Mustard Seeds

Mustard Seeds

Sunday, January 31, 2010

For the Good

This verse popped in my head yesterday and I had to stop and think of what it really meant because I honestly never have.
"And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose" - Romans 8:28

1. It says "to those who LOVE God." What evidence do I have in my life that I love the Lord? That I truly love him and desire to express that love by obeying him? It's harder to answer then I thought.
2. This verse also says "ALL things." This makes more sense in the context of the chapter (I encourage you to read all of chapter 8. It might spark questions but it will be worthwhile to seek answers to them) but it does not say "happy things" or "easy things." It says God will use all things and looking at the chapter that could mean persecution and suffering. John Piper writes, "That’s why Romans 8:28 is here. We need encouragement and hope because before and after this verse the prospect of the Christian life on this earth is bleak." There is persecution, there are enemies, and there are hardships. But these things will not defeat us. Because of the Love of Christ we will be more then conquerors. Piper also writes that "if you receive from [God] the free gift of righteousness by faith alone; then all things - from the sweetest to the most severe and bitter and painful - will work together for your good. God will be for you with all of his omnipotent wisdom and power. And if God is for you, no one can successfully be against you." If that is not encouraging I don't know what is.

Romans 8:31 "What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us"

Friday, January 29, 2010

Farmer's

We went to farmer's market last night and it was great! Other then organizing people, since we consistently lost members of our group to stores and food, it was amazing to do nothing. Just walking and talking. I would like to point out to Caitlin that I walked slowly. I would also like to admit that I enjoyed it. It gave me time to breath. (Don't hold that over my head too much!) After getting off campus I didn't mind my math homework so much. That might have also had to do with the fact that I understood it after teaching myself a few things. That never happens. =)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Next Year

Like I mentioned a few posts ago, I have been thinking about life and what God has planned for me a lot lately. And my main thought is, "I don't feel old enough for the rest of my life yet!!!" So I have been worrying, planning, and wondering. Still on my own strength.

Here are my options thus far that I am praying about (for next year):
1. Graduate in March (or in December if I do Summer school)
2. Intern with Campus Crusade (at Cal Poly)
3. Go somewhere for ministry (anywhere from Haiti to another state)
4. Stay in SLO, work, and invest in ppl here (including youth)
5. Another option God hasn't shown me yet...

I was today that I added number 4. And this is my favorite, to be honest. It didn't crossed my mind that God may not have a ministry outside of SLO for me to jump into right when I graduate and that he may have amazing plans for me to stay here after finishing school. I have romanticized ideas on what that looks like but I am trying to dispel those ideas because I want to be open for where God is leading me. So for now I am praying more and trying to keep an open heart about next year (and this summer). It is still scary though!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Beautiful!

God was very much a part of my day yesterday.
Feel free to ask me about everything he did! =)

 
*Camera phone quality.

Friday, January 22, 2010

After College

- Yesterday I started an application for interning for Campus Crusade.
- Yesterday I talked to my sister about going to Haiti.
- Yesterday I saw a group of Jr. Highers at the bowling ally on campus and I wanted to hang out with them really badly.
- Today my heart melted when I waved at a boy with the Friday Club (a group with the kinesiology dept on campus that does a game day with kids with disabilities every Friday) and he smiled and waved back. 

How can my heart be pulled in so many different directions? I have no idea where God wants me to go but I graduate in a year (or less then a year) and really wish I had direction. I have not been praying about it enough though. I think, "God will show me where he wants me," but I don't really take it before him and seek his will. I guess that is my new challenge for the quarter. I feel like he is going to surprise me.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Haiti + Crusade

Two questions I have tonight:

1. How do you express your heart to someone?
Especially when I don't even know how I feel. My heart is hurting. But that doesn't seem to describe it at all. I am not angry, I am just sad. But that sadness is so deep and big. And it hurts all the more because Satan has such a hold in the country of Haiti. The vast majority of the people who died this past week did not know the Lord and are now not living with God. So tonight I found my heart asking God, "Where is the hope in that? Where Lord? Because I don't get it!" And he responded in a way that only he can, "My heart is hurting too. It is breaking for these people that you love. Because I love them too, infinitely more then you do. I am sovereign. I am God. I see your sadness and I have a plan for both that sadness and these people." There is so much hope in that and I can't even comprehend all of it. He has a plan for Haiti, for the people, for me. And it is great, mighty, and powerful. I have hope. I just need to cling to it.

2. In light of that how do you deal with hurt in a healthy way?
Prayer and I'll let you know more as I figure that out. I am working on giving Haiti and my love for it to the Lord but that's where it gets hard. Really hard. For now I am praying, crying out to the Lord. And he hears me and is responding with peace and comfort. There is hope in this.

Facial Expressions

As I walked to work today I passed a girl that was smiling. Not because she was on the phone, not because she saw something really cool, just smiling. I don't know what she was thinking about or if something amazing had just happened to her. All I know is that her smile didn't fade the whole time I saw her. I never walk and smile. My face is mostly vacant when I am speed walking to my next destination. Her smile was amazing though! It sadly seemed out of place since we rarely smile for extended periods of time (unless we are with someone or laughing). But I loved it! I loved that she was so happy that she had to smile while walking and she didn't care what anyone thought. I know it brightened my day and I can only wonder how much more happy I would be throughout the day if I took the time to smile even when walking.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Pre - Natural Self

I have finished Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis and it is bittersweet. I have more of his books coming in the mail and I am very excited to be able to jump into them right when they arrive but I feel like I shelved a dear friend when I finished this book. I have posted a lot of quotes from Mere Christianity but they are by no means everything that spoke to me or that I enjoyed. Every page taught me something and I really really encourage you to read it. Really.
My last post was a very long peiced together section from the book and I apologize for the length but it was all so good and tied so well together that I could only omit a few lines here and there. Feel free to read it! I will leave you with one last quote cooresponding to the longer section I just posted:

By making us perfect, "[...] I think He meant, 'The only help I will give is help to become perfect. You may want something less; but I will give you nothing less.'" (201 Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis)

Natural Self

"The ordinary idea which we all have before becoming Christians is this. We take as a starting point our ordinary self with its various desires and interests. We then admit that something else--call it 'morality' or 'decent behavior', or 'the good of society'-- has claims on this self: claims which interfere with its own desires. What we mean by 'being good' is giving into those claims. Some of the things the ordinary self wanted to do turn out to be what we call 'wrong': well, we must give them up. [...] But we are hoping all the time that when all the demands have been met, the poor natural self will still have some chance, to get on with its own life and do what it likes. [...]

The Christian way is different: harder, and easier. Christ says, 'Give me All. I don't want so much of your time and so much of your money and so much of your work: I want You. I have not come to torment your natural self, but to kill it. No half-measures are any good. I don't want to cut off a branch here and a branch there, I want to have the whole tree cut down. [...] Hand over the whole natural self, all the desires which you think innocent as well as the ones you think wicked--the whole outfit. I will give you a new self instead. In fact, I will give you Myself: my own will shall become yours. [...]

The terrible thing, the almost impossible thing, is to hand over your whole self--all your wishes and precautions--to Christ. But it is far easier than what we are all trying to do instead. For what we are trying to do is remain what we call 'ourselves', to keep personal happiness as our great aim in life, and yet at the same time be good. We are all trying to let our mind and heart go their own way--centered on money or pleasure or ambition--and hoping, in spite of this, to behave honestly and chastely and humbly. And that is exactly what Christ warned us you could not do. And He said, a thistle cannot produce figs. [...]

That is why the real problem of the Christian life comes where people do not usually look for it. It comes the very moment you wake up each morning. All your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists simply in shoving them all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in. And so on, all day. Standing back from all your natural fussings and frettings; coming in out of the wind.

We can only do this for moments at first. But from those moments the new sort of life will be spreading through our system: because now we are letting Him work at the right part of us. It is the difference between paint, which is merely laid on the surface, and a dye or stain which soaks right through. He never talked vaugue, idealistic gas. When He said, 'Be perfect,' He meant it. He meant that we must go in for the full treatment. It is hard; but the sort of compromise we are all hankering after is harder--in fact, it is impossible. It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad." (195-200 Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Integration Part 2

What it looks like to have God help with the process of throwing out the refuse in my life:

"The Three-Personal-God, so to speak, sees before Him in fact a self-centered, greedy, grumbling, rebellious human animal. But He says, "Let us pretend that this is not a mere human creature, but our Son. It is like Christ in so far as it is a Man, for He became Man. Let us pretend that it is also like Him in Spirit. Let us treat it as if it were what in fact it is not. Let us pretend in order to make the pretense into a reality." God looks at you as if you were a little Christ: Christ stands beside you to turn you into one. I daresay this idea of a divine make-believe sounds rather strange at first. But, is it so strange really? Is it not how that higher thing always raises the lower? A mother teaches her baby to talk by talking to it as if it understood long before it really does." (193-194 Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis)

He wants to help me become more like Himself. I just need to be willing to let God teach me what I don't even know I need to learn yet.

Integration

When I do the dishes I can think, "I am so sick of cleaning this apartment. Why is it always so dirty?" Or I can think, "Thank you Lord for the opportunity to serve my roommates. Thank you for providing the dishes, the floor, and this apartment that I get the opportunity to take care of."

Today I grumbled to myself. And I didn't enjoy a single moment of the cleaning that is usually relaxing for me. I have a clean apartment now but at what cost? The loss of precious moments that could have been spent praying. An hour gone that could have been spent loving my roommates.

I'm learning that following the Lord means integrating Him into everything I do and making Him a part of every second of my day. He is with me and can be my focus when I do the dishes, vacuum the floor, and organize the cupboards. The train of thought I choose to run with makes all the difference. I can choose a thankful, worshipful dish washing experience or pity party hosting, bitter thoughts.

It's interesting what God teaches me when I'm taking out the trash. I need to throw away more then just physical trash, I need to clean out my heart and throw away everything that is not centered on Him. And He is more then willing to help with that process. =)

Friday, January 15, 2010

My Week

I feel like I am clinging to a very small and tenuous thread. If I let go of that thread everything will fall apart. The seam will unravel. I want to believe that if I let go I will fall into God's arms rather then an abyss. And I do believe that. Just not completely. The past few nights have been late nights of prayer and reading and crying out to the Lord. He is here, He is listening, and He is involved. But I am stubborn, scared, and human. I don't want to be this way, I was definitely not created to be this way. So I am working on it. I am trying to hand the string my life is hanging on over to God and let him make sense of the chaos in my heart. It is so hard. But it has been incredibly rewarding. One thing I have learned is that I love being able to spend hours with Jesus in times of desperation and know that He has my friends in His hands. He has Haiti in His hands. He has my family in His hands.
I can breath knowing He has me in His hands.

More Prayer Things

I feel like I have been in prayer a lot lately but I rarely feel like I have words to express anything. Which is ok, God knows my heart better then I do. But I would like to extend my prayer requests to you.

Haiti - I talked a little about this before. Knowledge of the situation continues to reveal more devastation.

Janey - My dear, sweet friend Janey lost her sister suddenly about 6 weeks ago. She rushed home yesterday to be with her grandpa who most likely won't make it through the weekend due to lung cancer. She has the Lord and is relying greatly on His strength but she has a lot to process and could use peace in this time. If you think of her please pray for her heart and her family.

Dallas - This is very recent, as of a few minutes ago. My friend Chelsea has babysat a little boy since he was born and today he got burned in the bathtub. I don't have many details right now but he is in the hospital having surgery right now. Prayer for the recovery process would be great since he is so little. Prayer for the doctor's wisdom, the family, Dallas, and Chelsea would also be great.

Also, I realise I give suggestions on how to pray and what to pray for a lot. But by no means does that mean you have to pray for things in that way. I am just trying to give context and details to the request. Prayer for God's will to be done in every situation is always appreciated.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Lost Things

I had a bunch of blank CD's. I lost them in my room and have not been able to find them since the end of summer. I have searched and searched for them. They were nowhere to be found.

Then tonight I really wanted to make a CD for my close friend who is going through an incredibly hard time and is driving home tomorrow. (She needs Jesus music for the car ride =). So I thought, "I'll just check this top drawer. They could be in here."
And...
He lead me right to them! They were practically sitting on the top of the drawer (I have checked this drawer before too). Incredible! I love love love God moments. And now I am burning a CD of awesomeness and hope and Jesus. Thank you God!

PRAYER!!!

It has been a very rollercoastery couple days. One minute I am super excited because I successfully turned my flare jeans into skinny jeans (thank you sewing machine) and the next I am crying because I heard some new turn of events in Haiti. I am happy that I could wear my rain boots this morning but the lows hit me at weird moments. In class, I dazed out for ten minutes trying to grapple with the weight of what happened yesterday and when I was trying to sleep last night I kept thinking about my friends and my people. I want to be there, in Haiti, to help them in a tangible way but I am also trying to figure out what help looks like from SLO.

My answer: Prayer. Until I can figure out a physical way to help prayer is huge for the Haitian people and the country. Prayer for our leaders that we can be effective in reaching Haiti, prayer for the workers on the front lines, prayer for those who have lost loved ones, prayer for the people who are hurt, prayer that resources will find their way to the people who have none right now. And prayer that God can show up in this situation. Haiti so desperately needs Him.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Being Full

I go to God when I am in a bad mood. I go to God when I am frustrated. I go to God when I am saddened with singleness. I go to God when I feel lost, confused, hollow.

Why do I try to use God for quick fixes of happiness?

He is not in my life solely to make me happy and content. He is in this world because He created it for His glory, because He chooses to use us for His kingdom (He doesn't need us to do this), because He loves us enough to be jealous of our attention.

He deserves to be sought. Not used. And not because I want to feel warm and fuzzy inside.

Honestly, I have a very uneducated view of why God is who He is and why He does what He does. I just know that He is not here so I can ignore Him until it is convenient for me to spend time with him. He deserves more then me coming to him just so I can be filled enough to get me through the week.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Yet another quote from C.S. Lewis...

"... what matters is the nature of the change in itself, not how we feel while it is happening. It is the change from being confident about our own efforts to the state in which we despair of doing anything for ourselves and leave it to God. [...] The sense in which a Christian leaves it to God is that he puts all his trust in Christ: trusts that Christ will somehow share with him the perfect human obedience which he carried out from His birth to His crucifixion: that Christ will make the man more like Himself [...] Christ offers something for nothing: He even offers everything for nothing. In a sense, the whole Christian life consists in accepting that very remarakble offer. But the difficulty to reach is the point of recognizing that all we have done and can do is nothing. [...] it must follow that you are trying to obey Him. But trying in a new way, a less worried way. Not doing these things in order to be saved, but because He has begun to save you already. Not hoping to get to Heaven as a reward for your actions, but inevitably wanting to act in a certian way because  a first faint gleam of Heaven is already inside you." (147 Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis)



Saturday, January 9, 2010

Week One

It is 10:40 in the morning on a Saturday and I feel like I woke up super early because none of my roommates are awake and it is dead quiet in here. We all survived week one of the new quarter and the sleep is much needed. So sleep in roommates, I'll be here when you wake up.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Whatever Cost To Us

“Do not sit trying to manufacture feelings. Ask yourself, 'If I were sure that I loved God, what would I do?'
When you have found the answer, go and do it.

On the whole, God's love for us is a much safer subject to think about than our love for Him. Nobody can always have devout feelings: and even if we could, feelings are not what God principally cares about. Christian Love, either towards God or towards man, is an affair of the will. If we are trying to do His will we are obeying the commandment,'Thou shalt love the Lord they God.' He will give us feelings of love if He pleases. We cannot create them for ourselves, and we must not demand them as a right. But the great thing to remember is that, though our feelings come and go, His love for us does not. It is not wearied by our sins, or our indifference; and, therefore, it is quite relentless in its determination that we shall be cured of those sins, at whatever cost to us, at whatever cost to him."
(132+133 Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis)

If I am sure that I love God, what will I do? What does that look like in my classes, in my friendships, in how I listen to my parents?
In light of how God loves me, what should I do? Am I willing to be cured of my sins no matter what it costs me? What does it look like to rely on truth instead of feelings and lasting wisdom and determination instead of temporal emotions?

I don't know completely. But I have an idea. Today it means deciding not to peirce my ear because my dad asked me not to. It means not complaining at work and being a positive face to those people coming to campus. It means listening to worship music and focusing on the Lord even though I really don't feel like it. It means reading the Bible instead of watching TV shows online at work.
It means making the decision to do life with God.

Being Pulled

I am not a good person. I say hurtful things, heaven knows I think horrible things, and I have my moments of completely misrepresenting Christ. And boy does Satan latch onto those moments and run with them. He pulls me down in any way possible and degrades me down to nothing. The traps me in my depravity. But I am realizing that is ok. Great even. Without the the reminder that I am lost, imperfect, in need I wouldn't see the hope I have. The pure joy of being rescued. The absolute miracle of being loved by a God who is "... the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see..." (1 Timothy 6:15+16)

So bring it on Satan. Bring it on.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Completeness

Have you ever had one of those moments where you can't contain your excitement and love for something? And the only thing you can do is run and jump and dance?

That's pretty much how I have been feeling all week now that the twins are home. And our reunion involved running across a parking lot screaming and hugging each other. People were staring. My group is all back in one place (Thank you Ireland and Scotland for releasing them.) and it makes me extremely happy to see their faces and talk with them. They get me. It's awesome.
From our last dinner before they left.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Going Back to God

Ever wonder what it really means to repent? There is a lot of intense language involved:

"Now what was the sort of 'hole' man had got himself into? He tried to set up on his own, to behave as if he belonged to himself. In other words, fallen man is not simply an imperfect creature who needs improvement: he is a rebel who must lay down his arms.  Laying down your arms, surrendering, saying you are sorry, realising you have been on the wrong track and getting ready to start life over again from the ground floor - that is the only way out of our 'hole'. This process if surrender - this movement full speed astern - is what Christianity call repentence. Now repentence is no fun at all. It is something much harder than merely eating humble pie. It means unlearning all the self-conceit and self-will that we have been training ourselves into for thousands of years. It means killing part of yourself, undergoing a kind of death. In fact, it needs a good man to repent. And here comes the catch. Only a bad person needs to repent: only a good person can repent perfectly. The worse you are the more you need it and the less you can do it. The only person who could do it perfectly would be a perfect person - and he would not need it.

Remember, this repentance, this willing submission to humiliation and a kind of death, is not something God demands of you before He will take you back and which He could let you off if He chose: it is simply a description of what going back to Him is like. If you ask God to take you back without it, you are really asking Him to let you go back without going back. I cannot happen."
- C.S. Lewis (Mere Christianity)

*emphasis added

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Walking

Genesis 3:8-13
Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, "Where are you?"
He answered, "I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid."
And he said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?" 

Genesis 4:3-6
"Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast. Then the Lord said to Cain, "Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it." 

Genesis 5:21-24

"When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah. And after he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Enoch lived 365 years. Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away."

What do these verses have in common? The closeness these men have with God. They walked with God. They talked to God. And they could hear God. They were in tune with God and had close relationships with the Lord that we do not see today.
My question is why? Why can't we converse with God, why can't we be so in tune with his Holy Spirit that we can live life physically feeling his presence? I think we can.

Hebrews 13:8
"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever."

We do NOT serve a different, more distant God then Adam and his realtions did. He is the same now as he was in the beginning. We just have more distractions, more barriers, and less faith. He can move in us and through us. We just have to pray to experience it and be willing to work on it.