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…”

God said wha???

Devotional Blog:

Topic: “Confused?…go Back”, 01/24/2012, Jeremiah 24: 6-7

How does one ‘hear’ from God? This is a loaded topic for me…

“I will give them hearts that will recognize me as the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me wholeheartedly” -NIV, Jeremiah 24:7

 

“After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.” -NIV, 1 Kings 19:12

 

“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” -NIV, Rev 3:22

Confused? Always. I bumble my path routinely in an effort to ‘hear’ God and know what his plan and purpose for my life is. I say the prayers, I keep so still as to nearly faint from not breathing enough, I close my eyes and meditate during worship, think of things I’ve learned, listen to pastors and mentors more learned than me…

Majority of the time I think I must be on the wrong channel…cause all I ever get is static and I rarely know what exactly it is I am doing wrong. Continue reading “God said wha???”

Dream within a dream

Devotional Blog:

Topic: “Pretty Good Company”, 12/29/11, John 12: 20-28

Happy Birthday Edgar Allen Poe, Born January 19, 1809. Odd way to start a devotional post complete with topic title and Bible verse by saying happy birthday to a man whose poetry and stories are often of the macabre gothic nature and depressing, but now that I’ve piqued your curiosity, stick with me…

Today’s entry is about walking into the dreams that God has given us in our lives. The visions, the promises, the hopes…and perhaps not getting to see or experience the fruits of our labors, our suffering, our patience. The author (Pam) goes onto to say, ‘you are not alone’. You are not the only one to receive great promises only to never see them come to pass in your lifetime or as Moses did, stand at the border and watch your people walk into the promise led by another man. How heinously frustrating. You do everything you believe God is telling you to do, you walk through the doors, you invest time, faith, money, more time, more faith….you sit and watch as others experience the joy that comes from their dreams or promises coming to pass and you sit. You sit, telling yourself to be patient, telling yourself God has not forgotten you, telling yourself that you want things in God’s timing. Then you look up and you say God WHEN is your timing!!!???  And you cry out…you cry out. Continue reading “Dream within a dream”

Scaling smooth inner walls of trust

Ok after yesterdays sidetrack event of commenting on a blog I’d read entitled “I’m Christian unless you’re gay” (read it if you get a chance), now, back to the book…

Devotional Blog:

Topic: “Trust”, 11/27/2011, Jeremiah 31:1-6 and Ruth 3:5

In this section the author, Pam, goes into what it means to have a trusting relationship. She opens with something Ruth said in the Bible: “I will do whatever you say”–what guy wouldn’t want to hear that from a woman? Sorry guys, she was saying it to her mother-in-law. I find the concept of trust interesting in that I have some friends that are incredibly trusting and some that have some incredible walls built up…hell you need some seriously specialized climbing gear to get up the smooth face of their walls.

Then you inevitably ask the question ‘is it worth it?’ Which is terrible I know, they are your friend after all. But it is exceedingly frustrating to think you are making progress only to find yourself on a temporary ledge with your friend laughing at you from above…continually saying ‘you don’t know me, you can never know me’. At that point I’d just rather rappel down and call it a day. Of course self-discovery and self-trust is an ongoing process and I’m sure I’ve frustrated many a friend as well, even though I wouldn’t say I put up walls…I think rather its just a fundamental misunderstanding of personalities. You build an image of what you think someone is in your head and when that turns out to be untrue it throws you for a loop. Not because they misled you but because you built this image that wasn’t who they were inside. Its not a matter of ‘good or bad’, its just not who they were and you have to step back and decide if you are going to take the time to dispense with all your, perhaps years of, preconceived notions and really get to know the person for who they are. Sometimes we are able to do that, sometimes circumstances prevent that option.

I used to say I was very ‘guarded’ didn’t really trust anyone–but who am I kidding…its not who I am. At best I had phases of distrust that ended up evaporating as the event that triggered the distrust faded. Personally I’m a pretty open book, people don’t have to work too hard to read me. At first I was insulted because I thought of myself as a chameleon, I could put on whatever face was required and they’d never know ‘me’. So when people said  I was easy to read I was aghast…and here I thought I was this great actress. This was when it was ‘hip’ to be mysterious…ya, no, I’m not mysterious haha. I was in theater from 6th grade up through high school and some in college and didn’t get bad reviews. As an actress, ok I didn’t suck, but as a person–who am I kidding–I suck at hiding my feelings. That doesn’t mean I wasn’t stubborn. Which I know probably drove some of my friends and boyfriends and family insane, knowing something was dreadfully wrong but not being able to truly pry it out of me. Continue reading “Scaling smooth inner walls of trust”

the good, the bad…the beach

This past weekend Tyghe and I went to the beach thankful for the ability to escape flooding Bangkok, play some frisbee and enjoy the beach. We went to Phuket, a highly built up island in southern Thailand that is run for the most part by the Thai mafia from what we’ve been told and perhaps has links with Russian mafia as well–given the influx of so many Russian tourists, and all three languages (Russian, English and Thai) present on the island, it wouldn’t surprise me. In essence many who travel to Phuket accept the fact they will be overcharged for everything…absolutely everything. But I am not going to talk about our holiday…Tyghe will do a great job of that on his blog so see that for the vacay story and I believe he mentions what I will talk about. His blog will be a great sum up with pictures–the happy stuff which was indeed happy and I had a great time in that respect. Instead I will highlight one not so awesome experience as it resulted in an interesting topic related to faith. This is not a ‘devotional blog entry’…it’s a life entry…life based on faith. Continue reading “the good, the bad…the beach”