Sunday, May 31, 2009

Words To Live By

I stumbled upon this great message at ibethel.com. I haven't finished reading it, but I'm skimmed some of it and its been really good and challanging my lifestlye. I wanted to share this portion with you. He is reffering to Acts 16, when Paul was in prision, worshipping God despite his circumstances, and God sent an earthquake to break his chains and set him free:

(If you want to see it in context, the URL is https://www.ibethel.org/features/written%20word/index.php?f=word.php&d=108 and its a bit more than half way down--I'd search for some words from it to find it quickly.)

~~~~

Now, I don't know about you guys, but if I'm in prison and there's an earthquake, the chains fall off my arms and legs and the door flings open, I would say, "Jehovah Jireh. God has provided for me again. I'm out of here!" I would be out of there as fast as you can imagine. I'm gone because it's obvious it's the will of God. "Praise God! My worship worked again. It shook that thing. That poor guard, he's going to die because I got out of here, but you know, oh well. He shouldn't have been keeping me in prison in the first place." That's what I'm thinking, but not this guy. He's worshipping God and the earthquake comes. That's quite an earthquake, to knock those locked chains off your wrists and feet; it knocks him to the ground and the doors fling open. That's weird all by itself. The doors fling open and Paul senses, "I wasn't a prisoner when I was put in here. Opening the doors doesn't make me freer. I'm smelling harvest. I smell some fish that are about to be caught. Since my primary goal in life is to catch fish, I'm going to stay in the most unusual fishing hole I've ever been in. Uh, sir, about to kill yourself? You'll notice that we're all here." That was enough of a witness. This guy had to know the same Jesus. He surrendered immediately to Christ. Then his entire family got saved.

There is something enduring about joy. I could have chosen this habit out of a number of saints in Scripture, but this is one of the most unique and remarkable illustrations in the Bible.

Probably ten to thirteen years ago now, I just really felt impressed to take six months and work on three verses of the Bible to see if I could learn how to apply the instructions to my life. It's out of 1 Thessalonians 5. It says,"Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks." I thought, "You know, those three commands are all-inclusive. If I could learn to do those three things, I'd have everything else in my life come together." So I would quote it throughout my day. I'd think about it as I was going about my day, "Rejoice always." That's real demanding, because that means in everything! That means I just have to choose joy and express it in every situation. Some situations are easier than others. Then there's the "pray without ceasing;" that's really demanding, too. Man, this is all or nothing here; I've got to stay in communion with the Lord constantly. Then, "In everything give thanks." No room for error here. Do these three things all the time. Always be thankful and happy, and pray about everything. So I came to the conclusion, if I could learn those three things, I'd be a saint.

People come to me and say, "I just need to know God's will for my life."

I tell them, "Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks." The next phrase is, "For this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."

"Yeah, but I need to know whether to take this job or whether I should live in Portland or I should live in San Jose."

"It makes very little difference, if you rejoice always, pray without ceasing and in everything give thanks."

"Yeah, but I don't know what to do for my occupation."

"Pump gas or be a doctor, it doesn't matter to me. But just rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks. This is the will of God. Everything else is trivial."

"Yeah, but I don't know if I should go to the School of Ministry or go to college." "I don't care. It's a win-win situation. Just rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and in everything, give thanks."

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I really want to learn this principle. I want to learn to live by 1 Thess. 5:16-18. I think it will help erase a lot of my unesscisary worry, and help remind me that God is always present no matter what I'm doing. I am going to try to focus on this during this month of June, and I think it will be especially helpful as I try to finish up all my summer class work this month. Prayers for this focus on Him would be great!

God bless!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Summer Days and Reflecting Him

So much for the whole idea of restful, uneventful summer days! My whole summer is filling up rapidly and I have so much to do just today, not to mention in the next few weeks.  I will potentially be going on a minimum of four trips this summer, while taking two online classes  and working at least 3 days a week. Not to mention all the friendships I'm dying to catch up on!

Though to be honest, its getting to the point where I like being busy. Sure, I have my days when I'm frustrated and I feel like I can't handle it anymore, but overall I know I'm blessed and everything will work out. 

On other notes, here are the current verses I'm memorizing: 

2 Corinthians 3: 16-18, NLT

But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, then the veil is taken away.
Now, the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, he gives freedom.
And all of us have had that veil removed so that we can be mirrors that brightly reflect the glory of the Lord. And as the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like him and reflect his glory even more.

I love this. This has been a desire of my heart for a while. I am a believer, I trust in Jesus Christ as my Savior and know that the only way I am redeemed from my faults, shortcomings and sins is because He died and took that punishment for me.  Because I have turned to God, the veil that limited my understanding of the truth of scripture (v. 14-15) is lifted. I can now meet God in a way similar to Moses when his face shone (Ex. 34:33-35)! Because of this, I am to be a mirror that shines for Him. It doesn't say the veil was removed so I could shine for God sometimes, or that I could choose to reflect Christ or to not reflect Him; the veil is removed so that I, as I look to Him, will be transformed and become more like Him.

Look at v. 18 in the NKJV too: 


But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

Now that we are unveiled, we are looking, as in a mirror, at the glory of God and that image in changing us into the same image through His Spirit. 

I don't know if this is exactly what Paul was describing, but I like to imagine me, standing and looking into a mirror, and Christ is standing behind me so I can see His image too. As I look at Him, I can see at the same time myself, my flaws and sins, being cleansed with His blood and I become pure, like Him, and from glory to glory transformed into the woman Christ has created me to be! And that woman is one who is constantly reflecting Him wherever I go and no matter what I say. It's exciting stuff!!



Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A New Season

THE WINTER SEMESTER IS DONE!

Oh my goodness--I am so ready to move on to sunshine, less school, and summer. 

This is going to be a new season for me beyond the meteorological changes--though I must say, those effect my mood greatly.  I am ready to spend more time at work than I was during school, ready to attack these summer classes wholeheartedly, and definitely ready to revive friendships that have been on hold during my days in the tower of school guarded by the dragon of homework.  

I'm also excited about getting to know God better this summer. In an effort to encourage study, I've bought this awesome study Bible.  It's got a lot of really interesting features, like outlines of every chapter of the Bible, cross references, concordance, greek and
 hebrew word definitions,  in-text maps and maps in the back of the Bible, annotations (basically commentary), a list of the messianic prophecies (stuff talking about Jesus coming, and where it is fulfilled), time lines...

*catches breath*

...articles, notes on Biblicial times and cultures, charts, and a bunch of sections in the back with interesting stuff like the Parables and Miracles of Jesus and a Subject Index! I'm excited!

I'm hoping this will help stregthen my foundation in God so that I can further develop what is most important--a relationship with Him. 

On other notes, my dearest Peter and I have been dating for 20 months on this past 27th! How exciting is that? <3
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