Friday, June 30, 2006

Ahhh!!! Must Hurry!

Went to work…helped make lunch…ate lunch…went to the grocery store…went to the post office…did some laundry…made bread…made breakfast for tomorrow…made soup…made homemade peach sorbet…dealt with workman’s comp until I couldn’t take it any more and Arlen took over…did the dishes…swept and mopped (more like scrubbed on all fours) the kitchen…folded and put away laundry…straightened the house…hubby helped and kept me sane…sat down for a break. Pretty busy huh?

I’ve been rushing around for the past few hours, getting ready for the Sabbath. But as I sit here now and take a breather, one thought is running through my mind. “Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10. I know I posted this Psalm the other day, but it is still running through my mind. It seems that every Friday I get so caught up in the rush of preparing for Sabbath that I don’t really take a break and think about what I’m doing all this rushing around for. I know it’s not meaningless. In Mark, Jesus says “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath” Mark 7:28. What does this mean? It means “Be still and know that I am God,” It means, “Six days shall you labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of the Lord your God, in it you shall not do any work.” Exodus 20:9,10a. It means that God has made the Sabbath a special day to commune with us like on no other day during the week. So, rather than getting caught up in the stresses of Friday, I should prepare excitedly. I should look at it as an opportunity to have the best company of all time over to my house. Yay!

Okay, okay, I have to go here really soon, but before I do, I want to share with you one more thing God has been bringing to my heart today. It’s a text we all know from Mark 8. Where Jesus said, “Whoever wants to save his life will loose it, but whoever looses his life for me and for the gospel will save it” Mark 8:35. I had never read that in context before. (Man, my time is running short.) Well, instead of writing about the wonderful things God has showed me, I’ll let you discover it for yourself. I’d never looked at this verse in context before – it changes the whole meaning. Read it and keep in mind what Jesus says to Peter about His motives. Now think of what makes up your life. Are you willing to lose it all if Christ calls you to that? Just something to think about.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Lost in a Funk

Ok, so I've been kind of in a funk lately. I don't know if you've ever been there before, but if you have you'll know what I'm talking about. It's been one of those weeks where I have no motivation and absolutly no sense of purpose. I come home after work, eat lunch with my hubby and work on our ten minutes of dishes together. So far, so good, but this is when the funk begins. I spend the rest of the afternoon wasting time on whatever I can find. Anything to keep me away from more dishes, cleaning, laundry, calling workman's comp, running errands - you get the point. Then, when the day is over I feel so lazy and frustrated because I haven't even started any of the important things I was supposed to do. I vow to do better tommorow, and tommorow is just the same as the day before. What gives?

What's made it more difficult is that I'm at that place I think most college students in America are fully familiar with. I have no idea where I'm going and what I'm doing. What am I supposed to do with my life? Am I going to have my dream job, or will I have to do something else? Do I really know what my dream job is? What about my husband? What is he doing? Where is his buisness going? What does God want us to do? Between the funk and the unknown, I've been in a rather odd mood lately. I haven't even felt all that close to God. Sure I've been faithful, including Him throught my day, but I haven't felt that connection.

Today, however has been different. As I was praying this morning, and pouring my soul out to God, He began answering my pleas. First He responded to my unsurity about the future by bringing to my mind Joshua 9:11-13. "'I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the Lord. 'Plans for welfare and not calamity to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all of your heart.'" I may not know where I'm going in the next few years, but God sure does. As long as I seek Him, He will guide me every step of the way.

A little bit later at work, the hymn "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms" began going through my head. It was looping so many times that I stopped resisting the urge to belt it out. And suddenly I was filled with joy. For the first time in a while I actually felt close to God. In Ephesians 5 Paul tells us to be filled with the spirit. There's no wonder that includes "speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord." (v.19) There's no comparing to the healing and joy the Holy Spirit can bring through a simple song.

So what did I learn today? Keep singing, and trust God. Horray!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

But It Looks So Good!!

Yesterday, while I was at work, one of my wonderful bosses gave me this increadible piece of choclate. I lept with joy inside as I recieved this small morsel because, you see, I'm a chocoholic. I grew even more excited as I read the lable "Dark Choclate with Mint Cream." Dark choclate is my absolute favorite. I like it for two reasons! First of all, the flavor is out of this world. Secondly, dark choclate has much less milk in it, so I don't get as sick.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, I'm alergic to milk. This little fact makes my continual cravings for choclate a bit of a burden. I usually do all right and am able to resist the urge to indulge, but occasionally, the temptation is just too strong. I have the hardest time at resturants and parties when a nice big decadant piece of choclate cake is delicately placed in front of me. (Work with me here as I get discriptive, it helps me set the mood so you can see how strong of a temptation it really is). It's sitting there in it's shimmering shade of beautiful brown beconing me "Laura, eat me, you know I taste so good!" As I longingly stare at the delicacy before me, my eyes start to sparkle as a battle begins in my head, "That thing must be loaded with milk! But it looks soooo good! It won't hurt me just to have one bite." Before you know it, I'm sitting with a belly full of exquisite choclate cake. Then a few hours later, I'm as sick as a dog; making sure that at any given moment, I am no more than 30ft away from the closest bathroom. At that point I'm sorry, very sorry. I vow to be good to my body. I vow never again to eat another piece of rich, creamy choclate cake. And I mean it. I mean it of course, until the next beautiful piece of choclate delight is placed before my feasting eyes.

Why am I bothering to write about this increadible weakness? Because God used it to give me a little wake up call today. I was reading in Judges about how the Isrealites totally ignored what the Lord told them about mixing with the Cannanites. "Oh boy," I thought,"they're in for trouble." And I was right. God sent His angel to rebuke them. They wailed and cried and felt so bad. Then, they turned around and disobeyed God again. This was the beginning of an endless cycle of disobedience and being sort of sorry. This cycle continued on for quite some time. As I've heard this story before, I've always thought, "You dumb Isrealites,don't you ever learn?" Then God kind of turned the tables on me and said, "But Laura, don't you do the same all the time." Immediatly my mind was flooded with choclate cake and a bazzillion other examples of when I am just as repentant as those crazy Isrealites.

As I sat there, I thought, "Okay Lord, now you have my attention, but what am I supposed to do?" He guided me to Psalm 51.This is a Psalm of David written after he messed around with Bathsheba. He was truly sorry for what he had done. It was through this passage, that God showed me what being sorry is all about. Now, I just pray that He will work in me to produce true repentance whenever I muff things up.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Me? Gullable? Maybe...

I'm going to tell you something. If you don't know me very well, you are in for a treat. If you do know me pretty well, you will simply laugh and say "yup, that's Laura." Okay, here goes. I'm gullable. Not just a little gullable, I'm very gullable. Many people find great amusement out of this because this little fact makes me very teasable! However, there is another personality trait I posess that makes me likely one of the most teasable people in the world. I react. I don't just react a little bit, I react whole heartedly.

That's kind of how I am about everything. I believe and I react. While these two traits can be wonderful at times, they can also be huge personality flaws. Basicly when it's at it's worst, I overreact and jump to conclusions. This reminds me very much of the Isrealites in Joshua 22. They were freaking out because the tribes of Ruben, Gad and Manasseh had built this massive alter on the other side of the Jorden. The sons of Isreal simply assumed that this alter was being used in ways that are contrary to God's law. They were so upset that they were ready to go to war against them. That's pretty bad. Come to find out, it was nothing at all like what the Isrealites thought! It's a good thing they checked things out before heading to the Jordon suited up and ready for war.

Only God knows all the ins and out of what's really going on. 1 Samuel 16:7 says "Man looks at the outward appearence, but the Lord looks at the heart." It's easy for me (and I'm assuming some of you can say the same for yourselves) to come to conclusions and react too quickly. However, it is important that we a) seek the Lord's counsel, b) gather all the facts from the appropriate sources and c) practice patience with our reactions.

In closing I have one thing to say! I'm so thankful for the promise we find in Philippians 1:6 "For I am confidant of this very thing, that He who began a good work in me will carry it on to completion until the day of Jesus Christ."

Monday, June 26, 2006

Some Land and A Letter

Okay, so I've decided to follow the example of my good friend Jacki. Although I'm not a writer like her, I'm determined to write a blog a day (unless of course, I have a really good reason not to.) The problem with today is that I'm just not sure what to write about. Now, I could wait until later to see if something absoultly fantastic happens (not likely), or I could blog now, when I have time. Well, I'll asume my choice is rather obvious.

Today was pretty normal. I woke up a little late, ate and got ready for the day. Went to Thatcher South front desk to work - it was rather busy today. Made vegan pizza for lunch - yum, and ran errands - woo hooo! (not quite.) I did find out that God is really blessing me financially next year for my school bill far more than I could imagine - it's just like Him.

Speaking of God, I had a really good meeting with Him this morning. I began reading in Joshua 15. "Oh boy," I thought, "alottment of land - how boaring!" As I was reading, however I thought for a moment - surely there is something here that God is trying to tell me. And sure enough, as usually, God spoke to me in that still small voice. As I read about all the land the various tribes recieved and looked at the maps I realized how much territory the Isrealites really got and it struck me - God always provides so much more for His children than we could ever imagine! In fact, just this very second, I see how that's true in my own life. Just as I'm sure the Isrealites lept for joy when they saw all this amazing land God was giving them, I lept for joy when I saw my financial aid award letter today. He always provides! (You know it's funny how He drives a point home like that too).

Anyway, as I close out this blog, I want to leave you with a Psalm I read today in which God was yet again, encouraging me to trust Him more.

"God is Our refuge and strength,
A very present hlep in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth shoule change
And though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea;
though its waters roar and foam,
Though the mountains quake at its swelling pride.

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
The holy dwelling places of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her, she will not be moved;
The nations made an uproar, the kingdoms tottered;
He raised His voice, the earth melted.
The LORD of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our stronghold.

Come, behold the works of the LORD,
Who has wrought desolations in the earth.
He makes wars to cease to the end of the earth;
He breaks the bow and cuts the spar in two;
He burns the chariots with fire.
'Cease striving and know that I am God;
I will be exaulted amont the nations, I will be exaulted in the earth.'
The LORD of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our Stronghold."
~Psalm 46

Sunday, June 25, 2006

I'm Not Superwoman!!

Have you ever noticed that every once in a while you get a break in life. When you're in school those breaks are namely Thanksgiving break, Christmas break, Spring break and summer break. During these periods of our lives, we decide once-and-for-all that we are going to get caught up. We are going to get caught up on school, caught up on sleep, on friends and family and the lives of those around us, on all the little things that we want to do, but never have time for. Then, as the break comes to a close, we realize that far too few of the tasks on our list have been accomplished, and sometimes we're even more behind than we were when we began. What's with all of this?

If you haven't already guessed, this is where I'm at right now. It's not that summer break is almost over, but since I'm only working part time this summer, there were so many things I was eagerly waiting to do. There's learning to be a wife, keeping up with the house, growing closer to my family, and Arlen's family, keeping in touch with friends I haven't seen in a while, spending more time with friends that are around, devoting a lot of time to a ministry I feel called to start (more on that later), getting files on my computer orginized and the list goes on. Yesterday the bottom fell out. I discovered how exausted I felt, how far behind I am on all the wonderful things I had planned to do, and how I can't be streatched to be five places with five different people at one time.

I have been reading in Joshua lately (by the way, Joshua is a very inspiring individual). Yesterday I began reading in Joshua 9. (You'll have to read it). The basic outline is that people were deciving the Isrealites and "the men of Isreal took some of their provisions [to give to the decievers], and did not ask for the counsel of the Lord" Joshua 9:14. That was it! It hit me hard. So often I feel like things are so clear - it's a good thing, and I enjoy it, so God must want me to do it. If I have no reason to say no, why not. Yet, I don't consult with God. For the hard decisions, sure, but what about the easy stuff. Maybe it's not as easy as it seems.

I'm not superwoman. I don't claim to be. I can't keep everyone happy all the time. I can't keep up with the fast pace of this world. I can't save every friendship, or save every soul (that's God's job for sure). So what now? I pray every day, for every decision. "God, do you want me to make this appointment?" "I have two options for this time slot, which thing should I do?" "How should I spend my time for You today?" "Which people do You want me to focus on today?" No I won't get it all done, but that's okay. It's okay because with God's help I will accomplish the things that are important to Him.

Bible Study

Ok, so the words Bible study scare a lot of people. Where do I begin? What do I do next? What if I don't get it? And there's devotional time. What am I supposed to do there? Pray? Read the Bible? Is that it?

To be honest, studying the Bible is something I haven't struggled with a whole lot, but I know a lot of people have. I mean, for goodness sake, it's the biggest book I've ever seen, and it's certainly not the easiest to understand. And there are those tough parts like Revelation and Leveticus. So what's to be done? Buckle down and just drudge through it, right? Wrong.

I am a strong believer that the Bible can be interesting to everyone. That's right. The problem is too many of us think there is only one right way to study the bible. That's where we're mistaken. Don't get me wrong, there are lots of wrong ways to study the Bible too. My point is, however, that we must find what works for our personality. I mark all over my Bible, write down all sorts of questions and then search for the answers. It is also very important for me to be systematic - working through one book at a time. However, my husband jumps all around, singing in the middle of His reading and sometimes searching the Bible topically. Both of these are good, but they are very different approaches. The important thing is that we are truely seeking to find what God is saying to us through the Bible authors, not what we want Him to say, or what we think He's saying. We want to know what God is really telling us.

Anyway, I just thought it would be fun to share your favorite Bible study methods and or your favoriate thing to do for devotions/worship. Who knows, you might even see something you'd like to try.

Blogging Away

Ok so we blog. But what is blogging really? How do we decide what to write? How do we know anyone will even care? It's kind of a funny system really, and although I participate with the scripting of my own blog, and I enjoy reading my friend's entries, I can't help but ask these questions. So I guess I have a few questions for anyone who's game to answer. (Don't worry - I'll answer my own questions as well.)

1. Why do you write a blog?
I honestly can't answer that question. I guess to let other people know what's going on in my life

2. Why do you read other people's blogs?
To find out what's going on in my friend's lives.

3. What is your favoriate kind of blog to read?
I honestly like the ones that are just kind of random thoughts. I don't know why - I just like them.

4. What is your least favoriate kind of blog to read?
Surveys (heh *blushes*)

5. What is your favoriate kind of blog to write?
I haven't done it enough to really say yet.

The End :D