what’s your dream?

Devotional Blog:

“Regroup”, 7/15/2012, Proverbs 9:9

So last weekend I was talking to my mom and last night I was talking to my sister and with both conversations I found myself pondering my choice of ‘life path’. If you’ve read previous entries in this section of my blog you will know that I’ve said that I’ve always just walked through the paths I feel like God has opened to me assuming that’s direction he wants me to go. It is after all the only path that’s opened up, so I just walk through it. Did I think ‘this’ is where my path was leading? Actually no.
Continue reading “what’s your dream?”

When the mind breaks…

Devotioanl Blog:

“Looking for love in all the wrong places”, “You Can”, “There is a Plan”; 6/23/2012, 6/22/2012, 3/12/2012; 1 Peter 4:8, Luke 13:12, Jeremiah 29:11

You ever hear the joke that you should listen to country songs backwards? Why? Because then they become exceedingly happier…you get your house back, your dog back, your woman back, your tires un-slashed and your guitar un-smashed.

I’ve noticed a trend in many entries of this book. In many examples of people’s lives that she uses…when it rains it doesn’t just pour–it’s a fricken hurricane and it’s not ‘waves of life’ that hit people, it’s a damn tsunami! Continue reading “When the mind breaks…”

The ominous projector screen of ‘life’

Devotional Blog:

“Lights Flashing”, 6/21/2012, 1 Corinthians 4:5

Ok, back to the book after quite the hiatus.

When the Lord comes, he will bring our deepest secrets to light and will reveal our private motives… ~1 Corinthians 4:5

Well now isn’t that a scary thought? How many secrets does one carry throughout life? How many thoughts do we think would we be ashamed of if someone were to actually crawl into our head and listen to. Thankfully people can’t crawl into each others heads and truly hear the thoughts that roll through them.

Funny thing is, growing up this verse made us wary of the ‘big’ secrets…infidelity, sex before marriage, stealing, physically hurting someone etc. Our pastors would often times use the image of a huge projector screen showing all our sins and evil thoughts to the world for all our family and friends to see. Oh the embarrassment! Oh the judgement! Oh the pain we would cause ourselves and other people with our hidden sins that haven’t been brought to light and forgiven. I used to live in fear as a kid, paranoia even that when I died God would put me on a stage and broadcast my entire ‘evil’ life of every little thing I’d ever done that wasn’t 100% ‘saintly’, down to beating the crap out of a stuffed animal because I was angry. Yes, as a child I occasionally beat the crap out of dolls and stuffed animals out of frustration. I ripped pages out of my journals and threw tantrums in my room out of sight and earshot of anyone. Much of my anger and frustration growing up I kept inside, in fact all of it I kept inside. And while these ‘tantrums’ and stuffed animal beatings seem harmless enough at first sight, my thoughts got darker as I grew up.

What about the little ‘secrets’ the thoughts no one hears about, the thoughts that will never be voiced but are nonetheless there… the dark thoughts. Continue reading “The ominous projector screen of ‘life’”

My definition of good must be broken…

Devotional Blog:

6/14/2012: “When good isn’t good enough” Romans 8:28

This isn’t out of the book I am going through which coincidentally arrived in the mail from Thailand in our first round of boxes–this is one I am just going to write.

If you’ve read my previous blogs in the devotion section or perhaps in my life section or such you’ll know how I was raised. In a faith that stresses undying, unwavering faith in God and that everything works toward his plan and purpose. That no matter how ‘rough’ life gets ‘it’s all good’ because God knows how it’ll all turn out and that’ll be what’s ‘good’. I was raised in the midst of prophets who communicated God’s promises to my family, the plans he had, the constant assurance that he hasn’t forgotten us that his plans will come to pass–that we will walk into the awesomeness he has in store for us. I was raised to pray. I was raised to believe. No matter what happens, how many years pass, how many people hurt in the meantime…it’ll all ‘come out in the wash’ persay.

I’m currently encountering an all out mental rebellion occurring due to the clash of what I feel logically should be done and faith.

My mother says when things get difficult and things don’t seem to come to pass its because of choice. Everyone has free choice and certain people choose to ‘bar your way’ in essence, toward achieving the plans God has for your life. It doesn’t mean you won’t achieve it, it means it’ll take longer. My question, if God knows all this, knows people will stand in the way, knows this will drive you mad with frustration, why does he put you on that particular path to your purpose? Why does he pick that path for you?  Why does he put you at the mercy of people who could give two sh*ts or less about God and his plan? Is it supposed to be character building? Faith building? Ok, so God wants us to ‘learn’ something…but what happens when a ‘lesson’ controlled by the choices of people who don’t care about God and his ‘plans’ but directly affecting your ‘promise’ seems to be destined to extend to the end of your days. Ok perhaps that’s a bit melodramatic, but when you are getting past 20 years and have seen no end leading you to the goal of the plan, or even worse, you ‘see’ endings that get taken away from you, I really want to look up at the sky and say WTF.

I was ready to jump ship after 7 years at my Ph.D. it seemed like it was just becoming ‘impossible’ to finish but I knew a ‘finish’ was there, I saw it, it was tangible and I knew exactly what I had to do to obtain that finish. What happens when you don’t know HOW to obtain the finish line? What happens when the ‘finish line’ turns into a moving target of which you cannot predict the direction? What happens when your best, your devotion, your walk, isn’t good enough–why after 20+ years you must still continue to walk through hell, taking it on faith that the promise is somewhere…out there…on the other side? The response I’ve gotten from friends and family in these situations is…well we’ve walked this far for this long we ‘have’ to keep going.

My logic: this situation must change, change it

My faith: keep walking or let them keep walking

My ‘power’ over the situation: i am but a ‘spectator’ in this

My duty: to just pray

My frustration: Magnified a 1000 fold.

My understanding: Apparently very little

My desire: for the situaiton(s) to change or the promise become realized.

There are the examples of Joseph and Job. Joseph who was sold into slavery by his brothers for decades, God gave Joseph dreams and visions and he ended up an advisor for Pharoh, rich and well situated. Job who lost absolutely everything; his family killed, his land and assets taken, his health stricken and he still never denied faith in God and God rewarded that and restored everything to him in the end. There are miraculous stories within the Bible of God coming into peoples lives and speaking to them directly or such other manifestation of his presence/power. But God doesn’t manifest himself, his power or his promises like he used to…such as in the old testmant or new testament…making ‘faith’ that much more important and easier to lose I suppose too. Honestly though, in this day and age I think if God threw a bolt of lightening down and spoke people would shrug or run screaming thinking we were being invaded by aliens. Such is the skepticism of our time.

Perhaps I have to just ‘come to peace’ with the fact I cannot or am not being allowed to actually change situations myself. Perhaps the first step is to understand that we are not ‘promised’ our purpose. We are promised God’s purpose and it’s our decision to accept or reject that. And apparently accepting that opens us up to all the ‘events’ that come with it whether its personal or mental injury, lessness, starvation, watching those we love suffer…

Therefore, God’s plan and purpose can come with a fantastic potential grab bag of human crap that is out of our control and his because of human choice.

Human choice. It frees us and enslaves us all at the same time.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” ~Romans 8:28

 That’s a hard verse to swallow when those you love most suffer. And when life crashes down, and our own expectations of what’s “good” or “fair” even, fall apart, perhaps we think God has failed us. Perhaps we think he does not love us. Perhaps “all things” don’t work for the good, just some things…

I don’t doubt God…but I do have a lot of unanswerable questions.

I wish I had a summation that says “Never Fear! God is Here! HUZZAH and POOF, everything will work out and your dreams and promises WILL all come true, keep fighting the good fight you are almost there!” Why can’t I say that? Because it hasn’t happened yet, because I don’t know if ‘you’, ‘I’, or ‘they’ are almost there and I am personally not privy to God’s plans.

What I can say is that, of all the people in my life that do things by the purpose they believe God has given them, the people that walk through every fire imaginable in their lives, and they spit out the other end…I haven’t encountered one who regrets it. No matter how hard everything got…in the end, they don’t regret it and most are quite happy and successful at the end. So along with the virtual grab bag of human crap you inevitably have to deal with…apparently, in the end, it’ll all be worth it.

Doesn’t make it any easier to watch at present but I suppose its of some small consolence.

 

Iron sharpens iron…

Devotional blog:

“You gotta have friends” and “where have you been walking?” 03/22/2012 and 03/23/2012, Psalm 119:45 and Proverbs 27:17

As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.

~Prov. 27:17

While there are quite a few entries in this book where I have agreed with her advice and position there are also those entries at odds with my sense of logic and spirit. Perhaps this is my lack of understanding…in fact, I guess it IS my lack of understanding. In this entry she encourages us to form friendships/relationships with those that build us up and help us make godly choices. Positive people who believe in you and want the best in you. Now none of this in principle do I disagree with. Absolutely, you want to be friends and have relationships with those that will be supportive and strengthen you. However, given this is a devotional and she mentions having friends that help you make godly choices and where to find them such as at Bible studies or support organizations etc. I am assuming she is encouraging us to have Christian friends and it sounds like this is supposed to be preferred exclusively. This isn’t first time I’ve encountered this type of argument…to only consort with those of your own faith lest you be tempted by the ‘dark side’ whatever it might be. I don’t understand why is it that I can supposedly only ‘learn’ from a Christian friend? I have Christian friends and non-Christian friends, why should I value the opinion or advice of one over the other? Though I may ultimately agree with one set of advice over the other, I still consider both equally.

More on this in a moment but I’d like to combine this with her previous entry about “Where have you been Walking?” In this entry she discusses how we need to be aware as Christians ‘where we walk’ in life and to be careful not to fall into ‘subtle’ steps away from the truth such as “spending more and more time with a persuasive friend who doesn’t acknowledge Christ or his principles; reading magazines that make me feel inferior about my body; listening to songs that glorify casual sex; or even walking to the beach instead of church on Sunday morning.” Again I have a lack of understanding here. Why is hanging out with non-Christian friends a ‘subtle step’ toward what is wrong? Why is walking to the beach instead of church on a Sunday, walking away from God? There are plenty people I know that walk to church three times a week and are far from God while other’s fellowship, pray and seek God in a park, on a beach, washing the dishes and I feel they have a stronger relationship.

My point? These entries suggest we have weak minds and little resolve. I don’t particularly like that. Continue reading “Iron sharpens iron…”

Weight of the world

Devotional Blog:

Burdens, 03/02/2012, Galatians 6:1-5, Romans 15:1-7

Are you a worry wort? I can be. I can worry about the most inane irrelevant things sometimes. Things I cannot control I worry about…I’m absolutely ridiculous sometimes, keeping myself awake at night worrying about things that are utterly pointless to worry about. And I worry about them at the MOST inopportune times as well…such as when I am taking off in a plane and I’m like–huh what if we crash? It’s really dumb as the statistics support me getting  pwnd by so many other causes before dying in a plane crash (1 in 7,032-lifetime odds, Source).

I find it funny that in the same source I have a 1 in 120,864 chance of dying by being pwnd by someones dog. In their wording–“bitten or struck by dog”. Ya that’s right, don’t you just hate it when Mitzy comes up to you and ‘bitch slaps’ you, haha, really bad joke–but really one day, her strike could kill you!

I digress…I think I’ve made my point about pointless worrying.

Continue reading “Weight of the world”

convinced?

Devotional Blog:

The Word of God, 03/02/2012, 2 Timothy 3:16

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. ~2 Timothy 3:16 (NIV)

So I figured I should start chipping away at all the dog eared pages in this devotional book that I’ve been neglecting. I keep up on my daily reading but somedays I have enough time to blog and other days I don’t so they end up dog eared for future contemplation. Oddly enough this entry is about ‘bearing each others burdens’ rather than the word of God but when I read it, I realized I needed to address the ‘word of God’ topic first. I’ll explain…

From the devotional: “We all need to make time for Bible study. David writes in Psalm 73:26, ‘My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.’ (NIV)…Only as I make God’s Word a priority do I have anything to give. A Bible study should be a refuge, a safe harbor.”

A week or so ago in a conversation with friends I stated that scripture will never ‘convince’ me of whether someone is ‘right or wrong’. No one will ever ‘win’ an argument with me only using scripture. I think I’ve even stated in previous blogs that I refuse to go tit for tat on Bible verses for various reasons aside from its just plain tedious and I feel its more ‘posturing your verse memorization prowess’, rather than attempting to make a valid point. For the first time now, I am wondering why that is. I am a Christian after all and I believe in God’s word, why isn’t God’s divinely inspired word enough to convince me of someone’s argument?

Continue reading “convinced?”

Salvation and Sugar Damning…

Devotional Blog:

Christian ‘Culture’, Depravity and Salvation, 2/29/2012, Ephesians 2:8-9

I love meeting new people, hearing new points of view listening to life adventures, life realizations and commiserating on mutual experiences. So 2012 is a leap year and there was no entry in my devotional book for this day so this is my own devotional. Honestly I do have any number of pages in the book dog eared to write about as I am fantastically behind in my posting, but I find I enjoy writing more when I am writing about something that is currently bothering or inspiring me. Enter today’s topic.

I had the pleasure of meeting someone with a very similar upbringing to myself and we bantered back and forth about being children having grown up in the church. Children who grew up in the church, most likely said their ‘salvation’ prayer at a young age, went through the ‘Christian’ motions growing up, sunday school, youth camp, retreats, revivals, door to door evangelism, whatnot. We ‘shunned’ the people we were supposed to shun or hate, we accepted the people that fit into the Christian box and we were encouraged that the greatest calling in life is that of ministry. Christian culture surrounded us, we memorized verses, held our hands up in deference to God during worship, allowed people to pray for us, we prayed for people, we knew all the ins and outs of the culture and we really didn’t have an understanding of what true ‘salvation’ was…but of course we were saved…weren’t we? Continue reading “Salvation and Sugar Damning…”

Apparently I like to sleep and stare at computers…

Devotional Blog:

Topic: “Spending Time”, 12/27/2011, Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

This entry encouraged us to log our time for one week to see where our ‘priorities and passions’ were in our lives.

So a week from Sunday to Saturday (7 days) has 168 hours in it. Of those 168, I was alseep 53.5 hours…an average of 7.6 hrs/day. Although Saturday skews that as I slept 11 hours on Saturday and and if I just look at the work week, I slept an average of 6.9 hours/day. Apparently on the weekends I like my sleep, not to mention as the week progressed I got worse at getting up on time. My alarm goes off at 6am, I managed to get up and go work Monday and Tues at 6:30am. Weds and Thurs that got later and I managed to get up and go to work at 7am…on Friday it was 730am. A lot of wake-up fail!

So 168 hours in a week minus 54.5 sleeping = 113.5 to account for waking hours…which we’ll soon find out isn’t an altogether true statement…doh! Continue reading “Apparently I like to sleep and stare at computers…”

What does life owe you?

Devotional Blog:

Topic: “Take Responsibility”, 01/25/2012, Romans 13:1-7, Galatians 6:5, 2 Corinthians 5:10

It’s her fault. It’s his fault. It’s their fault. The dog did it…

Kid’s Excuses:

  1. One child to another: Whenever you tell a big fat lie to get away with breaking an ornament, vase etc.  Tell your mum, dad etc. that it threw itself off of the mantle piece, table etc and then add in that you always believed that there was something out there!
  2. Mom:  Where’s your report card?  You:  Um, mommy I’m really sorry and everything.  But I didn’t do it or anything but you know how I walk to school?  Well, the bell rang and I went to my locker to put it in my backpack and some very mean kids took it and started playing monkey in the middle then someone yelled that there was a big fight so the kids dropped it and ran outside.  Then, I was walking & was looking at it and a dog chased me and got it and chewed it up!  Sorry!
  3. I do what the cheerios tell me.
  4. When I was little, I cut up my sheets, my excuse was, “Jesus did it!”
  5. The clowns made me do it…I sware!

Excuses given to police officers:

  1. One night many years ago I was on patrol and observed a vehicle blow through a red light at a major intersection. There had been plenty of time to stop, yet the vehicle had not even slowed down. I stopped the car and asked the young female driver why she had done that. The girl told me she had just had her brakes repaired, it had been very expensive, and she DIDN’T WANT TO WEAR THEM DOWN! Usually I give people a pass if I haven’t heard their excuse before, but in this case she got the ticket. …………………………………. Submitted by… Dave Hoffman, Sergeant, Naperville IL PD

  2. I stopped a car in a rural area of our county for going 80 MPH in a 55 MPH zone. The driver explained that he had a bee flying around his head so he sped up to 80, hoping that the bee couldn’t fly that fast and would not be able to fly out of the back seat area to get at him…..Submitted by…Gary Lenon, Mecosta County Sheriff Department, Michigan.

Amazing what we say to avoid blame not only as children but as adults as well. Continue reading “What does life owe you?”