Sunday, February 28, 2010

Neh 1:11-2: O Lord, I beseech thee, let now thine ear be attentive to the prayer of thy servant, and to the prayer of thy servants, who desire to fear thy name: and prosper, I pray thee, thy servant this day, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man. For I was the king's cupbearer. And it came to pass in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king, that wine was before him: and I took up the wine, and gave it unto the king. Now I had not been beforetime sad in his presence. Wherefore the king said unto me, Why is thy countenance sad, seeing thou art not sick? this is nothing else but sorrow of heart. Then I was very sore afraid, And said unto the king, Let the king live for ever: why should not my countenance be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers' sepulchres, lieth waste, and the gates thereof are consumed with fire? Then the king said unto me, For what dost thou make request? So I prayed to the God of heaven. And I said unto the king, If it please the king, and if thy servant have found favour in thy sight, that thou wouldest send me unto Judah, unto the city of my fathers' sepulchres, that I may build it.

Nehemiah asked God to hear his prayer and grant him mercy as he tried to follow God. When an opportunity arose do what God had called him to do, he was "very sore afraid." That's really scared. But he immediately took it, and told the king what was on his heart. The king listened, and Nehemiah continued crying out to God for the words to speak, and he kept speaking.

Nehemiah had a temple to build. My body is the temple of the Living God, and I have "temples to build" as well. Look at how he goes about doing it. Really, the entire book of Nehemiah is an amazing book to read about witnessing to others and preaching the gospel.

First, he fasts and prays. Then he takes the opportunity that is presented. He does not wait until it's the perfect time, until the king is in a good mood, until he doesn't look awful and feel worse, until he feels ready. He begins to speak. And it gets easier as he goes along, but he keeps praying, and he does what God calls him to do. No matter what obstacles are thrown in his way, he continues on in obedience.

That gives me something to think about. I can't keep pushing off the work I see before me. I don't know how much time I or others have, and I need to allow "the good hand of my God upon me" to work out His will through me. The command, "Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel," is given to all of us. How has God called you to do it?

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Stopped to get gas on the way home from the hospital, and was standing there while it pumped, praying that this time, I would give a tract when I payed inside.
Gas stations are always fun places at which to hand out tracts, but lately I've been ducking out at the last minute... too many people around, they don't look friendly, I feel stupid... yeah. Totally Lame with a capital L.
I start for the door. Right by the handle is a big cigarette sign, which says, "Go everywhere with boldness."
Wow. Yes, Sir!
I thought that was kind of cool. :)
So I went in there with boldness, anyway, and the too many people didn't notice and nobody got mad at me and I didn't feel as stupid as I would have if I had walked out still holding a tract! I'm getting better at this. But little things like that really help me out! :) I know. I'm goofy. But God is so good!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Her Heart

...awakens each day to new discovery,

is steadfast to the task,

cherishes the passing momennts,

and dreams of things still to come.

~Peter Hart

just read this in the front of my journel today and thought it was interesting
it's missing the most important, however: prepared to seek and love the Lord

2 Chronicles 19:3 Nevertheless there are good things found in thee, in that thou hast taken away the groves out of the land, and hast prepared thine heart to seek God.

Ezra 7:9-10 ...according to the good hand of his God upon him. For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.

I've just been noticing this mention of preparing one's heart, and realizing that it must be important. It's interesting that it is not even "you have sought God," but merely, "you have prepared your heart to seek God"! Prepare your heart to seek God, be at least "willing to be willing," and God will guide you to Himself, and be found of you. When we feel too weak to seek after and follow God, we can be preparing our hearts to do so. Is He not good and merciful to us in our weakest moments? His strength is made perfect in weakness. In His love, He will bless even this.

Monday, February 22, 2010

The hardest thing about that party was keeping it a surprise. I thought with me at my grandparent's house it wouldn't be too difficult, especially as my grandparents were able to get me a meeting room at a hotel near our house and were willing to drive me to down for my next visit with my family.

But getting my mom down to the hotel to pick me up proved quite difficult.

She saw no reason why she should have to pick me up at exactly 3pm, or why, if my grandparents were driving down, they couldn't come to our house. There were time conflicts, she was going to be somewhere else until 5pm and it just really didn't make sense.

Plans were thought up, discarded, implemented then discarded... nothing was working. Finally, in almost-desperation, I asked one friend, who has known her forever and lives right by the hotel, to try to get her down there. She called my mom and asked her to bring my brothers down to audition to play at the Farmer's Market this summer!

Didn't work.

In actual-desperation, I looked at my grandpa and said, "Didn't you ever train your daughter to just do as she was told?!"

Five minutes later he got off the phone, with her promise to be there before 3:30.

Although this is in character for my grandpa, she was quite mad at him. He was so uncaring about what she had going on that day and what her plans were - just, "be there." What did he have to tell her, in person, no less, that was so important? Talking to one friend, she told her how annoyed she was, and added, "It had better be good." (How that friend managed to not crack up, and even to gently encourage her to go, I have no idea!) She even called up my uncle to find out if he knew what on earth was wrong with their father! I don't know what all he told her, but being a born story-teller, it was something about my grandpa turning over his resort to my younger brother. Which, although not exactly false (he does say things like that once in a while...), was not really what my grandpa was planning on telling her when he came down this weekend!

The movie we got of her face when she walked in the door was good.


Two things.

One, why do we tend to wait until we are desperate before we are willing to go to The One who we know can fix it? Why do we try every other avenue, even those impractical and bothersome to others, before we turn and ask for help in the right place? God is able to accomplish anything - I need to go to Him first, not let some misguided sense of pride (that awful thing!) keep me from coming to Him immediately.

Two, listening to my grandpa on the phone, I loved it when he said, "It's very important. Have I ever led you wrong?" Of course, being human, the next thing he said was, "Hey, don't give me that." :) But my mom came. And at the party, I was not the only one who thought of this: When our Heavenly Father asks us to do something, we can know "it's going to be good." We can trust His wisdom and His love for us, no matter how much we do not understand. His plans are for our good and He cares infinitely for us, and He will never lead us wrong.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Oddly enough, the parallel that I thought of this week has to do with love! :)

I just finished reading a book about a man who married a queen, saving her from danger, from her enemies, and from herself. He had loved her as long as he could remember, even though she had hated him, had captured him, and had cut off his right hand. Later in the book, it becomes evident that if he had not lost his hand, he would have been unable to marry her and win her love - which he did after offering her a choice between himself and death. As I was wondering what kind of love would survive torture, I realized what a perfect picture the book was.

God sacrificed His right-hand Man, Jesus Christ, in order to save us. Not only did His love survive, this sacrifice was essential if we were to be able to live with Him. Despite our hatred, our disdain, and the wrong we did Him, He has saved us from sin, from death, and from ourselves. And he places before us the same choice: death or Life ever after with Him. We can choose to see the amazing love He has for us and to spend our life serving Him, or to turn from His love and destroy ourselves fighting against things too big for us. Somehow reading about it terms of a human relationship illustrated to me again how very great is God's love for us. There was no reason for the man to love the queen, yet he did, no matter what she was like. Humanly speaking, it seemed crazy. Yet God's love is even greater! He is perfect, and He gave of His perfection to make us like Him. Think about that Love today, and praise Him.

Rom 8:32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?
Jud 1:21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
Eph 5:2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.
1Jn 4:16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
1Jn 4:9-10 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
Eph 3:17-19That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
His thoughts said, "The hate in the world is like a horror of great darkness."
His father said, "Love, not hate, is eternal. Love, not hate, was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, before ever the earth was. When there were no depths, Love was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was Love brought forth. When I appointed the foundations of the earth, then Love was by Me, as One brought up with Me: and Love was daily My delight, rejoicing always before Me, rejoincing in My habitable earth. That which was at the beginning, that alone abideth. The woe and grief and cruelty of man to man - these are of time. Love is of Eternity. Disbelieve this and heart will break. Believe it and thou canst endure." ~Amy Carmichael

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Another tag...

Here are the rules of the tag:
1. List 8 stories or books you'd like to live in. (for two weeks or so)
2. List eight other bloggers who deserve this award.
3. Comment on their blog, and let them know they've won an award

That's hard. The books I love to read are not necessarily the ones I'd like to live in! :) Let's see...

1. Elsie Dinsmore, especially the middle books in the series. I could probably handle Southern Plantations...

2. The Bronze Bow. I always liked this book, although I'm not sure I would have enjoyed Israel during ~30AD.

3. Laddie. There, that's a book I really like and could live in!

4. The Black Stallion. Cut out the desert island and eating sea weed, and being a jockey, oh, and living in a city, and I want to live in this book. :D

5. Chronicles of Narnia. Ok, I have to put that, because when I first read The Last Battle, I was furious. I wanted to go there so badly, I couldn't believe Narnia had just been destroyed. (I was like 8 or 9.) :)

6. Battle for Black Rock. I would like to have known Jim Craig.

7. The Good Master. Yes, most of these are kid's books, but ones that I've liked since reading them years ago.

8. Flight to Glory. This is one of the coolest books... and one I can actually imagine being in, although I am very unlike the characters. :) It's a good book.

And I tag:

1. Mike
2. Jessica
3. Leah
4. Emily
5. Felicity
6. Lizzy
7. Gray
8. Lady Blanche Rose

Monday, February 8, 2010

Real Tag

If you could have one thing -- whatever you wanted, what would it be?

One thing I've desired of the Lord... To be able to make God known - to glorify Him with my life.

If you were given time everyday in which you had to pray for one person -- and always the same one-- who would it be?

Right now it would be one of my brothers.

Are you committed to praying for that person every day?

Actually... not really. I generally will not commit to do things - it is better never to make a vow than to make one and break it, you know? Praying for that brother each day is a goal I have, but not a commitment I've made. Actually, I want to pray for each person in my family every day, it's just that sometimes certain members need more prayer than others. :)

If you could accomplish one specific task in life, what would it be?

Same as number one - glorify God with my life.

If you could pick one character trait -- the only one you get -- for yourself, what would it be?

But the greatest of these is love.

If you could do only one thing all your life, what would it be?

Show people my Savior and make them want to know Him.

What is your favorite attribute of God?

His infinite, everlasting, unfathomable, incredible, wonderful, matchless, perfect Love.

What is one thing you struggle with in your walk with God the most?

Self. Why is it so stubborn in refusing to die?

What is one thing God has been teaching you lately?
The latest thing was today when I took some extra time to pray... it is so wonderful to talk to Him and spend time with Him, and I have not been doing it enough. I allow reading the Bible and praying to become quick to-do's so easily! My time with Him is good - but it is so much better when I focus on Him and listen, instead of just making sure I get it in.
What is one way in which God has shown you, personally, His abundant grace?

One way... well...knowing that He is directing my life has been so wonderful these past few years. So many what looked like random circumstances in my life have arisen and then suddenly become a great blessing! One was that in 10th grade I was going to take AP Biology class at high school, but somehow I never got around to enrolling. That October our great-grandma came to our house very ill. The month was taken up with helping her, and in the months following her death I did not enjoy my schoolwork at all and had a hard time motivating myself to get anything done. Trying to picture all of that happening while I was taking a college-level biology course at a school 25 minutes away (and needing a ride there and back each day), having to work like crazy on a hard class when I was missing my great-grandma - yuck. Another is that, instead of graduating last year, I stayed in school an extra year. After deciding to do that, we found out that my grandma had cancer. Since I was not already in college, I was able to stay with my grandparents for about four months during her chemo and help her out. Also, this extra year has given me more time to figure out what I want to do... and so I am still living with my grandparent's, getting residency requirements filled and spending time with them! The year before I got Rio and was able to keep her at home while her leg healed, which I never could have done this year... Just the way the past few years have fit together gets me excited to see what God has planned for me in the next few!

What is your favorite Bible verse? Why?

Right now I really like a combination of Philippians 2:15-16, Matthew 5:14, Proverbs 11:30, and Daniel 5:3.
Phil 2:15-16 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life;
Mat 5:14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
Pro 11:30 ...he that winneth souls is wise.
Dan 12:3 And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.

These verses remind me of the meaning of my name (which is bright light consecrated to God) and my purpose in being on earth.

What is your favorite book of the Bible? Why?

The book of Daniel. I love the whole backdrop of the Babylonian Empire, and the absolute fearlessness of Daniel and his friends as they show the known world at the time who their God is.

What is the most painful trial God has given you? What have you learned from it?

Probably some health issues that really bothered me for a while during the past few years. I learned that we don't understand so many things until life gets harder. That God answers prayer. That no matter what is going on in my life, with my health, or anything, He is my Rock and my Comforter. I learned to love Him more. And saw that I needed to grow up a whole lot more! :)

What is the greatest blessing God has given you?

Besides salvation, :) I'd have to say my family. I can't imagine having any other!

What is your biggest temptation?

I'm not really sure... unfortunately the one that comes to mind immediately is wasting time.

What is your most current praise of God?

I did well on my first English Quiz! I'm spending time with my family! It's beautiful outside!

I tag: Charity Anne,
Emily Anne!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

While taking my first English Quiz (just before the deadline today), :P I was surprised by the speed with which I was able to answer the questions - and also that I only got 1 answer wrong!

See, I don't remember much from the A Beka Language books I used to do. (Or actually... anything, really, except the stories I had to write for them.) :) I have never been able to diagram a sentence. I can't spell. (Vive la spell check!) I could go on..

Somehow, though, I was able to do well on this quiz. Besides praying about it, :) I think the reason was all of the reading I have done. You get used to how the sentences are supposed to look and then it is easy to fix them. Because of my familiarity with the written word, which came from the thousands of pages I have read, it was easy to see what was wrong in these questions.

All of which somehow (while I was taking the quiz, no less -very distracting) made me think about college classes and the not-necessarily-very-subtle-lies that always seem to be mixed in with whatever subject you are supposed to be learning. Even the chemistry and statistics I took last year had a few parts that made me go come on! You'd think statistics would be pretty straightforward, but I guess no matter what the subject is, a secular university is going to be able to add something to it. However, if I am familiar with the truth in God's word, if I know what He has shown me, if I can recognize His hand at work in my life - I'll see the lies for what they are. I'm sure A Beka helped me (somewhat), and anything I can learn from places like Worldview Weekend will be great. But what will help me recognize lies the most is knowing the reality of Who God is - and then it will be easy to see what is wrong with the theories and philosophies I hear.


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