Thursday, May 26, 2011

 O Lord, thou hast searched me, and known me.
 Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off.
 Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.
 For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether.
 Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me.
 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.
 Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?
 If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.
 If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;
 Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.
 If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me.
 Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.
 For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother's womb.
 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.
 My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
 Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.
 How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!
 If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.
 Surely thou wilt slay the wicked, O God: depart from me therefore, ye bloody men.
 For they speak against thee wickedly, and thine enemies take thy name in vain.
 Do not I hate them, O LORD, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee?
 I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies.
 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:
 And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Being Real...
Today I went to see Rio... and rode her for something like the 8th time this year. She was good, as usual, but I felt kind of sad as I was lunging her. 

Because she wasn't better. 

Last year at this time, we were doing all the same things... she hasn't moved forward at all. In fact, last year she was just coming off a somewhat intense training period, and was that much more responsive and obedient. In this past year, all that has happened is that she has grown older - she turned 4 just 10 days ago. At this point in her life she could be doing anything I asked of her; I just haven't taken the time to ask her.

The thing is, this is exactly what has been staring me in the face for the past 2 days. This afternoon I was flipping through some old journals and it really hit me. 

I am in the exact same place as I was a year ago. 

I'm struggling with the same things, I'm trying to learn the same things, good grief, I even weigh the same! Only... looking at my journals from when I was 17, I can see when I was actually in a better place. Where I was listening to God's direction and stepping forward, even if it was by baby-steps, to do what He wanted me to do. When my time with Him was so much more real than it has been lately. When the only time I got serious was not when I wanted to write a serious blog-post. 
(This time I'm actually writing a serious blog-post because I want to be serious, not being serious because I want to write a serious blog-post. If that makes any sense at all.) 

At this point in my life I could be doing anything. There is nothing stopping me from doing anything for my God - except that I'm not walking beside Him. I'm not listening. My life, my mind, my heart, are filled with distractions, with things I spend my time on instead of spending it with Him. That is a sobering thought. Extremely so.

And I think I may finally have slowed down enough to stop and look at where I am. I don't like it. It's not who He has called me to be. It's now how I want to be the rest of my life.

But do you know what?

Someone gave me a graduation card this weekend - that they had been wanting to give me for the past year. Inside was written one of my absolute favorite verses, Philippians 1:6 - 
 Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.

Then someone sent me this verse last night right when I was going to bed, not very happy with myself. I worked on memorizing it all day today. 1 Corinthians 15:10 -
But by the grace of God I am what I am: and His grace which was bestowed on me was not in vain

And just a few days ago I first heard a song that I'm currently listening to on repeat like a broken record.

Grace - Laura Story
 My heart is so proud. My mind is so unfocused.
I see the things You do through me as great things I have done.
And now You gently break me, then lovingly You take me
And hold me as my father and mold me as my maker.

I ask you: "How many times will you pick me up,
When I keep on letting you down?
And each time I will fall short of Your glory,
How far will forgiveness abound?"
And You answer: " My child, I love you.
And as long as you're seeking My face,
You'll walk in the power of My daily sufficient grace."

At times I may grow weak and feel a bit discouraged,
Knowing that someone, somewhere could do a better job.
For who am I to serve You? I know I don't deserve You.
And that's the part that burns in my heart and keeps me hanging on.

I ask you: "How many times will you pick me up,
When I keep on letting you down?
And each time I will fall short of Your glory,
How far will forgiveness abound?"
And You answer: " My child, I love you.
And as long as you're seeking My face,
You'll walk in the power of My daily sufficient grace."
You are so patient with me, Lord.

As I walk with You, I'm learning what Your grace really means.
The price that I could never pay was paid at Calvary.
So, instead of trying to repay You, I'm learning to simply obey You
By giving up my life to you For all that You've given to me.

I ask you: "How many times will you pick me up,
When I keep on letting you down?
And each time I will fall short of Your glory,
How far will forgiveness abound?"
And You answer: " My child, I love you.
And as long as you're seeking My face,
You'll walk in the power of My daily sufficient grace."

That first verse could not describe me better... but He loves me. He does not bestow His grace in vain. I am His, and He will not let me go. He is so patient with me... 
and as another one of my favorite verses, Psalm 138:8, says, 
The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me: Thy mercy, O Lord, endureth for ever:

and then continues with my prayer:
forsake not the works of thine own hands. 
To which He has already replied, saying in Deuteronomy 31:6 - 
 Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid... for the Lord thy God, He it is that doth go with thee; He will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.

I'm ready move forward. I want to go deeper, to go 'farther up and further in!' simply in knowing my Lord. I want to grow into the person He wants me to be.

Hope is a beautiful thing... and it is mine because I know God is gracious, and I know He loves me, though I never have and never will deserve that perfect love. I can begin to grow again, because I can do all things through the One who strengthens me. For He it is that doth go with me... who will perfect that which concerneth me... who will continue to perform the work He began until the end... because His grace was not bestowed upon me in vain. 

And know what? I rode Rio bareback for the first time tonight. 

Things are beginning to change. 

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Living With Confidence in a Chaotic World by Dr. David Jeremiah

"Do you have a regular meeting in your home? Do you say 'Amen'? Do you pray? Do you say 'Praise the Lord'?" 
"Yes," the pastor's wife replied - she was the one who answered the door. 
The city official went on to tell the pastor's wife that the Bible study they held in their home was in violation of local ordinances. A few days later the couple received a written warning that listed "unlawful use of land" and warned them to "stop religious assembly or apply for a major use permit" - a process that could cost tens of thousands of dollars in legal and other fees.
              - condensed from Living with Confidence in a Chaotic World

Not surprising, is it? I'm pretty sure everyone knows this is happening in many countries around the world, countries where it is dangerous to worship the Lord. People are not allowed to have religious assemblies there. But this particular incident occurred in San Diego, California, two years ago. Does that surprise you? The world is indeed growing more chaotic – and there is a greater need that ever for people to be living confidently for Christ.

The cover of the book says What on earth should we do now? and that is the question Dr. Jeremiah addresses inside. After a brief introduction come 10 straightforward chapters: 

-        Stay Calm
-        Stay Compassionate
-        Stay Constructive
-        Stay Challenged
-        Stay Connected
-        Stay Centered
-        Stay Confident
-        Stay Consistent
-        Stay Committed
-        Stay Convinced 

The titles may provide a concise summary, but they do not quite show all that went into taking Biblical principles and explaining how to apply them in the midst of increasing chaos in an easy-to-understand manner, while illustrating each point with a story or an example. It was well done.

I don't read a lot of non-fiction, especially when I have three textbooks to memorize every week, but David Jeremiah looked safe, and I figured I'd try it out. I’m glad I did. Living with Confidence was the only non-fiction book I read during the school semester, and it held my attention all the way through. I really appreciated his use of Bible verses throughout, keeping the book based on God’s Word. Also, given all the difficult material I was already reading, I was glad he made it simple. His writing style is enjoyable and interesting. (Of course, anyone who would go through the global crises that happened in the past year and match them up with letters of the alphabet – and then say “How that will come in handy, I have no clue” – is probably going to click with me. :) I definitely recommend it to any Christian who would like some encouragement in living confidently.

(Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A Jingle of Words

By Betty Stam 
(a martyred missionary to China... whose sister I once was in a church play. :D and now I find out I love her poetry!)

Don’t you love the common words
In usage all the time;
Words that paint a masterpiece
Words that beat a rhyme
Words that sing a melody,
Words that leap and run
Words that sway a multitude
Or stir the heart of one?

Don’t you love the lively words
Flicker, leap and flash,
Tumble, stumble, pitch and toss,
Dive and dart and dash,
Scramble, pirouette and prance
Hustle, hurdle and fling,
Waddle, toddle, trot and dance,
Soar, and snatch and swing?

Don’t you love the lengthy words,
Artificial, propogate
Revelation, elevate,

Don’t you love the noisy words --
Clatter, pop and bang,
Crackle, cackle, yowl and yap
Snicker, snare and sneeze,
Screech and bellow, slash and now,
Whistle, whine and wheeze?

Don’t you love the colorful words,
Amber, rose and gold,
Orchid, orange and cerise
Crimson, and emerald?
Purple, plum and lavender
Peach and pursian blue
Turquise, matrix, jade and jet
Hazel, honedew?

Yes, with just the common words
In usage everywhere,
You can capture incidents
Beautiful and rare.
In words you have a weapon,
More mighty than a gun;
You can sway the multitude,
Or stir the heart of one.


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