly in the mighty name of Jesus Christ.
these are a few of the ways that the Lord has chosen to reveal Himself in sweet ways. PRAISE HIM!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

whole basket of lemons

i feel like that's what i've got right now-a whole lot o' lemons and life is tastin' fairly sour. some of my current lemons include a VERY leaky car and a dad that doesn't seem to understand how unsafe i feel driving it, fox-like church drama that makes me super frustrated, having an awkward work schedule and not being able to visit my friends or my grandmother who is really starting to age, and trying to understand and put into practice this balance between grace and living in obedience.

these are my lemons and, right now, i'd trade this basket to be back at cbu taking a stinkin hard critical care test. but i'm supposed to be here. while i hate it so often because my circumstances distract me for the wonders of God around me, He has me here-at least for now. so some classic sayings (as well as countless scriptures) will get me through this rather sour summer; "whatever doesn't kill you will make you stronger" and "when life throws you lemons, make lemonade."

i will hopefully be bringing you some lemonade soon; i'm still trying to find the sugar to make this amount of sour juice sweet enough. obviously, the grace of Jesus Christ shown on the cross should make my heart leap for joy, but like i said, i'm distracted by these circumstances. so, in words of the redeemed paul, "But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

Sunday, July 5, 2009

where the heck!?

i can't believe it's july already; where did june go!? i look back and realize that june was spent coping with reverse culture shock, grieving the closeness of some friends for the summer while celebrating and catching up with others, turning down one amazing job opportunity in return for another, going to a conference with great people and being challenged by them and by godly words on sin, seeing the beauty of God's creation like i have never seen before, and reading three harry potter books, finishing the saga.

while it was a diverse month, (especially when one begins to talk about john piper and harry potter in the same sentence), i learned much from all of the above. the current chatper in my life is the same as it seems to have been for some time: what does it mean to live confident in the grace of our Lord Jesus and the sufficiency of the cross, but be obedient without being legalistic, diminishing the work done on the cross? the pastor at church quoted something famous today and i think it makes sense-"love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind, and live like you want." at first glance it doesn't make sense and even contradicts romans 6, but i would say that as we grow in love and devotion to this incredible God, we can do nothing but worship and obey him. living "as i like," is actually living to bring glory to the Lord through obedience and joy. theoretically, it's easy. practically, it's dang hard! i pray that God would consume my life, so that i may love Him wholey and serve Him out of more than duty, but love.

thanks for listening to the rambling once again.