Monday, May 24, 2010

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...(part 3)

Guess I'll jump right in. Last time I talked about how God answered my prayer for more friends who were sold out for Christ. This time I will start off with something that God did that I didn't ask for, but He knew I needed. At the last Ignite meeting of last semester, some people from First Assembly came to talk about a course called Cleansing Streams. It seemed cool, and at the end of the meeting, Pastor Linda was like, "if time and money were not an issue, raise your hand if you would participate." I raised my hand because truthfully, if time and money were not an issue, I would totally do it, but thinking to myself...when are time and money not an issue?
**related sidenote: In hindsight, this is probably a lesson to me...I suppose I more frequently than I should, forget that my best friend is the master of time and created the universe. He existed and will continue to outlast all time and money**

Anyhow, we were informed that Cleansing Streams would take place on Wednesday nights, that we were not supposed to miss any classes, and we were supposed to go to a mandatory retreat at the end in April, which would cost money. I thought up all the reasons that I would not be able to do it, but I can't remember ever asking God to work it out so that I could participate. I can actually remember how cool it would be for the people that would be able to participate and saying to myself, wow, too bad I can't do it. I kind of brushed it off as something that maybe I'd be able to do someday in the future, and that was the last I heard about Cleansing streams until like late late January/early February of the next semester. At the disciplesip dessert, it was revealed to us that the Cleansing Streams course would be in lieu of normal discipleship and we'd only have to pay like half the price of the original course. This meant that I would be able to do it, b/c it would only be adding an extra hr. Actu, due to another activity that I had to drop, I guess net wise I gained an hour. I suppose it was like a praise report without the request beforehand?...That's how awesome my God is :D

There I go being long-winded the point. The 2 most helpful teachings for me were about alignment and the power of words. There kind of intertwined. Learning about alignment has helped me in the fact that anytime I start having negative thoughts or I start freaking out about something (school, life...) I command my soul to align and submit to my spirit which I then command to submit to God's Holy Spirit living inside of me which contains God's truth that I am not to be anxious about anything. Which brings me to the next teaching, the power of words.

"Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat of its fruit." (Proverbs 18:21) I learned not only how, but the importance of speaking life and blessings, and rejecting curses, not only over other people, but also over myself. The Bible says to love your neighbor as yourself, and if you have no problem blessing your neighbors, that's great, but if you're constantly cursing yourself, where does that leave you? How does one reconcile loving others w/o completely loving yourself?

My mom used to always say that you can speak things into existence. For example, if I would say something like I'm not going to do well on a quiz or something, she'd say you'd better not say that because you might speak it into existence. I mean, I suppose that I got the whole idea of not going into a quiz or test or anything, really, with a defeated attitude, but I never really grasped the power of words from her saying that. I think I'm finally getting it. In a word, God spoke the universe into existence. Our salvation comes from believing in our hearts and confessing with our mouths that Jesus is Lord. The Bible says that they overcame by the blood of the lamb and the word of their testimony. From this teaching, I've learned the importance of speaking God's truth out loud so that I could hear it. Throughout the week (the one I started talking about along time ago-finals-that I almost forgot about, hehe), and really anytime I'm feeling anxious, I speak Phillipians 4:6,7,13 and 1 Peter 5:7 out loud so that I can hear them. And once again, I've decided that this is probably an appropriate place to stop because otherwise, the length of this post will be just plain ole indecent.

So until next time, may the peace of the God of the universe continue to gaurd your heart and your mind. ;)
Signing off with the other LOL

Friday, May 21, 2010

Jesus Loves Me This I Know...

Jesus loves me this I know
For the Bible tells me so
Little ones to Him Belong
They are weak, but He is strong
I remember singing this song as a child, but like most children, I 1) didn't fully grasp the meaning of the words, and 2) didn't fully know all the words. I definately didn't know what the 3rd line was for quite a while, so I just did that thing that you do when you don't know the words to a song that you should. You kind of sing through it while you sort of make up your own words until you convince yourself that what you are singing is right. Well, by me doing that, the 4th line didn't make any sense based on my messed up version of the 3rd. As a result, I totally missed the depth that the 4th line contains, even in such a simple children's song. (so i'll suppose I'll fess up and admit that I had to google the lyrics to this song, :p)
But lately, it seems that the idea (or fact) about God's strength being perfected in our weakness has been continually coming up in my life and it made me think of this song. And as I thought about it, I thought about how many times weakness seems to be accepted in "little ones" but not once we get older. But really, aren't we all little ones in comparison to God? And aren't we all his little ones? We teach that song to little children, but the message is still the same for us. We are weak, but He is strong. I know that's a great comfort to me, especially in times of weakness. I know that I can boast in my weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9) and the truth will always stand that:
Yes, Jesus Loves Me
Yes, Jesus Loves Me,
Yes, Jesus Loves Me,
For the Bible Tells Me so
Always remember that. Until next time, may the unconditional joy of the Lord continue to be your strength. Signing off with the other LOL.

Job hunting for Jesus?

So I was talking to a good friend yesterday and I realized that this is shaping up to be one of the weirdest summers I've ever had. I'm not sure why (it's not really bad or anything) but when I think about it, I just get a vibe of weirdness. As I told her, it'll probably be one of those "Oh, I see in hindsight" type things that I'll figure out at the end of the summer.

As isn't unusual for me, I'm not really sure where I was going with that, but it seemed like something that needed to be said. I don't know, maybe it will come up again sometime in the future. But you're probably wondering about the title I gave this post, and I realize it doesn't really make that much sense, but I promise there is a connection.

Since I've been home, I have been looking for a summer job. The more jobs that I applied to and didn't get, the harder it became to keep filling out that next application, and making that next phone call. And as I started to wonder why it was so difficult to continue to press forward, I also realized that this feeling was not original, I had experienced it before. Then it hit me...I've felt this way before when sharing Jesus with people. And I realized that these feelings that arose when looking for a job were the same that attempt to hinder me in sharing my faith: pride and fear of rejection.

I put those two together because without pride, there would be no reason to fear rejection unless there is some feeling in myself of self-entitlement. And as I examined my life, I realized there was. Most things in the past have come easy to me, and while looking for a job, I felt entitled: "I'm intelligent," "my resume is excellent," "Why wouldn't they want to hire me?" all spoken in confident. But as time progressed, those same statements became warped a bit with an air of doubt behind them: "But, I'm intelligent," "my resume is pretty good," and "why won't anyone hire me?" And then I realized the connection.

The other night in Bible study I was reminded that as a Christian, I can't seperate my life into the "secular" and the "spiritual." As a child of God, there is no aspect of my life that can be seperate from God. Although the quote was originally used to refer to things such as entertainment and other things that can be spiritually negative if we try and seperate them, I think it's just as important to apply that to every aspect of our lives. In the situation of witnessing to others and telling them about the love of God, it's more obvious than if someone were to slap me clear across the face. There's no way I'm about to put myself out there to tell someone about Jesus if I'm relying on myself to do it. You better believe I'm fully relying on not only the grace of God, but also His love needs to be in me in order for me to share it, and I'm hopeless without the guidance of His Holy Spirit. If I weren't, there'd be as much gospel sharing done as there would be if an actual chicken were standing there because metaphorically speaking, I'm no lion. But when it comes to something such as schoolwork or job-hunting, somehow I actually disillusion myself into thinking that I don't really need to rely on God...I got this... I subconciously "secularize" those aspects of my life.

Well, clearly I hadn't gotten the full lesson after this school year which was probably the roughest I'd experienced, ever. But that's all good, cause God's still teaching me. Without His help, I can't keep myself motivated enough to be persistent in looking for work. I'd just chicken out. Glad I'm learning this now. It's funny how many times, I have to go through stuff that ain't necessarily so easy, for me to get what seems to be such an obvious point. But it's a good thing, I need to stay humble cause God resists the proud and I'm beginning to learn that I don't know so much. And that keeps me thankful and in need of God's help and the wisdom and guidance of the wonderful people that He has put in my life.

Until next time, May the humble and meek Spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ dwell within you! :)
Signing off with the other LOL

Monday, May 17, 2010

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times... (part 2)

So to start out, I will say that there are only 3 dots in my ellipses just in case you were wondering. I decided to write out the full review of what God's done this year in my journal, and then some, and I realized that even with only taking excerpts of what I wrote in my journal, it would be much too long to put into one blogpost. So I'll either break it into 2 or 3. Haven't decided yet because I prob won't decide what an appropriate stopping point is until I get there as I'm writing this.

So what are the things that God did starting at the beginning of the year to prepare me for this trial. It's crazy how God sets stuff up, and I could go back to the year 2002 of how He really started doing things to prepare me for this time (it wasn't even that big comparatively to other things that go on in the world, but that just shows how much God cares for even the smaller trials of your life) , but that would be a story for another time. Specifically the things that occured this year shall be the focus of this post. I couldn't think of a way to really arrange these events, so they're not really in order of signifigance or anything (especially since all things are signifigant with God) so I'll just tell it in the order that I wrote it in my journal, in the order in which the events seem to flow in hindsight of making the most since.

First I suppose I should start off by saying that the feelings of overwhelmingness started about the week before finals. I think that's when all of the "circumstances" in my life really started to hit me. It's not like they weren't already there, but I just really started to feel anxious about them. Anxiety is a lie from Satan. It's funny...this isn't in my journal, but I heard a Pastor say today that the devil loves to keep your mind focused on the past and the future because he tries to haunt you with the past and make you fearful of the uncertainty of the future. (that becomes important later in the story) God wants us to focus on the present and eternity. But the "circumstances" in my life included the fact that I had 6 finals over the course of 4 days the next week and all of my grades were depending on them. To add to that, I had some personal stuff going on having to do with finances and I was going into the summer with absolutely no plan (you can see the uncertainty of the future). The "haunting of the past" comes from the fact that I began dwelling on the past grades that I'd gotten on exams in my classes throughout the semester as well as my past performance on other finals. I'd always done ok, but I needed to do better than I had done in the past and for a moment, I didn't think I could do it. Now I get to tell you how "mind-blowingly" fantastic my heavenly father is. He spoke to me in two ways (btw, I've kinda gone out of the order that I was going to originally write this...) : The first was at our Ignite meeting on the Friday before finals week began. There was a public tongue and translation given about fear, or rather not fearing (i'll come back to this) and the second was something He spoke to me in private. He told me that I am not defined by the events of my past. My identity is in Him and He is a God who makes thing new. He's a restorer and a redeemer and I just needed to trust in Him and He'd take care of me.

I guess that was kind of a side note. But at least it was relevant to the story. But since I already mentioned the prayer meeting in the last post, I'll move to the next event which will cause us to travel back in time to the beginning of the year. At this point, I'd been in XA for about a year and I didn't really have many friends in the group. I don't think I really talked to anyone besides the staff and the girls in my discipleship group, but even to them I wasn't very close to the point where I'd just hang out with them, let alone share the things that were going on in my life with them. Not that it was anyone's fault in the group, it was actually me...I had a lot of trust issues that God has really been changing in me, and I suppose I just didn't really want to be vulnerable enough to make more than superficial friendships. Most times I have real trouble making friends, I lived in a learning community my freshman year and I didn't really start talking to the people in it until like the middle of September b/c we went on a field trip and Megan randomly started torturing me w/ a reed. Weird, I know. But once again, I digress.

At the beginning of the year I prayed and asked God for more meaningful friendships with people who were radical for Jesus. I felt like everyone was nice, and people would invite me to stuff, but I wouldn't go because I didn't know anyone. Then God pointed out this to me: "How do you expect to ever know anyone if you won't go and spend anytime with them?" Guess I couldn't hide behind that excuse anymore, hehe. So I went to Fall Retreat and it was awesome spiritually as well as relationally. I suppose I'd started talking to people before fall retreat but I think after the retreat is when XA really started to feel like a family to me.

Anyhow, the friend thing became important to the time that I've been talking about because since I made friends, that night, after that tongue was given, I wasn't afraid to open up and tell people why I needed prayer. If I was in a room among strangers, it would not have happened, but because these people were family, I knew I could let myself be somewhat vulnerable.

Well, I suppose this post has been long enough, so I'll stop here for now. Until next time, May the peace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ be with you.

Signing off with the other LOL.

Friday, May 14, 2010

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times....

So, two things to start off with: 1-I suppose I kinda stole my title from the opening of a tail of two cities, which I have never read, btw, and 2-there's an extra dot after the word times in the title (you are now looking there to check :p) thus either making that not a true ellipses, or an ellipses with a period after it. Why? you ask, I don't know. But either way, neither of those two points have anything to do with what I am about to write about, except for the fact that they both reference the title which is indeed what I am going to write about. I just that they were slightly interesting I guess. But I digress...(that's 3)

I guess I should start off by saying that I'll probably make this a 2-parter for 2 reasons (I'm using a lot of deuces tonight...hmm) The first is that what I am about to write about would be entirely too long, and the second is a combination of the facts that it would take too long to write in one sitting and I haven't fully figured out all that I will write, and since this is all stream of conciousness, it would prob get confusing (is that still considered 2?) Anyhow, I guess I should prob at some point say what the title refers to (boy am I glad this is not a formal english paper, for many reasons, but that can be for another day). It was the best of times, it was the worst of times refers to this past school year. There, I let the cat out of the bag. (I'm allergic to cats so that prob wasn't the best idea)

But I suppose the way I'll "organize" this is to write about finals week of this semester in this entry, and write about the rest of the year in the next entry. Who knows? I might split it up into 3 entries because God was doing a lot to set me up for this semester, but He also did a lot to set me up for finals week of this semester. Ok, so here's the thing, it totally makes no sense for me to go backward now that I think about it because there's a lot of "lead-up" that occurs, but the Holy Spirit is kinda still reminding me of things that happened last semester and pointing out present connections, and since finals week just happened it's freshest in my mind. If you read the next 1 or 2 posts, you should be able to figure everything out though. Wow, this is long, I should probably get to the point.

So, finals I'll start by saying I'll try to address each of the things I mention in this in my next entry to show how God intricately was working. I'll leave myself some hints, which you'll prob figure out, just so I won't forget what I was going to say about it.

I had 6 finals over the course of 4 days. They were "broken up" (or lack thereof...) as follows: Wed- Microbiology and Genetics lab, Thursday-Agecon, Friday Chemistry and Genetics, and Saturday-Chemistry lab. I went into the week with an attempted plan of study which I learned as a result of events of this year, and I determined that I was going to keep a positive attitude. Monday after a gross lack of sleep and making virtually no progress in chemistry or microbiology, I nearly felt completely defeated but then I remembered the truth that there is victory in Jesus and I willed that I would not be defeated. Monday I decided to trust in God to help me catch up on all that I was behind on. Since He invented time and the universe and all, I figured He, who also created microbiology, could certainly help me get through 31 lectures of microbiology. (I had 41 and I'd only gotten through 10 thus far). Monday night I just told God that I needed His presence because with His Presence comes peace and rest. He completely flooded me with His peace that night, competely restored my mind for the next day and helped me get through 25 lectures by 7 the next evening in time for the communion service. I also continually spoke Philippians 4:6,7 and 1 Peter 5:7 so that I could actually hear the truth. There were also personal things going on in my life to add to the pressure but that will be further discussed next time. Anyhow, God continued to do things and have different people speak into my life during this time. I had two friends give me scriptures that were also helpful as well as encouraging: James 1:5 and Psalms 29.11. Thanks to all of you who did for that btw, it meant a lot. I guess since it's late and this is already heinously long, I'll end on this note, which in a way will be a nice lead-in to next time. Throughout this entire week, I kept thinking back to a corporate prayer meeting we had about a month prior (if that) and it was about how God puts trials in our life to strengthen our faith in Him. I feel like that prayer meeting was God's way of prepping me for the situations that I'm facing now. I'm thankful that when I'm weak, He is strong. (that pt alone warrents its own post)

Well, I'm sorry that was so long...until next time, May the peace and joy of our loving Savior Jesus Christ be with you. :)

Signing off with the other lol. <3

Friday, May 7, 2010

Well, since everyone else was doin' it...

Well, blogging seems to be the new thing that's "in" to do, so I suppose that's why I've created this. I guess I mainly created it because I wanted to follow my friends (but now I guess I have to figure out how to do), but since I have this little txtbox, I guess I'll put something in it.

To comment on the title, "since everyone else was doin' it." I think it's kinda funny how I am. I sometimes feel like I'm a paradox. Maybe I am a paradox. I mean, random yet guided, as my blog titile? That doesn't really make much sense unless I explain what it means...although it could probably be figured out if you think about it. But anyhow, I'm mostly a very laid back and apathetic person about most things...I mostly coast with the flow (hence the title of this post). Yet, I can be very stubborn and apathy is one of the things that bugs me the most. I suppose the key to that "paradox" is all situational. When it comes to things that don't really affect or harm my life, I can usually flow with it...such as making a fb, blog, or playing HvZ. :D Many times, although I don't initially want to do it, I end up having a pretty good time. But then there's the important Jesus. When ppl are apathetic in their faith it really bugs me. I'm pretty sure that's one of my top pet peeves. So I suppose Jesus is one of the exceptions to me "going with the flow". But I guess that's a good note to end on...I realize this was quite a superficial post, but the nxt 2 will be a bit deeper I hope. God's been doing a lot of great stuff in my I figured I'd might as well share a bit. And then I thought I might look back over all the crazy awesome stuff He's done over this past school year.

Till next time...May the peace and joy of the living God be with you :)