Friday, July 28, 2006

Life Gets Busy, Wedding Pictures Get Posted

I'm sorry I haven't written anything in such a long time. My life has been so increadibly busy. I can't wait until I can write at least one good blog a week. I like it - it's so much fun!

I've been working lots of extra hours and running around being busy. And guess what! I finally started my physical therapy for my knee injury that happend last summer! Horray!! I'm on the way to recovery. My PT even said that Arlen and I will be able to do the backpacking trip we've been longing to go on. If I keep improving at the rate I am currently, we'll even be able to go before the school year starts.

Other than that life has been pretty much normal. God has been teaching me many lessons, as usual! Today He's been pointing out quite a few areas we need to work on. (It's actually a little bit overwhelming). However as James says, the perserverance that comes from such a revealing inhances our characters. And, as always, God doesn't just leave us there to suffer through it alone. He gives us wisdom to make it through - we just have to ask and trust that He will do as He has promised. (James 1) Sometimes that's really hard for me. I feel like wisdom is something I lack in droves, but God will keep working one me.

Well, before I run off to do a massive house cleaning before Sabbath rolls around (we're going batwatching tonight - how fun is that?) I must give you the web address for our wedding pictures. It is Click on weddings and then click the link with our name on it. Enjoy!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

An Answer

When I woke up yesterday, I was filled with doubt and confusion. I didn't know what to do, and I felt as if all guidance and direction was gone. I was rather grouchy and felt mucy like Eeyore. So, I decided to write a letter to God (I keep a prayer journal). After pouring out my soul to the Lord, He began working on my heart.

I was working on some lessons for Joshuas House, and God really used that to speak to me. I was studying Luke 1-2:20. Here, there were three promises God made and followed through with. He took away and gave Zacharias back his speech, He gave Elizabeth the birth of John, and He gave Mary the birth of Jesus! This tells me that I serve a God who keeps His promises. And, He has made promises for me. He has promised to guide me (Ps 23:3), He has promised to provide for me (Mt 6:31-32), and He has promised never to leave me (Joshua 1:5). With these promises in mind and the knowledge that God will follow through, I have peace. :)

Friday, July 07, 2006

It's Going to be OK?

I’m totally impatient, and I’m a bit of a worry wart. If something doesn’t go according to my plans, I have a tendency to freak out a little bit. I have to have things planned well in advance too. For example, on Wednesday, Arlen and I were getting ready to go up to his house to eat and spend the evening with his family. It’s kind of an informal weekly family night we enjoy together. Just before we were ready to leave, Arlen was able to get a hold of a client he’d been trying to reach for a while. Immediately I began freaking out. “We’re going to be late,” I thought. “They’re going to have to start eating without us. I’ll feel weird coming in late.” You get the idea. All this and it wasn’t a big deal at all that we were a little late.

I was reading in 1 Samuel 1-3 today. Chapter 3 is where God calls Samuel and tells him all of the things that are going to happen. One of the things that God says is that He is going to destroy Eli’s wicked sons. Of course, Samuel doesn’t want to tell this to Eli. What kind of reaction will he give? Well, of course Eli is curious about what the Lord had to say; and Samuel, being the good kid he was, told Eli. Now, here’s the part that really caught my attention. Eli’s response to the news of his sons’ pending death was one of total faith and trust. All he said was “It is the Lord; let him do what seems good to him” (1 Samuel 3:18). Obviously, I’m not that good at letting go of my circumstances and trusting God to be in control. Now I pray that the next time I get anxious about a situation that is beyond my control, I can stop, take a deep breath, remember Eli, and trust God!

My Vision

Wow, it seems a lot has happened in the past couple of days. I think the coolest thing was that yesterday I met with someone about my dream ministry. The meeting went really well, and things are going to start rolling. It’s going to take a couple years before the ministry actually gets going (I’ll be laying the ground work until then), but I’m excited about it none the less.

Now that I’ve mentioned this ministry several times, I guess it’s about time I start telling you what it’s all about. God has opened my eyes so that I could see a major problem in our lives as Christians. This problem is that we learn to compartmentalize Christ in our lives rather than allowing Him to infiltrate every part of our being. We go to church and speak of God, we may even spend time with Him in various worship programs and our morning devotions. Yet what happens when those programs, Bible studies, and devotions are over. Do they affect our lives utterly and completely? Are we sharing Christ with those we come in contact with? Are we allowing full and total surrender? All too often I think we keep Christ in His compartments.

The other observations that I have made in our post-modernistic society is our dependence on our own intellect and reasoning and our lack of turning to the Bible for the final word. Many of the college students around me, raised in the church (myself included) have never read the Bible all the way through. I hear more sermons on the thoughts and opinions of others than I do on what the Bible has to say. I could easily go to a weeks worth of worship programs without once opening the Word of God. Yet, this is God's main tool for communication.

So, what are we to do about these problems? This is where God has planted a seed in my heart. Kids learn young and often their morals and values are set by the time they are a thirteen (Barna Research Group). Children learn the most by example. While parents can tell their children about the love of Christ, the importance of a relationship with Him and the need to follow His commandments, they must show this as being true in their own lives. Are they teaching their kids through encouragement and example to seek God first when faced with an obstacle in their lives? Are they encouraging personal time with God? Are they openly sharing throughout the day the blessings God is giving them in their own lives and the prayers that God is answering? Do they encourage witnessing by example? Are they helping their children to integrate Christ into every part of their lives? Unfortunately all, to often, the answer to this question is no.

Christ has given me a burden for all of this. I have a desire to provide materials to parents so that they may strengthen and deepen their walk with Christ, so that their children may grow as they follow the examples of their parents. I also feel a burden to write books for children that are 100% Bible based; books that will not substitute the Bible, but will teach the children to go to the Bible. Each book would have a parent's guide with it so that the parents can be involved in sharing that story with their children in a real way, can discuss the issues, and can dig deeper into the passages for their own edification. I am also interested in providing material for children to learn how to study the Bible on their own.

However my vision doesn't stop there. I would love to provide two montly newsletters - one for children, and one for parents - to help them on their spiritual journey. I envision a website with forums so that parents can share with each other, where their will be answers for various questions and a place to e-mail more specific questions and to seek for a personal answer. This site would be filled with resources for parents to help build their families to be strong. However, this would not be the end. There would be a whole section just for children. Here, there could be downloadable books and Bible studies. There would also be the question and answer section as with the parent's section. The coolest part about this is that there would be games for the kids which required the use of their Bible. One important thing about this is that it would have in mind the growth of all Christian families. Not just Adventist Homes. Just as ADRA provides relief for people all over the world, not just Adventists, so would this program provide help to any family who would want it.

I know this is kind of long, but this is my calling in life. Thanks for sharing in my excitement with me, and pray for me as God guides me in this venture!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Fire Away!

Sorry I’ve been kind of spotty with my writing these past few days, but I’ve been busy; oh so busy! I’ve been working two jobs, and have been enjoying Fourth of July festivities when work is over. Yay!

Yesterday Arlen and I went with his family to the symphony that was playing for the big celebration here in our home town. (I know, they were a day early.) I was proud to see that my nephew is officially unafraid of me now. He was terrified of my big wedding dress and hasn’t really been comfortable around me ever since. Yesterday, however, he treated me just like he did before the scary white monster appeared.

The Fourth of July has always been kind of a funny holiday to me. People drive from various distances to a very crowded spot to stay up late and watch big, colorful fireworks explode. There is an Adventures in Odyssey episode called “By Dawn’s Early Light.” It’s about the American Revolution and the birth of our national anthem. It’s actually one of my favorite episodes. You see, it gives me a better mental picture of what was going on in the time of our country’s birth. As Francis Scott Key sat aboard the ship, watching the bombing of Fort McHenry, the only way he could tell how his fellow Americans were doing was by the state of the flag. If the flag was still raised high, the men were still fighting. If the flag was lowered, they had surrendered and lost the battle. The only way he could tell the condition of the flag was by the bursts of the cannon shells in the air.

Today I was thinking, and I realized that it is much the same way with us. We are in the midst of a spiritual warfare, and we have a choice to make. When the shelling gets too hard to bare, we have two options. The first is that we can lower our flag, retreat, and surrender. The second is to keep our flags high, no matter how tattered and torn it becomes. Exodus 14 recounts the parting of the red sea. The Israelites were terrified. They were sure they were done for and that there was nothing they could do about it. Yet, tucked away in this exciting chapter, there is a small verse, a small verse which speaks volumes. In verse 14, Moses tells the people, “God will fight for you, you need only to be still.” That’s the key. When the fighting gets so bad we can’t take it anymore, we must not surrender and forfeit our loyalty to the cross. We must pray, we must cry out to the Lord, and we must let Him fight for us. I pray that God will give me the strength to hold my banner high, even when the going gets tough!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Hello?? Can anybody hear me?!?!

Honestly, this weekend has been a really rough one for me. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had a good Sabbath and have had a lot of fun times too. However, I have been struggling. I often feel misunderstood, and the past few days have been no exception. There is one thing that has made things a little rougher too. On top of not feeling understood, I have not felt listened to. It’s been almost as if I’ve had to fight for everything I’ve said. It’s quite exhausting and draining to be honest.

Although I know the scale for me is much smaller, I feel as if I can relate to Jesus a little bit. The book of Mark records three times when Jesus tries to tell his disciples of His impending death. The first time, the disciples don’t even sort of get what He was trying to say, and to make matters worse, Peter argues with Him. The two other times after that, the disciples are still confused. I’m sure Jesus felt frustrated and unlistened to then.

One of my favorite texts is Hebrews 4:15 and 16. It says, “For we do not have a high priest [meaning Jesus] who cannot sympathize with our weakness, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore, let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in our time of need." Hebrews 4 is filled of the news of Christ’s comfort for us. It’s encouraging to know that even when we feel like no one in the world understands us, or no one in the world is listening, Jesus is there ready to hold us.

As I close, I am going to leave you with the words of the first and third verses of a hymn that has been playing in my mind today. It’s called “Abide with Me” and was written by Henry F. Lyte.

“Abide with me;
fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens;
Lord with me abide!
When other helpers fail,
and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless,
O abide with me!

I need Thy presence
every passing hour;
What but thy grace can
Foil the tempters power?
Who like Thyself my
guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine
O abide with me!"