It's alive!

Been a while, so much to say. So I've been reading in Jeremiah for a while, and this morning, I came across a view verses that have meant a great deal in my life. To add a little context, Jeremiah is trying to tell the people of Israel a prophesy that the Lord has given him, and they are not accepting the inevitable fall of Zion (sound familiar to our sporadic feelings of immortality?-- it should!) Israel will not listen. Instead they cry to kill Jeremiah; he is saved, however, and continues to prophesy. False prophets, one namely Hannaniah, come in optimism for the city, and Hannaniah prophesies that he will break the yoke of Nebuchadnezzar. Nonetheless, verse 28:15b-16a says, "Listen now, Hannaniah, the Lord has not sent you, and you have made the people trust in a lie. Therefore this says the Lord, "Behold, I am about to remove you from the face of the earth." Verse 17 captivated me this morning, "So, Hanniniah the prophet died in the same year in the seventh month." I lingered on the first word, so. So it happened. Many other articles could have been used: And he died, However he died. He died. None of these, so he died. God said it would happen, so it happened. It reflects the resoluteness of the Word of God to carry out His purpose with Israel. This purpose is further carried in the noteworthy verses of the following Chapter 29, "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you, not to harm you, plans to bring you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and pray you me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all of your heart." (29:11-13). When I was a little girl, I went to GA camp (a Christian mission-based camp for girls) and my counselor signed a pillowcase for me and included verse 11-- this was my first introduction to that verse and it instantly touched me, even as a little girl. Ironically, a few years ago, I was a counselor at the same camp for a summer, and you can imagine which Scripture was the theme verse for the summer-- verse 11! Coincidence? I think not. Scripture is amazing that even though one may read a verse numerous times, the Holy Spirit still ministers to us through it-- it's alive, it will still speak! Even now, I am at a time of my life when the future is uncertain, and these verses bring great comfort today. It's funny sometimes that we may trust the Lord with our eternal lives, after our earthly existence, but we hesitate to place our faith in His Providence over the next few years, months, days and seek Him. Psalm 83:16 acclaims, "Fill their faces with shame, that they may seek your name, O LORD." What a truth to the essence of seeking the Lord! Fill us with shame, like Israel, that we may seek Your face. Make us less, so You may become great. Fill us with humility that we may boast in You!


to the trees!

Have you ever watched squirrels scramble through trees? If not, I suggest going to a park to sit and watch them for a few minutes (hint: most any college campus is certain to teem with an abundance of the little varmint) I was sitting on the stump of a tree on campus the other day, feeling a little like Rip Van Winkle, with the intention of reading a little for class, and as I looked up from the book, I noticed two squirrels playing with one another in a nearby tree. I have noticed that squirrels often come in pairs; as I watched the pair playing in the tree, I began to notice an intricate detail of the game in which they played. When squirrels play, it seems like they play one very long game of tree-tag. I watched as the two creatures faced off, vertical on the tree, one facing downwards, the other facing upwards, and they stood perfectly still, looking intently at each other, appearing to study one another. Suddenly, the squirrel on top began to run and hide behind a limb, as the other remained motionless. The hiding squirrel, which we will call squirrel #1, peeked around the limb at squirrel #2, which again remained motionless. Squirrel #1 proceeded to perform a figure 8 on the tree, crossing branches and returning to his post behind the limb, again poking its head at squirrel #2, which was unimpressed by the gravity-defying feat and remained unmoved, yet its gaze remained intently on his companion. However, a moment came when squirrel #1 moved a few inches around the limb towards squirrel #2, and at that moment, squirrel #2 shot towards squirrel #1 in determined pursuit, and they raced around the trunk, beginning their endless game.
Likewise, we are similar in our relationship with the Lord. Like squirrel #2, His gaze is eternally fixed upon us, waiting for us to seek him. We can run around as fast as we can and perform seemingly miraculous tasks, but we are only running in circles until our gaze is not likewise fixed on the goal and we are running toward Him. However, if we move from our hiding places and present ourselves before the Lord, in honest pursuit of Him, He is faithful to always pursuit us, never removing His gaze upon us, and never relinquishing His will to be intimately involved with us and join us in the journey as our companion and paraclete.
My friend Maggie once explained a writer's theory of the pursuit of God (Please forgive me that I have forgotten the name of the author). She explained that our pursuit of God and His Holiness, is like that of a child's pursuit of it parent in a game of tag; a child chases after the parent and can never really run as fast as the parent, so at last, the parent embraces the child and takes them in their arms, and at this point, the pursuer becomes the pursuee. God wants an intimate relationship with us; he wants us to pursue Him as He is pursuing us. Like the squirrel, as His eyes are eternally fixed upon us, He is patiently waiting for us to return to Him, perhaps for the first time, and to stop running in circles and take a step of faith toward Him and His intense and focused gaze on us.


feels like a famine

If we are completely honest with ourselves, in our Christian walk, we go through dry spells when it feels that the Spirit has left us (although we know it never does) and we feel weak in our personal Quiet Times with the Lord, and our personal worship, worship, as in our way of life, including the music, but not limited to it, just does not seem to be reaching the heart of the Lord. It feels like a famine of worship. For the past couple of weeks, I have been in one of those, and to be honest, it drives a soul insane to feel as if one is crying out to the Lord, and not "feeling" a response. Sunday, Amy and I visited a church here in Dallas and the pastor, Ed Young, Jr., spoke of feelings and how committments produce feelings, and feelings should not yield committments. This subject has been weighing my heart several hours, trying to discern how I seem to focus on how I feel or if I feel like my worship is genuine. I have prayed for the Lord to search my heart about its true passion to worship Him, and not to rest on the "feeling" of the Spirit inside of me-- only to trust that it is there and forever will conform me to the image of Christ. Yesterday, in the RAC (the on-campus gym) I was intending to jog a little on the treadmill; however, my batteries ran out of juice. Don't you hate that? I certainly do. So, a little on edge after a long weekend, I went to the weight machines. What made me think that I could lift weights, I have no idea. (Thank goodness no one but Amy was in there :)) As I moved around the machines, trying each one, I came to a leg press. Suddenly, I realized that music was playing over the loadspeaker in the room. I had noticed it before, yet not really paid much attention, with the intention of using my CD player. However, I had no choice but to listen and this time the music froze me. The song was "It Is Well," by Shane Barnard. I lay on the machine and closed my eyes, and listened. Suddenly, my heart welled up inside of me, as if I were going to burst and my souls stood still, weights on my legs, though I didnt notice, and the Spirit inside of me praised the Lord in heaven. It was a beautiful moment that I had missed. I missed the the overflowing joy of the Lord and the confidence in the power of the Spirit inside of me to reach the ears of the Father to praise him on my behalf. Today, I praise the lack of batteries and the divine appointment at the RAC. It is amazing how faithful He is to meet us where we are, even when we are not waiting for Him. Even when are minds are aggitated, even when we are busy, frustrated, torn, or tired. He seeks after us where we are, sometimes completely unexpected, and showers blessings of hope and joy.


bend it like beckham

I have decided that David Beckham's protege plays on our soccer team. This kid is five years old and can burn any adult out there, including his coach! (me, of course, not Whit) Absolutely amazing. My precious roommate came out to the field today in support of the Yellow Jackets (thanks Amy!) and before the game, we sat in the sun, which again was incredibly beautiful and warm, and read Scripture and prayed in the grass. After praying, I paused a moment and closed my eyes to listen to the children on the adjacent field playing a soccer match. Some of the most beautiful moments of my life have been spent in complete silence, closing my eyes, and listening to the world around me. We know that God speaks through creation, yet he does not use the only medium of our sense of sight. He is Lord of the sounds surrounding us-- he is the creator of the source of joy that makes the children laugh and play! The birds sing and the grasshoppers chirp God's song to us. I know some of you join me in this, but I too often neglect it. I neglect to listen for his beauty in the cicada's song, or the rustle of leaves as squirrels toss among them. Each part, revealing an attribute of His creation. G.K. Chesterson wrote:
"A child kicks his legs rhythmically through excess, not absence of life. Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore, they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say. "Do it again!" until [the grown up] is nearly dead. For grown up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is.... It is possible that God says every morning to the sun, "Do it again!" and every evening, "Do it again!" to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but never has gotten tired of making them. It may be that he has the eternal appetite of infancy. Heaven may encore the bird that laid the egg."

P.S. We won the soccer game!!! 2-0 =)


The wait is finally over....

I know that you have been waiting on the edge of your seat for the anxious publishing of the second blog. I am aware of the inconsistency of my writing, and despite my will to crawl into bed, I realize that I must rise up to the challenge and publish yet another, insofar that I may raise my head again and not be ashamed to show my face in the morning. (Which after today, any public appearance will most likely not be in the morning :) ) I finished my research paper around 3am-- the result of two consecutive sleepless nights-- and I am looking forward to a sleep-in day tomorrow! I'm not a big fan of sleeping-in; however, I am a big fan of sleeping, unless I can find a way to sleep-out, sleeping-in sounds like the favorable choice!
Speaking of the morning, I came across a verse a little while ago in Lamentations. It is called the most melancholy book of the Bible, hence the lamentation of Israel, yet within the book, a most beautiful passage is found, construing a portrait of the character of God. The previous verses talk of Israel's affliction and, well, lament. Then, the writer includes:
I Remember my affliction and my wandering, the wormwood and bitterness. Surely my soul remembers and is bowed down within me. This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. The Lord's lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Thy faithfulness. "The Lord is my portion," says my soul, 'Therefore, I have hope in Him.' ... Who is there who speaks and it comes to pass, unless the Lord has commanded it? Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that both good and ill go forth?" Lam. 3:19-24, 37-38.
I have a friend who, a couple of years ago, received the heart-breaking news that his brother-in-law and best friend had passed away in a tragic accident. Being a young Christian man, he was loved by his family and the community, and upon hearing this news, my friend wordlessly wept, and in response said only, "Through all things, praise God." What an amazing testimony of trust and submission to the grace and mercy of God! Jonathan Edwards uses the phrase that Christians should be "ready to hope" in Christ and his endless grace. I am captivated by this phrase, praying that when the Lord allows conflict or trial in our lives, which is the promise of 2 Timothy 3:12, to all who seek holiness, that we are ready to hope in his faithfulness and compassion-- that is is the author of all, good and ill, and in all, he is to be glorified!


saturday in the park

so here we are... welcome to the blog! i must admit, i told myself about a year ago that i would never understand these things and would not dream of putting any time into one. well, i was mistaken (yes, even i am wrong at least once a year) however, i have become quite intrigued as of late, and i convinced myself to create one for many reasons....

1). to share the passions, burdens, and love in my heart and to hear the same in others-- i love the Lord, and He is constantly teaching and showing things to us in love, and as He conforms us to the image of Christ, the work in us edifies Him and each other and He is glorified. Feel free to share anything on your heart-- you never know how Truth may speak to someone or how in the power of prayer, we can approach the Lord in confidence in prayer for you.

2). forum for shared thoughts- for the same reason i love to hang out at airports, i love to analyze the way people think and why and how they believe as they do

3). communication with friends who are MIA-- i often fall MIA myself, and in some feeble way, this is an attempt to keep in touch

4). On a personal level, although my roommate discerns my attempts at "reflection" as napping (don't know how i gave that one away), i think it is important to record reflection and articulate my thoughts-- whether they are worth reading is an altogether different question

5). who doesn't need one more reason to procrastinate? currently, it is procrastination of a research paper. ive already cleaned the house, took a walk, went to walmart, cooked, checked the news, im out of ideas....so here we go

speaking of research... on one of the most beautiful days that i have ever exprienced in my 23 years, today i spent most of it on research for a paper, aside from the three hours of 5-year-old soccer games and chinese buffet. although i was inside most of the afternoon, i was blessed to be able to enjoy, even if for a little while, the big blue sky (even the sky seems bigger in texas-- but maybe that's the lack of trees!) however, we won the game 3-1, scoring 2 goals-- you figure that one out :)

song lyric of the day :

Take a break from all the plans that you have made
And sit at home alone and wait for God to whisper
Beg Him please to open up His mouth and speak
And pray for real upon your knees until they blister

Ross King "Clear the Stage"