Friday, April 30, 2010

Focus on Today

Over and over we have been encouraged to focus on today. We cannot meet with God yesterday or tomorrow. God wants to meet with us today. I should have an expectation in every moment that God wants to astonish me with something. I am lucky that I am in a class where every day people are trying to astonish me with God's word.

In applying that, I'm realizing that I don't need to worry about tomorrow or next month or a year from now. God wants to meet with me right now. My responsibility is to love Jesus right now. I don't need to worry that in 4 days I have to work 3 nights in a row and go on a little less sleep. I don't need to worry that I might not have energy for visitors a few months from now. I don't have to worry that I might never find someone to share life with. The Bible says, Do not worry about anything, but in everything present your requests to God.

Today I'm thankful because I get to continue going to Impact 195. My boss made it possible and even changed the existing schedule so that I could be on nights. It was nothing short of a miracle in my mind. I'm thankful because every day that I get off work, I have a comfortable bed to sleep in. I have food and coffee to help motivate me out of bed. I get to look forward to surrounding myself with new friends and family at Impact every morning. I have so much to be thankful for. I've been calling my mom on my way to work more often which is so encouraging. I get to talk to Lucy and Katie whenever our schedules line up. I have a future and a hope. I am loved with an everlasting love. What do I have to complain about today?

Saturday, April 17, 2010

How bad do I really want this?

Wednesday morning after working 2 12 hour shifts and having a restless bit of sleep the day before (from drinking coffee too late in the day I've concluded), my boss pulled me into her office to tell me she is going to reject my request to go to nights. What this means is that I will work days and have to miss a lot of my classes. She said she would deny the request for various reasons... some good, some questionable in my eyes. The entire time I was thinking "Oh God, Oh God, what do you want me to do? What do you want me to say? She's going to take this opportunity away from me! How can this be happening!?"

After much discussion and asking her to reconsider, I went to the back and cried my eyes out. I called me poor dad and sobbed... the kind where he said, "Danielle, you need to breath." --oh yeah... but my heart hurt so badly that it was hard to breath. So I went to IMPACT with puffy eyes and a shaky voice. My small group prayed for me and that my boss would reconsider in my favor.

Today I returned to work and I am on the day schedule. So now I wonder if God is asking me how badly I want this. How far are you willing to go? I'm going to have to go up my chain of command so that I can express how much I want to do this program and how it will benefit the Navy. This is so scary and intimidating. So the prayers will continue.

And to be authentic, I haven't been praying. I've been cleaning, sleeping, watching tv and hanging out with friends instead of praying. I haven't knelt at God's feet and listened.

I'm afraid sometimes to sit at God's feet and listen. But today I did... I read Psalm 97 and prayed. And then I slept 3 blissful hours that felt like 8 hours when I woke up. Maybe he really does refresh better than anything else... including my favorite show The Office:):)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Newest Piece of Blasphemy... Men Beware!

George gave little nuggets about marraige on Monday and do you know what my favorite one was?

The statement that "Women are impossible to figure out." is Blasphemous!!!! HURRAYYYY!!!! Do you wanna know why? Because we are wired to let you know everything that is going on in our heads. We're constantly talking and feeling and crying and emotioning. Try not talking to us for one day and we might possibly go crazy! My friends in high school and college would sometimes tease me and challenge me to go 5 minutes without talking... I love challenges and I like to win them. I lost every time. Because even more than loving the challenge, I love to be known and understood and I will do whatever I need to do to be understood. And the best way I know how to be understood is to talk it out.

Men on the other hand, ARE impossible to figure out! Proverbs 20:5 "The purpose of a man's heart is like deep waters". They are the ones who can sit cool as a cucumber while fuming, worrying, fearing beneath the surface and not a soul could know it!

I thought this was revolutionary:)

So he gave us guides:

L: Lose your life Eph 5:24-26 25 "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. 30 For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. 31 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”
--To be an excellent husband and father , a man must lose his life. Just as Christ says, "In order to find your life, you must lose it." What does it look like to lose your life? Possibly putting away your hobbies, extracurricular, your boats, bikes, big houses, tv's, video gaming systems... anything that takes away from the time needed to spend getting to know, studying and spending time with wives and children and most of all studying and spending time getting to know and understand God's will.
O: Observe her carefully 1 Peter 3:7 : "Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered."
--Again, women are open books. If you study your wife, you will know what makes her tick, what makes her mad, what her day was like, how she's feeling, etc, etc. Just study!

V: Value her above all else Prov 31:10 "Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies."
--Yup, we're valuable:)

E: Express affection that is due her. 1Cor 7: 3 Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband.
--What is sex? It is an expression of affection. It's not about performance or pleasure but about affection. What is affection? The spontaneous expression of love.

George encouraged the ladies of our class to pray for a man who will live according to the will of God. And what woman would not want a man who treats her as above? No matter what he might look like on the outside.

So then for the women:
He started with the "T". Trust which is the basis of submission.

S: Self initiated-No one can force me to submit. The word says "Wives submit to your husbands" it does not say husbands you should make your wives submit!

U: Unconditional Trust- We have to trust him with ourselves, our lives, our families

B: Beautiful- This trust and submission causes beauty. A woman who is L.O.V.E.D. and in turn S.U.B.M.I.T. does not carry the weight of carrying the responsibility of the world and the marraige. We were not meant to carry that weight. So a woman who is secure in her relationship with her husband radiates beauty.

I: Intimate- The trust is intimate

T: Trust- The basis of submission 1 Peter 3:1-6 Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear. 3 Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel— 4 rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. 5 For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands, 6 as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror.

The husband is called the head of the marraige. What is the head? It is the brain. The place where information is processed. So information is given from the wife, from the Word and from the husband himself which is then processed so that the husband can make the best decision for the body.

God did not create women to carry the weight of the stress of marraige. It is the privilege and responsibility of men.


Also, in regards to parenting... no where in the Bible does it ever talk about women raising, disciplining, teaching the children. The job and responsibility of raising children fall on men if we live biblically! The woman is the helper in raising the children, but again, the responsibility falls to the men.

Wow. It makes me SO SO glad that I'm not a man. And so SO concerned about the mixed signals men get from women, our society, the media, the church, etc.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Hard Call of Christ

Maybe all this time I have been a spectator of Christianity. Fascinated by men and women who are sold out to him by American standards. The ones who talk about Jesus Christ so freely, those who radiate love for difficult people, those who are willing to make sacrifices to spread the Gospel. I think of my friends Sheila in Kolkata and Katie in Lima. I think of Umfundisi living in Cambodia where he'd step out of the shower only to be drenched in sweat again, of Pastor Ben hungry to read and teach the Word to young people, of George willing to give up the desire to go in order to help send, of Kim whose passion for God led her to give up her gym membership, of Dr. Bounds who had so much knowledge of who God is and shared so eloquently... these are just a few of the people in my life that I've looked to for years or just now days and seen that God does ask people to do hard things. And people are willing to do hard things for him. I don't know that I'm ready to take part and play the game. I sort of want to be a spectator and watch it all from a comfortable distance and allow my emotions to skyrocket and dive. I don't want to jump off and take the risk myself. I'm not ready. My heels are dug into the earth but something just keeps pulling me forward and I'm not sure I want to know what forward is.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

I can't overspend God's grace

We take a class called "Identity Transformation". We are studying Ephesians. It's all about learning how God views me which I can learn through prayer, God's word and meditation. Right now how I view myself effects how I interact with others which effects how others view me and then how they interact with me. That's the cycle George taught us. So if I can begin to view myself the way God views me, it will change the way that I treat people and people treat me. Interesting...

Some nuggets I got from the lesson:

"You have to learn to forgive yourself" is BLASPHEMY!! You sin out of selfishness. Eph 5:29 says we cherish and nourish our bodies as Christ loves the Church... So that means I love myself A LOT!!!!!! And we hate everyone else b/c no one loves me as much as I love myself and think I should be loved. (yikes) We are never commanded to love ourself.

God chose me as Eph 1:4 says "just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world." God selected me individually and chooses me uniquelly.

I thought this was an interesting question: "Why did God create each of us uniquelly?"

So that he could uniquelly choose me! And he says that he chose us before the foundation of the world which means that he chose me before I could DO anything good or bad! Wow...

Also, did you know that the opposite of holy is common? So God says for us to be holy. He doesn't want us to be common. The world wants us to be common. But I am called to live a one of a kind life. And so is everyone else.

So how might that change how we view and treat people if we see them as unique creatures created and chosen by God?

Sometimes my little head can't handle all these big thoughts of God:)

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Life experiences = Value

I am such a tricky sinner. All this time I've held onto the assumption that I do find most of my value in Christ. I'm a sinner, he saved me, I need him, I'm his child.... I've been through the camps, internships, mentoring meetings, counseling sessions, etc. I think I know by now where my value lies. WRONG.

I realized last night that I find value in my experiences. I met up with some people that I haven't seen in a while and I had confidence b/c something new was happening in my life. I wasn't just still working at the hospital as a nurse. No Sir! I had joined Impact! I was doing something... something new had happened in my life that made me interesting with loads of things to talk about.

This has been consistent throughout my life. I'm going overseas, I'm going out of state for school, I'm doing an internship at a church, a camp where I don't know anyone, going back to school for nursing, joining the navy, moving to the beach, doing a Impact...

And I wonder, what value would I have if I had done none of this? I am bound and determined to surprise and interest people in ME not in GOD with the things I do. I've not set out to glorify God. I've set out to glorify myself. Darn.