Thursday, March 22, 2012

In a funk

Do you ever wake up feeling like a freight train hit you? Thats how I woke up yesterday. The day before yesterday I read about being a friend of God. Being God's friend means being honest to him, talking to him about everything, valuing what he values and making friendship with him the absolute priority in life.

Ha. Thats a perfect follow up day.... feeling like a freight train rolled over you. I woke up grumpy and feeling disorderly. Then that lovely thought of wanting what God wants came to mind. Joyful always, without complaining, loving others as yourself, obedience over sacrifice but still sacrifice out of love... suddenly friendship with God seemed very inconvenient and something I wanted to put off until I felt better.

Today I feel guilt. Guilt that I have this beautiful home to live in, parents who raised me to value and practice kindness, warm cups of coffee... endless warm cups of coffee, cupboards filled with food... not necessary food but extra food, free education, endless opportunities for nursing jobs, travel opportunities, full tummy, etc, etc, etc.

Why God? Why do I get all of this? And what is my place in this world? Is it guilt from Satan or is it conviction? What can I do? Can I live here without guilt with all of the above material blessings while people starve, people are illiterate, kids don't have mom and dad's that love them, people don't even know the name Jesus, people don't have God's word in their language, people don't know what clean water is, people don't know how to clean their homes and children sleep ontop of each other on rags....

Guilt? or Conviction?

Monday, March 12, 2012

As Easy as 1-2-3

Today my assignment was to choose a verse out of Psalm 1 and read the entire verse several times, stopping after each word to write down my thoughts.

I chose Psalm 1:2-3

But they delight in the Law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.

In this interim season, I have set a goal to write a life mission statement, core values and goals for myself. I'm learning that if you don't shoot for something, I won't hit anything and I won't realize it until I'm absorbed in regret. Reading this Scripture, one of my core values is that the Word of God is central in my life. Sounds pretty and holy and wonderful, but realistically? What does that mean? Is it just pretty words or have a resolved to truly and absolutely make this an integral part of my life?

Here's my game plan... it's flexible:) B/c life happens and I learn new tactics and realize my own strengths and weaknesses.
~Read Scripture daily (duh:))
~Read a small amount of Scripture daily. Even if it is one word... that God has penetrated my heart with and I know that I must sit on that word and allow my mind to think and churn, and break down.
~Memorization is a must. One of my 2012 resolutions was to memorize one scripture a week. I felt like that was completely achievable and so far it has been! I started with Romans Road scriptures... and got distracted by Rick Warren's "40 Days in the Word". 
~When I go to bed at night, I want to remember the Scriptures I have hidden in my heart. One of my professors at IWU said that every night before going to bed, instead of allowing the worries and stresses of the day consume his mind, he would recite every verse he had committed to memory over and over until he fell asleep. Talk about meditating on the Word!

So anyway, I'm still struggling with this temporary life. The meaninglessness of consumerism, of physical comfort... of the rewards in heaven that are beyond imagination, but joy comes in the morning:) And joy came this morning with this simple encouragement of Ps 1:2-3:) 

Saturday, March 10, 2012

An eternal Perspective

Convicted is what I feel today. This morning dad and I talked of all the things that are wrong in the world and what can we do about it. I don't know what we can do about it. I know that change has to start with me. I know that this life on earth is nothing. It's just a breath. It is preparation for eternity... forever and ever and ever. Today is all that I am guarenteed to have. Am I serving God? Is it enough that I spend an hour with him and seek him? That I'm investing this time in my family? That I have a beautiful profession as a nurse where I can serve people? Is there more than that?

There are kids dying even as I write this b/c they don't have food in their bellies while I just increased my cholesterol and risk for heart disease by eating a cinnnamon roll this morning. There are people who have never heard of Jesus while I have 5 books about Jesus that I'm reading right now in my own language! There are women who are being beaten and raped in order to have a roof over my head while I have the option of 3 roofs to stay under.

It's an injustice. And I don't know what to do about it. I don't know what my place is. What my role is. Life is more than this time on Earth. What difference can I make?

The Bible says that "No mere man has ever seen, heard, or even imagined what wonderful things God has ready for those who love the Lord". I haven't even imagined? You mean none of the movies are even close to imagining the things he has for us in Heaven? What about Avatar? I mean that is pretty amazing!!!! We haven't even imagined it? This verse makes me think that it is all worth it. All the sacrifice, the hunger, the distance from loved ones, not eating out whenever I want, not living in a fancy house, not having a top of the line car, not getting to see every Wonder in the World. But all of this sacrificed so that people might know his name, his Grace, his forgiveness, his love....

I don't know what my next steps are. Maybe right now it's just read, write, pray, wait. I pray and hope that I have eyes to see, ears to hear and a mind that obeys.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Crazy about Rick Warren!!

So my devotional time is super guided by Rick Warren lately. 40 Days in the Word has been amazing but is coming to the end for me in 8 days. Today's verse is a favorite of mine... goes back to the Showers in Shatford hall freshman year.... "Do not be anxious about anything Danielle, but in everything by prayer and petition, with Thankstgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus." I noticed two things that I need to study someday:
What is the difference between prayer and petition? and What is the difference between heart and mind? See??? God's word jumps out differently even if you've read it fifty billion times!

So with the end of 40 DITW quickly approaching, I picked up The Purpose Driven Life which I have never finished, but started numerous times. It is such a powerful book!!

Last two days:
It's not about Danielle. ( I need to hear that about once every second)
I'm not an accident. ( I don't know that I've ever thought of myself as an accident... praise God, but it was interesting to be reminded that God chose my birthdate, my generation, my country, my city, my parents, my birth order, my sisters... Powerful and it does make me ask the forbidden or maybe just silly question of "why?" Nevertheless, I'm soooo thankful for what he chose for me.

Today will be interesting...I haven't done it yet but today's saying is:
Everyone's life is driven by something.
Yes it is... mine is driven by pleasing people. I'd like to say it's driven by God, but I know that at the center of my life, most of the time, is my desire to be liked and make people happy.

So this is a picture of the time God has given me to regather, assess, and shoot off to the next leg of life's journey. I don't know what is in store, but I'm thankful for the hours he's given me to allow my mind to wander and dream and wonder and ponder and talk to him about all of it.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A holy God and a mucky heart

Today's verse in 40 Days in the Word is:

For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him. Philippians 2:13

I got to insert my name into it... "For God is working in Danielle, giving her the desire and the power to do what pleases him.

Then I got to pray it back to God... "Jesus, you say that you are working in me giving me the desire and the power to do what pleases you... but I feel sooo wicked inside!" Then I thought how is it that a Holy, pure God would be willing to get into all of my muck? To be working inside of me in ways that I am oblivious to and cannot understand or see? To know the intricacies of my thoughts... good and bad? If I were God, I would strike me down with lightning years ago!

But this incredible Jesus gets right down in the muck, pulls up his shirt sleeves and gets to the heart of the matters uninhibited by the filth, no disgust on his face... He just works with a smile, a laugh, an inside joke, and gently leads my heart to repentance, to realization, to wonder, to amazement...

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

New Season of Searching

After 3 beautiful years in San Diego, I've returned to my lovely hometown Cedar Falls, IA.

What am I doing next? I have NO idea! I've given myself 2 months to seek the Lord, ask, and listen. Not that it is a demand on Jesus that I have answers in 2 months... but I have to set some kind of limit! I've been loving life for the past four days soaking up little Laney smiles and giggles and unique antics. Did God create little ones just to bring JOY into almost every moment of a day?

A study that I am loving right now is 40 Days in the Word by Rick Warren. He just began the campaign mid-January and it has been so powerful. I've been learning tricks to memorizing Scripture and actually taking time to think about what the Scripture says and how I am to apply it to my life. I would like to start the study here in Iowa with a group of people and I'm praying through who to ask and what that looks like.

God wants to be our everything. He doesn't want us to depend on anyone or anything else. He is our only provider. Everything is by his grace. I don't want to give credit for a job, a life, a breath, a relationship, family, friends, etc to anyone or anything other than the grace of God. Every day God steps in and does miracle after miracle. I pray that my eyes will be opened to the ones I have ignored and give thanks and praise for the ones I've taken for granted.