January 13, 2012 Unpublished
I feel like I haven't blogged for weeks, but I think it's only been three days. I've been reading, nonstop, pretty much. Everything that I'm learning about is new ground for me, so I don't feel confident blogging about it yet.
But goodness- I just can't stop reading and processing and thinking and pestering Jesus about stuff.
News flash: He answers prayer.
Maybe, a week ago, I prayed, very passionately, to be able to understand Jesus and His Father better, and to see Jesus more clearly, not just in my personal life, but in the Bible and in the people around me.
And guess what?
I read stuff in the Bible and I'm just sitting there, just wanting to shout or pound the desk or some other action expressive of my complete stupefaction.
(How's that for a word?)
All those books of the Bible that I didn't understand before, that terrified me before, I find completely fascinating now. I read them and am filled with awe and wonder and reverence.
I used to not like Peter's letters, for example. They were completely terrifying. Now... now I can't even say how it makes me feel.
“But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah."
-Matthew 23:8-10 NIV
“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you."
"But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him."
-I John 2:27 NKJV
January 13, 2012
I have been caught up in some intense hunger for reading and studying of the Bible these last few days, and as the lessons are new to me, I'm not confident about blogging about them. I'm still trying to understand everything.
Each day is like a whole new adventure in Jesus. I wake up in the morning and think, "Where in the world is He going to take me today? What will I learn? What will I do?"
Yesterday, I got so caught up in this study that in the evening, I realized that I was missing Jesus.
"I miss You!" I told Him, wistfully. "I feel like I haven't spent any time with You today."
You've been reading My Word all day long, Jesus reminded me, with tender humor.
"Yeah, but that's not the same as spending time with You," I replied.
You went on a walk with Me and talked to Me a mile a minute about all the things you've been learning, Jesus said with the same feeling of love.
"Yeah, but that was for just... maybe an hour. I want more of You," I insisted.
So I kept tugging on Him and asking Him and reaching out to Jesus, in my spirit. And that night, I got to just hang out with Jesus and spend some quality time with Him.
I'm constantly asking Jesus for more of Him. I want to understand Him better, to see Him and hear Him more clearly.
Jesus is constantly answering those prayers, but He told me that if I heard Him more clearly, my faith wouldn't be able to grow.
"Alright," I said, resigned. "I understand, I get it. Faith is very important. It must grow. I'll suffer along in this condition if it means long term good things and because I know You are always in control and will faithfully lead me along."
Jesus is the author of my faith- and that faith came to me as a gift from the Father Himself. So, I am in good hands, for sure.
This morning, I flipped my little calendar and read this:
"I give You thanks, O Lord, with all my heart... I bow before Your holy temple as I worship. I will give thanks to Your name for Your unfailing love and faithfulness, because Your promises are backed by all the honor of Your Name."
Only, when I read that, I thought, "I am His holy temple! He lives in me!"
So, you might say, that I throw the temple down in joy and love before Jesus, to worship Him.
Who knew life could be so exciting without even leaving the house except to walk in the park?
In the meantime, Keith has begun his last training mission. His higher-ups realized that no one but Keith knew how to run the things, and that they'd better start training someone else to take his place, when he came down on orders.
He is in the running for another job, as Platoon Sergeant in another company. If he got the job, we would stay here for a guaranteed two years.
We don't exactly love Georgia, but we love the idea of staying anywhere for another two years, since we are coming, slowly, closer and closer to beginning the adoption plans. If Keith got the job, it would be a huge piece that would fall into place for us.
I feel peaceful and relaxed about the whole thing- I know that everything will happen as Jesus plans it to happen, one day at a time. One day at a time is very do-able.
January 14, 2012
Have you ever noticed how Jesus is sometimes making as though He is going to pass on by?
I noticed this, this afternoon as I was reading along in Luke.
"Then they drew near to the village where they were going, and He indicated that He would have gone farther.
"But they constrained Him, saying, “Abide with us, for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent.”
"And He went in to stay with them."
Sometimes, it's as though He's asking how much of Him one wants.
Are we satisfied that we've had a lovely time walking along with Him or will we invite Him in further? In fact, not just invite, but constrain.
The same word is used in Young's Literal Translation. The definition of constrain is: to force, compel or oblige.
However, in this story, they did not know it was Jesus when they constrained Him, and as soon as they recognized Him, Jesus left them, for a time.
Still, it's interesting to think about. It makes me think of Jesus saying this:
"Then, teaching them more about prayer, He used this story: “Suppose you went to a friend’s house at midnight, wanting to borrow three loaves of bread. You say to him, ‘A friend of mine has just arrived for a visit, and I have nothing for him to eat.' And suppose he calls out from his bedroom, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is locked for the night, and my family and I are all in bed. I can’t help you.’ But I tell you this—though he won’t do it for friendship’s sake, if you keep knocking long enough, he will get up and give you whatever you need because of your shameless persistence.”
January 14, 2012 Unpublished
I've been crying a lot lately.
I cried listening to a lecture by a Prof. Lennox who used logic and philosophy to describe the existence of God. I cried at the end, when he quoted from the first chapter and verse of the gospel of John.
Then I cried listening to a poem which described so well the difference between religion and Jesus.
Yesterday, I cried when talking to my Uncle Jim, when we were talking about Jesus moving so powerfully in our lives and spirits.
January 15, 2012 Unpublished
My life has changed dramatically.
Nothing has changed, and yet everything has changed.
Everything is off my shoulders, and yet every little thing and every moment has meaning and purpose.
Light is through everything and in everything and will set everything free and right, and yet, for the time being, I walk in the shadows of the glass, darkly.
I am alive in every moment, and that Life is not my own.
By sight, I am alone, and sometimes cry for the sheer longing for home and for true sight, and yet every moment I live in and am surrounded by God.
I am imperfect and incomplete and powerless, and yet, I know that when I see Jesus, I shall be like Him, for I shall see Him as He is.
All around me, I see His good gifts, and they are good because they speak of Him.
All of creation is a living testimony to Him.
All my life, I will be nothing but His, because it was His good pleasure to make me His before the foundation of the world, that in ages to come He might point to me as evidence of the abundance of His saving grace and overflowing mercies, to the praise of His glory.
I can boast of nothing but His grace.
I have no good thing apart from Him.
He is all that is good, and in His Light do I see light.
The deepest desire of my heart is to be with Him, to see Him and to hear Him and to be near Him all the days of my life- to go where He goes and to stay where He stays.
January 16, 2012
My dad's facebook page is such a reservoir of interesting and great things! This morning, I found this:
"Faith has nothing to do with our ability to concentrate on God for at least five uninterrupted minutes; faith is my glorious awakening to the fact that my Maker is mindful of me! He cannot get me out of his mind!"
-Francois Du Toit
Oh, so beautifully true! Jesus has more than once assured me that His desire for me is far greater than my desire for Him.
Sometimes I worry that if I stop "being" a certain way, I'll stop experiencing His love and intimacy and He reminds me that it was He that came to me, not the other way around.
He did not come because I was "being" any certain kind of way, but simply because I was His and He has a plan for my life beyond what I can grasp or understand right now.
"You didn't choose me, remember; I chose you, and put you in the world to produce fruit, fruit that won't spoil," He says. (John 15:16, The Message)
It's such a paradox, isn't? I've often wondered if intimacy with God develops in one a high comfort level with paradox. I have certainly found it to be true, myself.
Here's another thing I've been thinking about: I've been wondering in a new way if every stage of our lives is necessary to reach the next one, so that there's no point in judging ourselves for being at a certain place or at a certain level of understanding.
One simply cannot reach the end without going through the middle.
It makes me think of this:
"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."
-I Thessalonians 5:16-18
I don't like being in the middle; it's very uncomfortable. But I think that it's in the middle where all the riches are- in the middle of suffering, or limitation, or not understanding yet, or unresolved emotion.
Trying to skip over those things means that we never really reach the end, we just put everything on hold- trying very hard to live in denial for as long as possible.
I did that for so, so long. I put off my anger at God and asking and facing the tough questions.
But you know what? I wasn't ready then. I didn’t know this at that time, but I know it now, looking back. I just wasn’t ready for the answers. I had to go through the middle to grow up. I couldn't be stronger or more wise than I truly was; I still can't be.
But I can trust my Good Shepherd. I can even rejoice and give thanks for where I am in my life. I can do this because I can completely trust my Savior.
In each moment, I am in open and living communication with Jesus, even in my pain and sorrow and suffering and confusion, I am open to Him in trust and dependence and authenticity.
I can trust that Jesus will never let me out of His hand, that He will never stop His transforming work in my life and that He will get me where I need to go.
It's like this:
"The Lord is my Shepherd. I will have everything I need.
He lets me rest in fields of green grass. He leads me beside the quiet waters.
He makes me strong again. He leads me in the way of living right with Himself which brings honor to His name.
Yes, even if I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will not be afraid of anything, because You are with me.
You have a walking stick with which to guide and one with which to help. These comfort me.
You are making a table of food ready for me in front of those who hate me.
You have poured oil on my head.
I have everything I need.
For sure, You will give me goodness and loving-kindness all the days of my life.
Then I will live with You in Your house forever."
-Psalm 23, New Life Version