17 February 2005

The Prayer of Jabez

And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying,
Oh that You would bless me indeed,
and enlarge my territory,
that Your hand would be with me,
and that You would keep me from evil,
that I may not cause pain!"
So God Granted him what he requested.

1 Chronicles 4:10


This has been on my desk for a while. I prayed this daily for a while, but have kind of forgotten the meaning of the prayer. I think I'm gonna start meditating on this.
Sorry, for such a short post, I haven't had much "free time" today and I'd like to get my daily Bible Reading done before I go to sleep....mmm...sleep.


Lord, Bless me-a lot! Take me places I've never been. Guide me to Your will and wipe the evil one out of my path. Use me to bring healing to others.


15 February 2005

Now what?

Show me the path where I should walk, O Lord;
point out the right road for me to follow.
Lead me by your truth and teach me,
for you are the God who saves me.
All day long I put my hope in you.
Psalm 25: 4, 5


I did it. I gave my boss my two weeks' notice today. I am part relieved and part nervous. When I got to work this morning, I thought I was going to throw-up. I knew that I couldn't wait all the way until 5 o'clock. It would make me even more sick. So, I told my boss. It went down pretty much as I wrote in my post yesterday. Although, right after, I went out to my car to cry for a couple of minutes. I'm not really sure why I cried, but it helped, I think.
My boss sent an e-mail to my co-workers with a vague explanation (approved by me), saying I was leaving to "pursue other endeavors." The responses ranged from, "Good Luck," to "Is it April Fools Day?" to "Can I have your phone number in case I have trouble with this spreadsheet?" to "Are you going to some far away land with your church?" To those who asked I basically told them this: I'm not sure exactly what I will be doing, I just have felt God telling me that I need to do something new, and to start that means leaving here. They were all pretty understanding, but shocked, except for my boss who seemed to sense this in the making. Weird.
My last day of work will be February 28th. I'm not sure it has all hit me yet. Honestly, I haven't even told my parents. I had mentioned that I was thinking about it to my mom last week, but haven't told her that I actually went through with it. I have this nagging voice that pipes in every once in a while, telling me I'm being irresponsible. But I know this is the most responsible I've ever been. I do, also, have a lot of people who are supporting me. And it's not over yet. Now, I'm waiting for God to tell me what's next.


So, God, What is next? Am I going somewhere? Is it a new job? Do you want me to build my PartyLite business? Right now, I'm just waiting for your sign. I know you will provide for me. I keep having these urges to sell my stuff, so are you preparing me to leave? I did what you asked-now what? I echo David's words, "Show me the path where I should walk, O Lord; point out the right road for me to follow," and let me see your directions clearly and not be afraid to follow them. You are my provider. You are my king. You are my savior.

14 February 2005


When You said, "Seek My face," my heart said to You, "Your face, O LORD, I shall seek." Psalm 27:8
Sure, my heart says that, but my mind likes to give me 'what ifs' and 'buts' and 'are you sures?'

So, tomorrow, I am going to do it. All signs are pointing me to quit my job. It is so scary. I am really comfortable there, but God never called us to be comfortable.
Here is how I envision the conversation with my boss (after the pleasantries):
me: I need to give you my two-weeks notice.
boss: Well, why? Is something wrong?
m: No. Honestly, the reason may seem rather strange to you. It is not because of anything here at work or even at home, but I feel God calling me to something different. And the really weird part is, I have no idea what that is yet.
b: Is there anything I can do to keep you here?
m: No, this is almost beyond my own will too. This is a very strange situation to be in. But I know I need to do it.
---I really don't know where the conversation might turn from here. And who knows if it will come out how I wrote it down. This is one of the scariest things I have ever done. I hate disappointing people, and logic would say that I really have no reason to do this. But I also hope that this will be a chance where I truly get to share my utter and complete faith in God. I think that the best time to discuss this with my boss will be around 5, because I think it will be good for all of us to have the evening to go over it. I don't know when she would consider telling my co-workers, etc... I am so scared. Please pray for me: for strength, courage, words, wisdom, all the tools I will need to do this tomorrow. Please pray for my boss and co-workers: for understanding.
Almighty God, Be my strength. Be my voice. Be my thoughts. Be my intentions. Be everything for me. I know that I should not be so scared. I know that you will provide for me, but I REALLY need you to speak for me, to move for me tomorrow. I don't have the strength and the courage to do it on my own. I know it is only through you that I live. Be my guide. Shelter me. Love me. I love You.

13 February 2005


But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.
John 4:23

"...Pray for God to transform casual inquirers into passionate worshipers....Pray that the Father would gather and grow a generation of full-hearted worshipers in our city" (Seek God for the City 2005: Prayers of Biblical Hope) This is from a devotional for Lent, that I just started.

Tonight at my church, we had a "Feast of Lights." A family from our church provided an excellent dinner and a karaoke night. It was great fun and interesting, to say the least. By the end of the evening the girls in my bible study (13-15 year olds) and I were groovin' (dancing) to the music. When I got home, I thought to myself, "If we can dance and giggle and just have a grand old time with all this secular music, what keeps us from doing the same with the songs that we sing to God?" Sure, I will lift my hands when I am moved. And I will close my eyes and whatever, and at Kids Camps I will even jump around and do hand motions, but I know I am urged to do more. I should be worshipping with my whole body. I know there are times when I just feel like I should spin around in circles or move to the music, or even get on my knees or just fall face down before Him, but I don't. Why not? I think there are many reasons. Here are a few:
  • Nobody else is doing it, I'm going to stand out and may even look stupid.
  • I've never done it before, it is unfamiliar to me.

Whatever the reason, what I really need to do, is get over it, and let God lead me to Him.


Lord, God, I pray that you would take away the thoughts of possible embarrassment, and unfamiliarity, and just lead me to a place of pure and honest worship with you. Let me not be concerned with others thoughts but of your glory. I "rock out" in my car, but let me be undone at ALL times in front of you. And I pray Lord, that I would not do such things so that others might think I am Holy, but so that you are praised and glorified and worshiped. You alone are worthy of our worship. I love you, God.


11 February 2005

Empty Promises

Acts 18:19-21
They landed in Ephesus where Priscilla and Aquila got off and stayed. Paul left the ship briefly to go to the meeting place and preach to the Jews. They wanted him to stay longer, but he couldn't. But after saying good bye, he promised, "I'll be back, God willing."


How many people have I said I would come visit again and it hasn't happened (yet)? When I went to Mexico last year, I told the friends I made at the church there, that I promised I would return. And I've tried, but I haven't been back (yet). I've realized that I, personally, was assuring them of my return. I can't do that. Even though I try and try and try, I can't control my own life. God has the control. I need to learn to accept it.
I think Paul expressed his want to return, perfectly, to his new friends. "I'll be back" = His own personal connection and desire to return to them. "God willing" = But only if God desires it to be so.
In many things, I have learned that I can't make a promise that I can't be sure I will keep. But in these times where I am extremely passionate about something, I will tell them "I promise." I can't make the promise. I can promise that I will live my life according to God's will, but even then sometimes I stray from that promise. I am learning, when I pray, to request what I want, but then say "Your will be done." Sometimes I have to repeat it, to remind myself that God knows best. He can see much further down my path of life and only He knows why one choice may be better than the other. Even though, sometimes, it is hard for me to understand.
Paul's simple promise, delivered to the people of Ephesus, achieved two things: it let them know he cared enough to return & it let them and God know, that he honored God's will for his life. It is such an easy solution.


Lord, I make promises all the time. But they are all empty if it is not in your will. I desire to do your will. And, Lord, you know that each day, grows more faith inside of me. I feel it building, Lord. I know you have amazing things in store for me. I wish I could see it. It would make the trusting easier, but your will be done, not mine. You know better. You always have. Please continue to show me each step as I need to know it, Lord. Make me bold. Make me worthy of your calling. Call me, Lord. And open my ears and my eyes and my heart that I might truly recognize your calling. May your will always be done in and through me. I pray this in Jesus' name,

10 February 2005


I have this insane urge to post everyday, but today has been very full and I haven't had much time to really create a "regular" post, so you will just have to take what you can get.
My mom and I started my sister's wedding album tonight (she got married last August), so maybe it will be done by the end of the year...maybe sooner...you never know.
I did get a chance to do my daily Bible reading. And I have to say that what Thomas wrote about today really stuck out to me as well. "An unknown God." It kind of makes me think of the people who say, "I believe in a 'greater power,' but I don't really believe in your God thing." The thing is they are getting there.
My fast is going...well. I haven't noticed any significant changes, yet. I am doing my best to talk and, more importantly, listen to God. Not much to report really. (Maybe He's reminding me to be patient...) Also, it hasn't really been a struggle--I do recall that the one time I fasted from food (30 Hour Famine), the beginning was pretty easy, it was the last few hours when I was really tempted. Those little communion wafers were looking REAL good with only two hours left.
Well, I need to get some shut eye. I'll see most of you tomorrow night, I guess. Sorry, to those of you who don't speak French...the dates are French because I like it. Good night and thanks for checkin in on me.

09 February 2005

A New Recipe

Can you think of a time when you were trying out a new recipe and were trying to get it JUST right? First you check to make sure that you have all of the ingredients. And then you get out all the measuring instruments, and pots and pans that you need and you get to work. Trying hard to follow the instructions exactly: t. means teaspoon, and T means tablespoon, right? Is it Powdered sugar or confectioners sugar? Are they the same? Did I skip a step? When do I turn on the oven? What does "folding mean?" How much is a "dash?"What if I don't have enough eggs? I think you probably get the picture. It takes a lot of effort for that recipe. And if you like it, or learn to toy with recipe, you can eventually make it without thinking about it at all. And you "eyeball" all the measurements. And eventually you couldn't explain how to make it to anybody.
In Leviticus 9, Aaron and his sons offer the first sacrifices as God revealed the methods to Moses. I kind of picture this situation as though they are testing a new recipe. They start one part, but then have to go back and look at the directions. I can imagine these first sacrifices took a LONG time. I wonder if that is how it was. The only part that is different between Aaron and the scenario above, is that there is no room for error. God, plainly told them that it must be done as He said. And I can imagine that as the days and weeks and months went by, Aaron and his sons began to get really practiced at this sacrificing thing. They all knew their part, and probably worked really well together-probably. (Like a well-oiled machine....?) And as the years went by, I wonder if it became monotonous to them. I wonder if they ever said, "Man, I wish I could have been a shepherd." or, "why couldn't we have been called to be weavers?" God determined their destiny for generations to come. Whoa!!!
Do I follow the same path in my sacrifices? Did I start out kind of looking around the "kitchen" for something to give to God, not really sure where it was all headed, but REALLY hoping it would be good? Then do I begin giving more to god because that first time wasn't so bad? I think I probably messed around with the recipe sometimes: God, I'll give you this, but let me hang on to part of it for you. I think I even got to a point where it became all too common. That I would "give" stuff to God, because that's what you're supposed to do. In truth, I was holding on to it, but telling God I would give it to Him. I want to be in a place where I can give everything I have to God. Trust Him. And never ask for it back. I don't know if that will all happen at once or if I will give up "my" possessions and will one at a time. But I desire for it to happen.


Lord, I wish you could just come in and steal all of my stuff one day. I think that would be easier than my willingly giving it to you. But that's not what you ask for. Help me to be at a place where I can trust in you with ALL my heart. That I can trust in your provisions. That I would quit depending on myself and others. We are nowhere near as dependable as You. Bring me to that place. Use whatever means necessary. (Be careful what you pray for, Liz...) I trust you, Lord, to guide me.

08 February 2005

Mardi Gras: Fat Tuesday

Today is Mardi Gras. It's basically a pagan holiday as far as I know. The way they celebrate it in New Orleans is enough of an example for that. The Tuesday before Ash Wednesday (the beginning of Lent-the 40 days leading up to Easter). I can't tell you all of the specifics of this time, but one part that I have partaken in is fasting. About four years ago, two catholic friends of mine were discussing what they were giving up (fasting from) for Lent. It is something they are (basically) required to do. Now I have always been intrigued by the traditions and rituals of Catholics, but I can also see that it can become very mundane and insignificant if you don't approach it with the right spirit. That year (2001), I decided to join them in their fasting, and I committed to give up secular music. In that first year, I generally replaced that time I would spend listening to the secular music with Christian music-which, in a way, achieved the effect that a fast should have. Fasting should be a process in which you grow closer to God.
In 2002, I gave up television for Lent, and did not miss it at all. The time I spent away from the TV, allowed me more time to spend with God.
In 2003, I gave up fast food. It ended up being a lot easier than I expected because I spent most of Lent in Europe, and it would be silly to travel all the way to Europe and have McDonalds. I'm not sure what specifically to attribute to this, but I grew a lot closer to God during that trip. And we even spent the last day of Lent (Easter) at the Catholic Capitol of the world. We were at St Peters Square at the Vatican for Easter Mass.
Last year, I struggled over what to give up for Lent. I thought about many things and settled on chocolate. It was hard. It is a great luxury and I never realized how often it entered my life. I had to cut out all my Hot Chocolates when people in my department at work went on Starbucks runs, and I even helped make a special dinner with a friend which culminated with scrumptious cheesecake with chocolate drizzled ALL over it. I resisted. It was a great time to test my self-control. I'm not sure how it improved my relationship with Jesus, but self-control IS one of the Fruits of the Spirit.
On to this year: I only made a final decision two days ago on what I will fast on this year. I wanted to make sure that by fasting from it, I would be replacing the time and energy I spent on it, by spend time and energy with God. I thought about fast food (again), but that is more of a dietary thing right now. I considered chocolate again, but it isn't as prevalent in my life. I considered TV, but I already limited my TV watching hours for other reasons. Another possibility I entertained, was my job. I could give up my job (and I was only half joking).
In the car the other day, this item came to mind: music. I LOVE music, but is it currently drawing me closer to God? In at least the past week, I have found my self listening to the music, but not hearing. Singing the songs but not really being aware of what I was saying. It's funny, because that is one of the things I noticed I did with secular music. And now, with Christian music, I know all the words and I sing them really loud, but I'm not really hearing them.
So, this year, for Lent, I am giving up my radio and my CD's. I narrowed it to this for three reasons:
1. I can't turn off the radio at work (unfortunately).
2. I will not walk out of a worship service, when the music starts.
3. I pray that God will bring new songs to my heart.
This is huge for me. How will I fill those long drives of silence? When I gave up secular music, I replaced it with Christian music. This time I am going to replace it with time talking with God. I keep asking for the Lord to speak to me, and then I turn up the radio. Maybe I will finally be able to hear Him when I get rid of the noise.
I also expect this fast to accomplish the following: a renewed joy in the songs of the Lord. "Absence makes the heart grow fonder," right? I think the songs I do sing will resound more fully in me, if I am not surrounded by them all the time.
So, tonight, when I got home, I turned off the radio in my car (which is a BIG thing, because with my radio, you never know if it will turn back on). I'm looking forward to 40 days of getting to know God better and listening to Him and being blessed with new songs to Him.


Lord, you know my heart. Give me the strength and the stamina to complete this task. Let me be joyful in my fast. Let me hear you. Let the music fade and you become bright and new to me. Lord, God, I know you will use this time to speak new words to me. To teach me. To mold me in your image. Give me the will to be open to your direction. Lord, I look forward to this time with you. Be my guide. Be my refuge. Be my all in all. I love you, Lord.

07 February 2005


So, I was reading some in Leviticus today, and if you've never had the pleasure, might I inform you that you could just about read one paragraph and then re-read it over and over again and get the jist. You just have to insert new words here and there.
And now that I have just slammed the book, let me tell you what it taught me today. It was explaining all the rules for sacrificial offerings in the Old Testament Times. Where and when and how you sacrifice what to atone for what, or to thank God for what. By the time I got to the end of my reading today, I was thinking two things:
  1. If I lived in Old Testament Times:
  • a. I would NEVER leave the altar. Every sin must be counted and atoned.
  • b. I wouldn't have any livestock, grain, birds, money left. Every sin must be counted and atoned.

2. What if I offered similar sacrifices today (when I sin)?

  • Regarding my point number 1 - It's not that I'm the ultimate sinner, it's easy to sin without noticing right away. One thing you could atone for (in th O.T.) is making oaths-I'm sure I do this all the time.
  • Regarding point number 2 - At first I thought, "Wow, that could be a really practical way for me to say I'm sorry for my sins. I could give the church money every time." While I don't think that they would complain, I soon realized, "Duh!!! That is one of the things Jesus Christ came to release us from." Our sacrificial offerings were all made through the body and blood of Jesus. He already atoned for our sins. The simple thing He asks for in exchange is our life: our comitment to follow Him and a friendship and love above all friends and love.
    So, even though I've committed to that, somewhere inside me I have this need to make good on the bad things I've done, the sin. Although he has erased it forever, I can't get it out of my head. I can't believe that it could be that simple.
    I think of a song (that I love) in which the lyrics say "And I'll never know how much it costs, to see my sins upon the cross. " It's true. I'll never know. I can only notice my sins here and there. I will never recognize what it would be like to have all of them at once tormenting me. Replaying each one in my head. But not only did Jesus carry ALL my sins (past, present, future), He carried ALL the sins of ALL people EVERYwhere and in EVERY time period that was and is and is to come. It is unimaginable. And unbelievable. And truly magnificent. I should remind myself every day that God came to this earth, became man, and died so that I could live forever with Him. I consider the sacrifice He made to be so huge, "huge" can't even describe it. It is beyond comprehension. And He offers it to me at such a dramatic markdown. He values my one life more than I can know. Whoa!


Thank you Lord, for loving me so much that you gave your own son as a sacrifice for me. So that little ol' me could live. And I thank you for reminding me of this sacrifice today. Thank you for the reminder that my sins were erased long before I was even born. I love to wonder at you Lord. Continue to guide me. Give me the courage and the will to tell everybody what you've done for me and that the offer still stands. That you want to give it to them as well. I pray your blessing and direction in my life and the lives of my friends and family and all around me. I love you Lord.


06 February 2005

What's in a name?

I'd like to ask you, my blogging community, for a little bit of help. We are in the midst of renovating our youth program at our church and in that process are seeking a new name for our youth group. Please offer your suggestions. And comment on them and eachother's suggestions. I would like to bring some to the youth and the youth leaders to choose from.

Our previous names have been
R.O.C.K. (Righteous Offspring of Christ the King)
R.I.O.T. (Righteous Invasion of Truth)

I, personally, feel like we should sway away from acronyms as we want the youth group to look and feel completely different than it was in the past, but I am open to hear anything.

Please, if you feel led, post a link to this post on your blog. Your help is greatly appreciated!

"Lord, what do you want me to do?"

Acts 9:3-9 (NKJV)
As he (Saul) journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?"
And he said, "Who are you Lord?"
Then the Lord said, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads."
So he, trembling and astonished, said, "Lord, what do You want me to do?"
Then the Lord said to him, "Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do."
And the men who journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice but seeing no one. Then Saul arose from the ground, and when his eyes were opened he saw no one. But they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. And he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank.

I read this last week, and was in awe of Saul's conversion, but I didn't get it. My pastor taught on this passage this morning and the words just shot into me. The lightbulb went on, I got what God was trying to tell me right now.
I have spoken nearly the same words as Saul-"Lord, what do you want me to do?" And I've gotten nearly the same answer-"Go. I will show you." But I don't like to walk blindly into a situation, so I keep asking God for more and more information. "But what specifically do you want me to do?" And basically he tells me not to worry about it.
This morning, I learned that it isn't just because Jesus wants to keep us all in suspense, but he gives instructions one step at a time, so that we don't freak out. If Saul (who became Paul) knew about all the persecution he would receive, all the walking he would do, and the responsibility that comes along with being a disciple of God, do you think he would have walked into that city that day, and waited for further instructions? God knew how much Saul needed to know at that point, and that's all He told him. It only makes sense that He does the same for me. So, why do I keep pestering Him? Perhaps, if I knew what was to come, I would be less willing. Honestly, that scares me a lot. The unknown. I like to say that I love a surprise, but this type of surprise totally freaks me out.
There is another situation where God didn't show the entire picture to one of His disciples. It's in Acts, Chapter 12. When Peter is imprisoned, and God released the shackles from Peter and he walks right out the front door of the prison. Peter thinks he is dreaming. God allowed him to think that way because, perhaps, if Peter knew it was real, he might say something like, "Lord, are you sure this is a good idea? They already despise us and claim that we are lawbreakers. Maybe I should just stay here. If they caught me again, the punishment would surely be worse." But God, knew that in a dream Peter would be willing to follow the angel and leave the prison, just as He had planned. He didn't know where he was going, or what was next, but he followed. I have to remember that God does this stuff for our own good. So, again, why do I keep asking for more specifics? He has promised to always provide for me. He tells me, "For I know the plans I have for you. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope." (Jer. 29:11) Why, when He has never forsaken me, do I choose not to trust Him? I don't know. For now, I will make the biggest effort possible to trust in Him, to follow Him, and to stop asking, "But after I do that, then what?"
This morning our pastor asked those who heard God calling them to go, to come to the altar and tell Him (God). I went. I got up there and shoved my head as far down as possible and said, "God, I want to follow you, but I am SO scared. I know that others who followed you, suffered much in this world, but I also know that they have received a gift that we cannot even comprehend, by your grace, and your body, and your blood." And I kept saying, "I'm scared. I want to follow you. Help me. Give me strength." I was literally sobbing. I don't think I have ever cried like that when talking to God. I truly am scared, but I'm willing.
Lord God, I AM SCARED. But more importantly, I am willing. I KNOW that you will protect me. And even if I don't know the destination, you will guide me. PLEASE show me where you want me to be. And keep my tongue from asking more than I need to know. Strengthen me, so that I might be strong enough to go and go and go until you tell me to go somewhere else. I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth. I love you Lord.

Footnote: I'd like to remind whoever is in charge of tissues, to remember that the altars should ALWAYS be fully stocked. Thank You.

04 February 2005

I don't know.

Lord, where do you want me to go? I hear you say, “Go.” And I say, “Okay.” But then I have to go and ask, “Where?” And you say, “I will show you.” And I say, “When?” And you say, “Now.” And I say, “I don’t know if I can.” And you, ever faithful, say, “You can’t. But I will show you the way. I will be your guide. I will give you the strength. I will provide for you.” I’m not sure what you mean, Lord, but I want to trust you and follow you whole-heartedly. Be my guide. Be my fortress. Let me not turn back. Give me strength for whatever you have in store for me today and always. I’m scared of the unknown, but I know you, Lord, and I want Your will.

03 February 2005

Who gets the credit?

First of all, I would like to ask for prayers. I made a Worker's Comp claim today, because I have had pain in my neck, shoulders and arms due to repetitive movement and a work station that is very poorly set-up ergonomically speaking. I went to see a doctor and he prescribed Ibuprofen three-times a day and told me to take the rest of the week off work, to relieve the tension. I had been finding myself asking God to take away the pain that I had, but I didn't feel like I really got an answer. So, last night, as I was trying to go to sleep, and the pain was still there, I decided that I was finally going to tell my boss. I've already seen several co-workers wait a long time and then the injury got so bad that they couldn't work. (One has been on disability for over a year now and still has pain). I wasn't going to let my pain get that far. So, I went it and told my supervisor, that I'd been having pain...I told her "I'm having aches and pains that 23-year-olds just shouldn't have." She referred me to our Human Resources person, who submitted a workmen's comp claim. Please pray for me as I take this weekend to rest...and rejuvenate. At the doctor's office I realized that maybe it wasn't in God's plan for the pain to go away in a flash...maybe he is using medicine to alleviate it, and maybe he is using this time off to force me to take some Sabbath time.

Waiting to see the doctor, I did have the time to do my daily reading, and to react to some of it.

Here it is:

The minute Peter came through the door, Cornelius was up on his feet greeting him-and then down on his face worshiping him! Peter pulled him up and said, "None of that-I am a man and only a man no different from you."
Acts 10: 25, 26

So, what would I do in Peter's place? Would I say, "No. Get up! You are being ridiculous! There is absolutely no reason to worship me." Or would I let my want of attention get the better of me and say, "Oh, I know...I am the greatest, aren't I?" I am afraid, in reality, I would probably be somewhere in the middle (isn't that always how it is?).
Remember in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory when one of the kids (I forget which) is doing something stupid, and selfish, and Willy Wonka says "No....don't....stop..." Or something to that effect. He kind of says it because he has to, but it is totally obvious that he doesn't mean it. I'm afraid that is where I would probably be. I would understand that I don't deserve the praise, but I would feel so validated or encouraged to hear it. I crave the attention. I would forget that God calls us to live humbly and to give Him all the glory. I expect that even if I wasn't outwardly expressing joy in the attention, inwardly I would be overjoyed to receive it.
I need to remember that even in the small things, I should recognize God's work. That gorgeous photograph that I took-wrong! It was God. The kind work I offered that encouraged a friend-not me! God. The hilarious joke I told, and everyone laughed (okay three...two people laughed) - that wasn't me either. Guess who? God. I need to remember to give Him the glory in EVERYTHING!

Lord, you alone make everything right-everything better-everything I do is because of you. Remind me to give you the glory-and don't let it be half-hearted when I do. I thank you for the abilities you have entrusted in me. Let me always give you your due credit.

02 February 2005

On the outside looking in-what do they see?

So, I just saw something kind of disturbing. I caught part of a TV show tonight, that really got me thinking, "how do I want others to view me?" A little bit of background on the show:
Jack-oldest of two, raised by an atheist single mother, currently has a hurt leg, broken or something.
Missy-Pastor's daughter, head cheerleader, etc
Jack & Missy are dating. And they are juniors in high school. Missy dated this guy Randy over the summer, while Jack & Missy are broken up. Something like that.
In the episode they arrive at a party. The first thing Missy says is "Oh, look at Tina (I don't remember the name she said). Some people should just NOT wear ponchos." Jack responds, "Missy!" Missy says something to the effect of, "Well, it's true-she looks like a tent."
About 30 seconds later, they walk up to Randy, who is throwing a party. Randy offers Jack a jello-shot, and then in the next 10 seconds, tells him he's praying for him and tells him "the Big Guy" can do some pretty amazing stuff. You can just see the wheels spinning in Jack's head. You know he is saying to himself, "What a load of crap, this God-thing is...These people are rude, immoral, hypocrites. Why would I want anything to do with them.?"
I look at that picture, and wonder, what kind of witness was I in high school? What kind of witness am I now. And then there is two sides to this spectrum: There are those who look at Christians and see annoying hypocrites, and think "why would I want to hang out with, much less believe the same things as those hurtful hypocrites?" And then there is the other end of the spectrum, that says, "I just want to have fun, do what I want. I'm not going to let a big old fat book and some old dude on Sunday tell me what to do. I want to have my cake and drink some brew?" So who am I to compete with that? What's a girl to do? What does God want me to look like? And how do I get there? Anybody else got any thoughts?
Father God, Be my guide. Mold me into your image. Let my life be inviting to others, but let me not be persuaded by the ways of this world. Amen

Psalm 16:3

And to the saints who are on the earth,
they are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight.

As for the saints who are in the land,
they are the glorious ones in whom is all my delight.

The godly people in the land are my true heroes!
I take pleasure in them!

The Message:
And these God-chosen lives all around---
what splendid friends they make!


I had also include a Spanish version (just for good measure), but accidentally cleared the screen and decided to omit it for expedience. Let me know if you would like it and I'll post it tomorrow or something.
Now, on to what I wanted to say...No matter how you cut it (or translate it) I agree with David. The saints, the godly, the "God-chosen" are definitely my heroes. Recently, I went through a time when I was nearly always surrounded by people, yet I felt completely alone. My two best friends lived hours away and the people I saw at work on a day-to-day basis were just not at the same place in life as me--and there weren't many Christians either. Most of the Christians I saw on a regular basis were under 17 or over 40. They are wonderful, but I just felt like I didn't have the opportunity to relate to people my age who were "on the same page" as me. So, I prayed. And I asked people around me to pray, and I asked my two best friends to pray. And guess what? God answered our prayers. Within a very short period of time I was invited to three different groups of like-minded, near-my-age, Christians. One was a college group (and I kind of feel like I'm beyond that part of my life-for now-but I know the girls involved and the leader and I was really excited about it) and I never attended =(; I don't remember the second group (but I know there were three); and the third was Tribe (for those of you who don't know what it is, it is a Career Group with members from Hope Chapel in Santa Rosa). Jana, who at the time, I had known for maybe two or three weeks, invited me to come-so I did! I felt like a ton of bricks had just come off me. I was so thrilled to have people to share with; People who would uplift me; And people who visibly and audibly loved God! Initially, I thought Jana was the answer to my prayer (and she was), but she moved to Nicaragua a couple of months after we met. So, it turns out, that she was intended to lead me to this group of people. They truly are my heroes, and they do make "splendid friends." I am so blessed to be around them. I really do feel like I am a part of a tribe. And I am so glad that God answers prayer!!!


God, Thank you for always answering my prayers. I know that sometimes I think you are done and you're not. And sometimes I forget to ask, and you remind me. Lord, I thank you for the people that you have surrounded me with. You know when I need to be alone, Lord, and you know when I need someone with me. Thanks for the reminders on how to live life, and the encouragement that I receive from them. Lord, I pray that I might also be an encouragement to them. And perhaps even an answer to someone else's prayers. Lord, as I am reminded of her, please be with Jana. Help her to get connected in Nicaragua. Be her guide and her strength and her everything Lord. And remind her that there are so many people who love her and pray for her. I love you God. You amaze me more and more each day. Amen.

01 February 2005

When do we get to rest?

God spoke to Moses: "Tell the Israelites, 'Above all, keep my Sabbaths, the sign between me and you, generation after generation, to keep the knowledge alive that I am the God who makes you holy. Keep the Sabbath; it's holy to you. Whoever profanes it will most certainly be put to death. Whoever works on it will be excommunicated from the people. There are six days for work but the seventh day is Sabbath, pure rest, holy to God. Anyone who works on the Sabbath will most certainly be put to death. The Israelites will keep the Sabbath, observe Sabbath-keeping down through the generations, as a standing covenant. It's a fixed sign between me and the Israelites. Yes, because in six days God made the Heavens and the Earth and on the seventh day he stopped and took a long, deep breath."
Exodus 3:12-17 (The Message)
I need to take a long, deep breath after reading that. Wow! God actually said that those who didn't honor the Sabbath would be put to death. Seems a little harsh these days. It almost makes you want to just lay motionless every Sunday (hmm...That wouldn't be too bad). I'm beginning to learn, though, that this Sabbath thing is for our own good. Sure we CAN fill our schedule so full that you don't even see your house more than 2 hours a day (an hour to get ready in the morning and an hour before bed at night). But God didn't put us on this earth to be busy. He wants us to have rest, peace, and all that other happy junk. Have you ever noticed that when your life is "go, go, go," most of the time you feel "dead, dead, dead." I guess we can't say that God didn't tell us so. I, am mostly speaking to me. I am one of the "busiest" people I know. I view an empty spot on a calendar as an appointment, or a get-together, or a road-trip waiting to happen. Why? What causes me to want to fill every waking moment (and quite a few of the moments when I should be sleeping) with activity? I'm really not sure. Perhaps sometimes it's to block stuff, other times because it's what we've always done, and perhaps even because we hate seeing emptiness. Who knows?
Perhaps, we won't literally die by dishonoring the Sabbath, these days (and now many people pick any day as the "day of rest"), but God is certainly telling us to slow down when our bodies and minds and spirits are just as drained as can be. I know that I haven't fully kept any day as a Sabbath day (or day of rest) in a long time. I intend to remember this passage and perhaps even schedule time for rest. Man-how weird is that!?!?!
Lord, I ask that you would give me rest. And I understand that I must try and really yearn for rest. If I just keep speeding up, but want you to help me pretend that I'm slowing down, I'm not fooling anybody. Please guide me to your refuge and keep me there for a little while. And Lord, when I am working, help me to be the best I can be and remember that those times of rest were times of rejuvenation and places to re-energize. Starting tonight, I seek your place of rest and refuge. Bring me there. Amen.