Posted in Bible Study, Devotion

A metaphor too cool to keep in

This is too good of a metaphor not to share even though I should be going to bed.

“and he made from one man every nation of all mankind to live on all the the face of the Earth, having determined allotted periods and boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yes he is actually not far from each one of us.” Acts 17:24-27
I’ve heard the first part of this verse quoted by my Alma mater many times since it’s their motto, but maybe I’ve never read it in context. Some cool truths popped out at me tonight. God made the Earth with the intention of separating us into time periods and nations. The tower of Babel wasn’t God trying to discipline; it was part of the plan. That’s not even the metaphor I’m most excited to share. 

God separated the people so that we could seek him and feel our way to him. Feel for him? Seeking is usually done with the eyes. I seek for a friend in a crowd by looking, not feeling with my hands, but someone who can’t see with their eyes needs to feel. Therefore, God is saying here that we are blind. How are we blind? Both Paul and John refer to us being blinded by sin in 2 Corinthians 4:4 and John 12:39-40. Before knowing Christ, we can’t see. Only through Christ are the blinders removed.

It just gets cooler though. Here we are, before believing, grasping at anything around us hoping it’s what we desire, even if we don’t know what we desire. We’re blind and can’t see past our own sin, but God is still right there! Verse 27 says he’s not far. He’s there waiting for just the right moment to reveal himself and remove the blinders, but in the meantime he’s still close by. He was there letting us feel his presence and protecting us before we even knew who he was. 

That’s some pretty cool stuff. Do you interpret this passage the same way, or do you see something different?

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Posted in Book Review

The Hiding Place

“Today I know that such memories are the key not to the past, but to the future. I know that the experiences of our lives, when we let God use them, become the mysterious and perfect preparation for the work He will give us to do.” 

Corrie ten Boom lived a life devoted to God in spite of her rough and often life-threatening situations. In her book, The Hiding Place, she tells the story of opening her home to Jews needing a place to hide. After being caught and arrested, she describes the horrors of jail then prison then prison camp. At times the prison camp closely resembled the concentration camps. Through all of the insecurity, pain, and misery, her faith in God rings loud and clear. Just as she said, she allowed God to work in her life, and he prepared her for every step, even at times protecting her supernaturally.

“There are no ifs in God’s world. And no places that are safer than other places. The center of His will is our only safety.”

Her story left me speechless in ways. She continually trusted that God would provide despite all around her signs of failure. She did his work until she died. I’m not currently in a place where I am in pain or in need of anything, but I still want to be in God’s will. It’s only there that I can work and rest in peace.

“But even kalte kost (bread ration alone) would be a small price to pay… for the precious books I clutched between my hands.”

Finally, Ms. ten Boom’s devotion to God is the most admirable thing about her. In this instance, she’s risking losing food in order to keep her copy of the Bible. Later she risks losing her life to smuggle a Bible into the prison camp. It makes me ponder how I would react if I was told I couldn’t own a Bible anymore. 

I’d highly recommend everyone to read this story.

story.

Posted in Bible Study, Devotion

Idols are more than golden calves

“Anything I put before my God is an idol. Anything I want with all my heart is an idol. Anything I can’t stop thinking of is an idol.” 

These words come from Jimmy Needham’s song “Clear the Stage”, and they’ve made me address some of the idols in my life. No, I’m not building a golden statue, but in my mind certain ideas take up more head space than my thoughts of God. Those gradually become idols in my life. It’s not a conscious decision, but that’s how Satan works. He stealthily slips in a thought here and an image there until it consumes my thoughts. 

“Take a break from all the plans that you had made and sit at home and wait for God to whisper… Shine the light on every corner of your life until the pride and lust and lies are in the open.”

That’s what I did. I spent some time the past few days (thank you for fall break, God!) praying and reading the Bible. Every passage I’ve read lately has either revealed a dark part of my heart or given me strength and hope of destroying the darkness. Those are God’s whispers. 

“Then read the word and put to test the things you’ve heard until your heart and soul are stirred and rocked and broken.”

Here is some of what I came up with.

“Think on whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, of excellence, and worthy of praise” Phil 4:8

“I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.” Psalm 16:8

When these thoughts begin to take up too much space, I’ll look to God instead. I’ll ask for strength, and I’ll praise him. 

“We can sing all we want to. Worship is more than a song.”

To listen to the full song, follow this link.

Thanks for taking the time to read my thoughts. You’re awesome for supporting me.

Posted in Bible Study, Blogging for Books, Book Review

God Loves

I don’t have much, if any, experience in the romantic love department, so I’ve often just skimmed over Song of Songs as I’ve read the Bible. Dee Brestin’s He Calls You  Beautiful helped bring out the metaphor of the book. It’s not just a physical romance between a man and a woman; it’s the image of us as the dark-skinned scorned woman being wooed and falling in love with our King, God. Here are some truths I derived from reading this book.

  • God desires to have a relationship with each of us in spite of our sin.
  • Our eyes are to be like dove’s eyes: focused forward, avoiding distraction.
  • Just like in a marriage, God asks us to love him in sickness and in health. God never gets sick, but it may feel at times as if he’s not present or a little crazy. We still love him.
  • Just like the groom leaves the bride after she refuses to leave her mother and marry him, sometimes God leaves us to the consequences of our sins. Just like the groom though, God comes back to call us to him again.
  • In the bigger context, the bride in Solomon’s story represents the day when Jesus’ followers will be reunited. In her name you can literally find peace and in many instances she represents the new Jerusalem. You’ll have to read the book to get a better understanding of this metaphor.
  • At times my faith may become lukewarm, but just like the lover in the poem, God will stand at the door of my heart and knock until I open back up to him. Similarly he also leaves us with his word just as the groom left myrrh in the door to remind us of his love and push us to run back to him.

Though my earthly heart longs for marriage so much that it hurts at times, I am thankful that this book reminded me of my position as a bride of Christ. He has wooed me, chosen me, and continues to express his love for me. Someday we’ll be joined together for eternity in heaven, and it will be more sweet than any earthly marriage. For now I’ll keep preparing myself to meet my King, and maybe an earthly husband will be in God’s will as well.

Many waters cannot quench love, nor floods drown it. (Song 8:7)

I received this book from Blogging for Books.

Posted in Crafts, Life

Home


They say home is where the heart is, but they never say how many homes one can have. My heart is pulled so many different places because the people I care about are spread out. I call different locations “home” but the place always seems to lack a little something.

Maybe the problem is that none of these places are truly home because nothing on Earth can measure up to the home God has prepared for me in heaven. I just pray that each of the people in my earthly homes can join me in our eternal home.

Philippians 3:20-21 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.
(By the way, I painted this canvas! Also I think it’s time for some more recent pictures to grace my walls.)

Posted in Education, Life

Kicking the Crazy

School has started, and the crazy has kicked in. Last week felt easy, but this week, between prep-work, actual teaching, sponsor duties, club duties, bookkeeping, and grad school classes, I feel like school is officially back in session. Oh wait, it’s only Monday.

Now more than ever I want to remember to do two things: breathe and trust God. If I can continue to do those two things, maybe I can keep my sanity among all of the items on my to-do list. Speaking of to-do lists, those two items are actually at the top.

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In an effort to actually breathe and trust God, I have tried to implement a few new/re-visited routines that will hopefully keep me focused and sane.

  1. Evening walks. Back in college, my roommate and I took walks together almost every night because it helped both of us de-stress from the day. While taking walks together isn’t feasible anymore and I can’t go right before bed like we used to (crazy skunks and other critters), I am trying to get some sort of walk in during the cooler evenings. As a bonus, I have gotten to see God’s masterpieces a few times this week.

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2. Morning Bible time. This summer my Bible reading slacked to an embarrassing place. With the start of school came a chance for a new routine. I usually read in the morning, but I have shifted a few of my other usual morning tasks around in order to make Bible reading a priority instead of a “if I have time” task.

3. Time with friends. I am trying to be intentional about contacting and seeing friends in a non-school kind of way. That’s a difficult one because I can very easily get caught up in work every evening. Also it’s difficult because of the much needed item number four.

4. Me time. Sometimes I need to say no to others in order to spend some time for just me. This may mean missing out on fun events or not going to every sports event at school, but as an introvert I am realizing more each year that I need time alone to relax and do whatever strikes my fancy.

Hopefully I’ll be able to stick to these plans as well as adjust to other new ideas in order to keep my sanity and joy this school year.

Posted in Bible Study

God, I’m so…(blank)

This comic was posted by someone on Facebook, and while I chuckled, I also had some deeper thoughts in relation to it. 

This may be how we treat God sometimes, or at least I know I have. I have a bad day, and I rush to God and start complaining. My complaints are even sometimes similar to Dagwood. I expect God to listen to all of my complaints, and then I expect to move on with life. Sometimes I feel guilty about complaining, so I throw in a few comments about how great he is. Mostly though I just vent.

I don’t think God completely minds when I come to him with my problems and complaints. He does urge us to come to him when we’re weak and weary. He is pretty great that way. In fact he’s better than Dagwood’s doctor in that he can provide a miracle cure for my ailments. 

My problem lies in the time though when that’s all I come to God for over a period of time. If I’m only coming to God when I have problems, what kind of relationship is that, and how does that depict how I view God? God is so much bigger and more capable than any problem I’ll ever have. I’m grateful for that, so when things are going well, I need to come to him as well and thank him. In fact I can also thank him during problems as well because I know he’s capable and willing to give me rest. 

Thanks God!