Sunday, September 21, 2008

God's Approval

I have become such a skeptic. I have become someone who cares way too much about what others think of her. To my sister, missions is a joke. She thinks it's just a free plane ticket that someone recieves in order that they can brainwash the world. She thinks that the Bible is partially a history book, partially fantasy.
I used to care so much about the task that God had appointed me: to know Him and to make Him known.
Now I care way too much about what my sister thinks. For instance: Seminary.

The door has been opened for me to go to seminary free of charge. I feel as though this is an opportunity that should not be taken for granted, but everytime I think about going to seminary, I think of of what Rebecca will say when she finds out. Or about what my friends who are getting "real" masters degrees will say. This all came to my immediate attention on Thursday, and what do I do, I completely disregarded what I had read in God's Word that very same morning.

Galations 1:10
Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.

It is natural for one to desire the approval of their friends and family, but did not Jesus say
no one who has left home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in this age and, in the age to come, eternal life...

Aren't we supposed to take up our cross and follow him?

Maybe I should work on this... for now, I must do curfew checks... sorry to cut it short...

Friday, September 19, 2008

Be Quiet!

I didn't ever think that i'd actually be stern as an RA. Especially since i'm all about the pranks.

Like the one I pulled last night (that my two roommates still don't know about). Their computers were out and their facebook profiles were up and they, well, they were no where to be found. So being the trickster that I am, I tweaked their profiles up a bit, and they'll find out soon enough. Especially when people start wishing them a happy birthday... today...

There was also the time when my Spiritual Life Director, Grace, decided to steal my mattress. All things must be avenged, right? So what did Raphaela Torman, RA of East 5 do? She placed all the furniture in the living room, which included a dining table, four chairs, two couches, a tv stand and a coffee table, in her bedroom. Of course, the rooms are relatively small, so some stuff went in the en suite bathroom...

Or maybe it was the time that I stole one of my Prayer Leader's pillows, opened the window, and left its suicide note on her bed...

These might make you laugh, but apparently, I have a dark side too...
I'm pretty sure the thought that went through my head was that it would be simple, being the good guy.

Until yesterday.

Quiet hours are from 9pm - 12am, Mon-Thurs. On East 5 3&4, those quiet hours are not normally maintained, as the girls of my hall and the guys from the brother dorm like to socialize right out side the dorm in a volume that is definitely not catering to anyone's educational venture. They are told repeatedly that this is a time for study and it must be maintained or there will be consequences. But last night, let's just say last night was a circus... So in the spirit of my paid position and with sympathy for those that truly had homework to do, I told the group outside to be quiet... three times.

At about the third time I'd truly had it, and instead of being polite (like I had been the previous times), and instead of calming down before I said anything, I took my Brazilian temper down stairs and yelled.

It wasn't like I yelled anything hurtful, or malicious, I just simply said "Be quiet now! I am serious!" and I watched as about 9 20-something girls and 6 20-something guys shut up faster than you could say reprimands. They didn't just hush, they looked scared. Needless to say, I didn't ever think that I would demand that kind of quiet, even though my position calls for it, and I was completely satisfied with the end, but shocked by the means.

I suppose this means that i'm ready to have kids?

Um.... no.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Christ the Romantic

Hosea is my absolute favorite book of the Bible. It's such a beautiful story of our ever pursuing Christ. Hopefully you have read the book of Hosea, but if not, I will give you a brief summary: Hosea is a prophet who is commanded by God to marry a prostitute named Gomer. He marries her, with every intention of it being a sacred and committed relationship. Unfortunately, old habits die hard, especially for Gomer. She consistently leaves her husband to continue her life as a harlet and Hosea, who has just about every right to up and leave this unfaithful woman, continually pursues her. No matter how many times she leaves, he would get up and chase after her.
What a picture of love! God commands Hosea to do this, not to torture him, but rather to show Hosea what His love is all about. God paints a spectacular analogy between His relationship to His people, and Hosea's relationship to his unfaithful wife. God is the pursuer, the chaser the lover. God will always chase after us, our return is to run into His arms.
I had been thinking about this recently because of a love song that was recently introduced to my iPod. The song is called "More Than a Man" by Dave Barnes

I should first apologize
Cause I’ve done nothing, but I’ll do something
The good in me gets bad sometimes
But I don’t mean it
I’ll never mean it

Don’t give up on me
Baby please believe

Cause I’ll be more than a man for you
I’ll do anything you ask me to
Heartache or heaven
Baby I will, pursue
More than a man for you

I’ll try to name you deity
We all want something
I’m missing something
It Just explains the lack in me
Where I need you
And how I need you

So don’t give up on me
Baby please believe
Cause I’ll be more than a man for you
I’ll do anything you ask me to
Heartache or heaven
Baby I will, pursue
More than a man

There’s a war inside my
Heart and mind
Between the hope ahead and sin behind
All I ask, you believe in me

This song, minus a few blantantly human attributes, reminds me of Christ's love for us. God is romantic. Not in a humanly sense though, as our relationship with him is obviously different. But we are made in His image and just as a man longs for a woman and viceversa, Christ longs for us to be His. He loves us so much, he does and can do so much more than what we think someone can do for us.
Sometimes I get frustrated that i'm single, and that everyone is married, engaged or on their way there and I pray my usual "why" prayer. Every now and then I wish I had some dude sitting outside my door playing this song for me. But really, I already have God singing this song to me. He is and will be so much more than any man I ever date, or marry. Christ has been pursuing me as though I am His princess, His prized possession, and what do I do? I run to sin, or people, instead of returning the persistent love that Christ has been chasing me with. We are so apt to pursue things or people rather than the God that says:

Therefore I am now going to allure her;
I will lead her into the desert
and speak tenderly to her.
There I will give her back her vineyards,

and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope.
There she will sing as in the days of her youth,
as in the day she came up out of Egypt.
"In that day," declares the LORD,

"you will call me 'my husband';
Hosea 2:14-16a

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

On Soap

Someone recently provided an analogy involving sin and hand sanitizer. Let me expound on that analogy:
Hand sanitizer kills 99% of the bacteria on your hand, or so it says on most bottles, with a small catch. You have to wash your hands first. See, if you place hand sanitizer on your hand without washing your hands, not only have you not removed the bacteria, but you have now trapped it on your hands, creating a sort of super germ. At least this is what my friend Wyatt told me (he's always got random facts up his sleeve) when I wiped my hands with sanitizer in the middle of the Religion Hall. He explained that the germs get trapped (he read this somewhere...) and that instead of ridding your hands of germs, you're just killing a few of them and leaving the rest. For the purpose of this illustration, we will assume that this is true, and I will request that you go along with this.

Well, after reading a friend's blog about hand sanitizer representing what we do to rid ourselves of the germs (sin) in our life, I remembered this fact that Wyatt had shared with me and found it fitting to add a new aspect to that analogy. We'll assume that Hand Sanitizer is the quick fix, the works. Yes, faith without works is dead, I know this passage, but I mean the frantic works that we do assuming that that is what is going to truly make us clean. Like my aforementioned friend mentioned in his blog, the sanitizer only gives the appearance of cleanliness, a surface level cleanliness. Sometimes we'll do and do and do to get rid of the sin without really cleansing ourselves; surrendering it to God.

Tony Nolan spoke on prayer tonight and on surrendering. He used the illustration of a boy who tries and tries and tries to remove these large rocks in his front yard so that he can mow the grass that's sticking up around the edges. He strains to move the boulder, and his father sees his attempt and just sits there and watches as his boy struggles to move it. Finally, after his boy has collapsed in exhaustion, the father looks at the boy and asks, "Son, have you done all that you can to move that boulder?" And the son naturally replies, "yes! can't you see!?" The father then smiles and (please picture this with me) says to the boy "No, you haven't. You failed to ask me to help you move it."

So many times we do to try and fix but yet we never surrender. I would like to add to my friend's analogy and say that the surrender is the soap. We must first surrender our sins, the things that we hold onto, to God and then He shall cleanse us. Without first being surrendered, we cannot do. God can cleanse you. Like the blog on hand sanitizer, we must surrender ourselves, die to ourselves.