Tuesday, February 28, 2012

My heart is green.

I'm not too great at this posting daily thing so forgive me. At Clearwater, we are journeying through each of the books in the Old Testament. It's incredible. We do this on Sunday nights (every other Sunday night) and the amount of people is smaller than usual Sundays usually rounding up to about 45-50 people. So, it's very personal and intense. Taylor-- the pastor who leads us in this, desires for us to see what is going on chapter to chapter in summary form so that we can go back, listen to podcasts, rewrite notes, meditate, and reread for ourselves. THIS IS AMAZING. This journey is showing me how to understand the Old Testament, but not only that, it is teaching me how to teach others in story form. This is huge, because I honestly could not sit down and tell someone what happens in all of the Old Testament if they asked me to explain the whole thing to them-- I want to be able to. So, that's sort of what's going on right now. I am seeing more and more God's mercy and judgement working together in the lives of those in the Old Testament. Also, I am still wrapping my mind around God's main purpose from start to finish of the Bible and start to finish of my life story is for him to receive glory. It's a beautiful thing that he has called us to be his slaves (Titus 2:14).. Because he is a good master. Man, I pray that the Lord would continue to grow me in that.. and that I would believe it with all my heart (Mark 9:24).

So, I know that the Longshore's visited the Crash folk pretty recently. I must say I'm a bit jealous that they have gotten to experience this Eugene, OR place first hand, while I drive my little car around that holds a sticker on it in the shape of Oregon containing a green heart inside of it. That sticker represents me, my heart is green. Not really though, it's probably really purple and red, maybe blue too. My point is, I still feel called to be ministering alongside the Crash wherever you are. Whether that is Eugene, Albertville, or outer space.. I don't really care. It is so cool though to see my growth here, learning that physical places do not matter as much as Spiritual places. I pray that we are constantly moving Spritually, it is impossible to be idle in our relationship with Christ because of how real Satan is. After watching the people in my life and examining my own life I know, I KNOW I am not exempt from falling into temptation.. Sin leads to more sin. Thank the LORD there is no condemnation (Romans 8:1) Amen? So let us keep moving from one degree of glory to the next.

The LORD passed before him and proclaimed, "The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children's children, to the third and fourth generation." And Moses quickly bowed his head toward the earth and worshiped. And he said "If now I have found favor in your sight, O Lord, please let the Lord go in the midst of us, for it is a stiff-necked people, and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for your inheritance." Exodus 34:6-9

I've been meditating on this passage a lot. Whoa! God is just, he KNOWS what he is doing and he is preparing us for that inheritance (1 Peter 1).However, we know notta.. At all. His presence is key.. let us go with him. 

Monday, February 20, 2012

Pure Religion

James tells us that religion that is pure and undefiled is a religion that visits orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world (James 1:27). So if someone says it is not about religion, would they say that they don't think it's necessary to visit orphans and widows? James paints a picture here when he says orphans and widows. I see orphans represented as children and widows being represented as the older generation. This covers every age.. Everyone. To say that to be a believer without religion would not be correct then right? However, without a growing relationship with Christ and accepting the gift of Grace he has offered, religion would be of no interest. Religion is not about who or what, oughts and ought nots, but visiting everyone, sharing the gospel (Genesis to Revelation) and being unstained from the world. This religion is BASED on the relationship we have with Christ. As a follower, I want to do this with my whole heart as I hope any follower would. Because this is God's word, we must obey. Unbelievers, on the other hand are focused only on things they understand instinctively (Jude 10). We must not forget the ultimate goal of these things is so that God receives glory.. And he will.

Ps this is open for discussion. Please tell me what you think. I understand there is controversy about this subject.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Help

Tonight I got one of the biggest compliments I have ever received. We were talking about movies and Taylor McCall-- worship pastor at Clearwater told me that I reminded him of Skeeter from The Help. Seeing as how I get picked on daily, I asked "why, because she has a southern accent?" he just laughed and said "No, they all have southern accents. But it's because of her feist and courage."

At this point of mine and Taylor's friendship.. He knows me, but we haven't known each other that long. To say that he sees these things in me obviously means that it's a concrete part of my personality. This must mean that this is not something I've mastered or created on my own. But that I've been created to have these features to bring glory to God's name. I pray that I can use them at work where I'm surrounded by unbelievers. That I would be courageous and feisty when it comes to defending my King and standing firm in what I know is true.

Taylor also mentioned something earlier tonight that opened my eyes through God's word. He said that sometimes I forget why I want to be here, that if heaven truly is greater than why be here? (like Paul) But we have been called out to make our God known, to make disciples in all nations! To be prepared for our inheritance, and when all nations hear the gospel then the Lord will come for his bride. That is why it's exciting to be here, because either way every tongue will confess and we WILL MEET OUR SAVIOR! I don't know about you, but that makes me want to do all that I can until that day comes. It makes me desire for the words that come out of my mouth to be His words, not mine.

What has the Lord given you in order to prepare yourself for eternity? Are you using these things? Let's learn this together and show each other in community and encouragement.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Working Window

Last night, I had a very serious phone call with my dad. He made it clear that he felt like I didn't make any effort to see him, and I basically spent 30 minutes reminding him of how much I loved him no matter where I am physically. He doesn't understand that I can love him from Birmingham. It hurts his feelings when I make plans to come home for things like choir competitions or even singing on Sunday mornings when I don't get to see him a lot.  The truth is, I could make a lot more time to come home, but that doesn't make it easier. Coming home is really difficult and actually does take a toll on me especially when I need to study or work. 

Either way, I just want my dad to understand that my love for him is SO great, and I cherish our relationship more than most of the other relationships I have in my life. I know I am his only girl and I always will be. However, I feel like he is only harming his own heart by trying to cling on to mine. I know he is right in many ways and he teaches me so much. However, It becomes a burden to me sometimes and I start to question a lot of things. For instance, he tells me I should stay home and work all summer. Realistically, that would be the best thing for me to do. Yet, I still feel called to go back to camp this summer. 

On top of that, my advisor is telling me I need to take classes this summer also. I complained about it for a moment and he said "If you don't, you will be in college for seven years and you'll get burned out. Keep your eyes on the prize!" I remember before finals last semester the lead pastor at Clearwater (my church--mission outpost here) talking about praying for students and their finals. He says when students ask him to pray for them he will. He says, "I will pray for their preparation." He then went on to talk about how most students are like waiiiit a second, you are supposed to pray for me to pass. That's not the case, that's never the case. Nothing just happens like that. In order to accomplish things it takes work, a lot of hard work. Most of the time, I don't want to.. it's true. I believe with all of my heart that the Lord is teaching me that I have to work, and work hard in all areas of my life. Obviously, with my eyes on the prize. I must remain focused and do everything I do for glory. Which happens to be the reason I'm alive! Today has been a reality check to say the least and it's all for the Lord.

"Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ." Colossians 3:23

"Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain." 1 Corinthians 15:58

Love you madly.