Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Learning to be aware








Its been quite a few months since I've last written. Between these past few months and seasons, I have undergone great deal of transition. From graduating high school, to moving away to college. Some of you, who were once in college or have moved to a different city understand that transition does not come easy. As the semester is winding down and everyone is reflecting on the year or semester, I thought I would share my thoughts on this semester. Through these past couple months of adjustment I have learned some important lessons. The art of learning and learning to be more aware is the greatest lesson this semester has taught me. Through out most of High school I was involved. I got into this rhythm of leading, serving, being around familiar environments, and seeking the Lord through my alone time with Him. God has stretched me in college to listen, learn, and get to know him through community and vulnerability. For He has designed us to be in deep vulnerability with those you are unlike us. I am learning that it takes time and trust to unpack ones heart.
     The greatest sense of humility is vulnerability. I read this quote a couple months ago which responated deep within my heart, "To be in posture of reverence to God is the willingness to listen to Him and others." If I could sum up this semester in one sentence or quote this would be it. It is easy to go through this semester fixed on the temporary struggles and loneliness. When life is lived focused on myself, we loose sight of God and his holiness. If we decided to quite our self-fosuced thoughts and choose to listen to others, our hearts will open to God. We suddenly realize that there are other people who share similar struggles. The Joy of sharing each others burden comes to life.

"The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7

The longer we live in our own bubble, we become numb to God and the world. We loose sight of God's holiness and we forget the mountain of the darkness the world is filled with. We grow numb to the thousands of people who are drowning in spiritual darkness with no hope. What if, God beckoned you to be used in his redemptive plan to bring His children back to Him? What if the only way you could be truly used is if you were aware of where God placed you. Being prayerfully aware of the people you interacted with each day. From this awareness community expands.
       Community is no longer those who are in your personal bubble, but those who are across from you. Sometimes it is those who are different from you whether in race, personality, or gender. We are not limited to certain people we are called to, but we have the possibility to befriend anyone around us. Maybe there is an unexpected person you keep running into?  For what is seen in ones appearance, masks the an unseen hurt, pain, and loss going on in everyones life. The power of community not only brings us closer to God, but it allows us to reach behind the barriers of the heart in people. A key way of being in community with someone, is being vulnerable.
        During one of my university's conference sessions, the speaker used the creation story as an example of how God designed community. Adam and Eve were both naked, they were intimately vulnerable with each other. Yet they were different from each other, Adam being male and Eve being a female. When they both committed the first sin, they felt like they needed to cover up their sin. Feeling deep shame for their actions. This moment marked the first realization of shame which became the enemy to vulnerability. Thus causing Adam and Eve to cover their flaws. We can see from this picture, that God originally designed mankind to be vulnerable with those unlike us.
       For we are no better than the next person. When both persons are open about their sin, shame is defeated. Then in that moment they know they are not alone in their struggle. When hearing this imagery about vulnerability, I finally understood community. For so long I have tried being the light of Jesus through service. The longer I bottled up my struggles, serving others was rooted in my pride of who people saw me. The moment I started to open up, that pride walked out the door, instead freedom to draw near to God became abundant. As a community we are the bride of God. Let us not allow our self-centered desires and thought filled shame keep us away from the community in which God has called us to live in. Let us continue:

"Not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching."
Hebrews 10:25.




Saturday, June 11, 2016

Importance of a youthful spirit

"Don't let the excitement of youth cause you to forget your Creator. Honor him in your youth before you grow old and say 'life is not pleasant anymore.' Remember him before your legs-the guards of your house- start to tremble; and before your shoulders-the strong men-stoop." Ecclesiastes 12:1;3


A couple weeks ago my pastor talked about how age is not a matter of physical appearance but of our spirit. Since then the Lord has been unraveling this wisdom in my own life. 

To my lovely friends and family living as a youth in this time. We live in a world that screams for teens to follow their hearts desire and live it up and then follow God when we are older and settled down. Through out the bible there are many examples that call for us to run wild for Jesus now. While we are young we have the chances to reach out and serve others. We are only guaranteed now. 
I know how chessy that sounds, but we truly have now to make a difference. This moment to fall in love with our Lord and Savior. I am reminded that I could chase romance or friendships now. What is the point of fully focusing on those things when in the end we will be with our True friend, husband, father, and savior forever. Instead lets chase what matters in life first and let God provide the rest. (Matthew 6:33)

Now is the time when we are passionate and full of life. Now is the time to learn how to be joyful during trials and thankful through it all. Being youthful in spirit is "not determined by physical being but mindset and heart set."* In John 21 after Jesus died and rose again, his disciples went back to what they were doing. They went through a couple years of being taught by Jesus but when He left they when back to their regular way life. Then Jesus reappears and challenges Peter. 

"When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”
The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.  Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.”  Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!” John 21:15-19. (bible gateway)
Jesus shows Peter that while he is young the opportunity to go on mission is now. Soon enough our laters or next years will come and  eventually our energy or physical ability decreased. That does not mean we stop but our opportunity to serve is just as important now as it is when we are older.
I recently visited my great aunt who being not in the best condition had great joy beyond bonds. She truly is a perfect example of someone who has a youthful spirit and continues to choose Jesus everyday no matter the circumstance. It does not matter what age you are, because God calls us of all ages to have faith like a child. To those who like me are young right now, We only are going to get older. Throughout the bible Jesus chose the young, because of their passion and ability. Do not wait to serve the Lord and obey his commands. We do not know what lies ahead in the future or how long God allows us to live this life. As we embark on this next season where ever we are I pray that we would take advantage of being young and start now. We has chosen all of us and makes us able through Him to do all things. 
* quote from sermon preached by Dale Oquist. 



Friday, November 27, 2015

Chasing sunsets



I am realizing that as I grow up life becomes more routine. It is harder to be spontaneous. It is harder to have child like faith. Temptations and doubt become giant tidal waves that I face in the midst of life. I forget the importance faith. I yearn for these moments of triumphant victory, I desire to see Gods hand move in miraculous ways. Yet my yearning is nothing if I do not actually take the time to spend time with my Father. I run towards these moments. Expecting to see the beauty without going through the pain. I want to see the sunset. I chase the sunsets. I desperately want to take in the beauty as much as I can before the night rages on. I want to be found in those moments.I want to live my life through works and sacrifices so I can have those moments. I think that as long as the blessings and beauty abounds I will be okay. But its the moment the sun goes down and the dark sky creeps in I loose hope.  I forget it is about the relationship; the journey. I proceed with my head down going once more through the motions of life.  I do not want to live my life this way. I realize this is such a big temptation. As soon as the holidays role around and life just gets busier we have excuses to go through the motions. Excuses to not take time to let Jesus in. It all ends in hopeless stress.  Galatians 5:1;13 says,
                               
 "For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery. For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not us your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another."

   I have to remind myself the Author of Life has not made me to be a sunset chaser. Chasing the sunset trying to find myself in those moments. Trying to see the beautiful outcome before the journey. For we only have the few moments God gives. Do not let the motions of life become your excuse. For we are free. Free to have faith. Free to pursue a relationship with Christ. This has been my theme since summer. I have written the same prayers and had the realizations that now is the moment to follow God. Yet it was hard to take the time to truly spend time with my Father. We will have moments where we use our freedom as freedom to live for now; the temporary. Do not get discouraged. Christ died to give us grace so we could get back up. For he desires our hearts more than our actions. Our actions will surly reflect our hearts. I think in the world today we want to see our outcomes; our future. That we forget the now moments.

"For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings."
Hosea 6:6.

    

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Pain in the Midst of the Sunsets

No words cannot describe, no poetic word sequence can be written. Nothing can help describe the silence. It's watching a sunset on a broken heart. Letting it heal but also letting it bring on another day. Another day that your not used to. Instead of ending each night with peace, you anxiously dread another tomorrow. A tomorrow full of life, storms, laughter, and tears. A tomorrow that brings the next path. A path that no one wants to walk down. I realized following God in these moments is letting go of life and mourn. Cry it out. Let him carry you into the rugged journey. It's letting yourself feel helpless with trust in Him and be okay with it. Hopelessness try's to make a breathable moment unbreathable. It try's to make you feel like life will always be this way. But it's okay. Life is this way. The journey/this storm/ this leg of the path may be filled with hopeless after hopeless moments. The wind may be knocked out of you each time. It's okay. In one moment you are mourning and the next small gap may be a beautiful sunset. A sunset that is filled with storm clouds and the very thing you are morning. Our pain will hurt, but God turns it into beauty. In these moments we can see the beauty of our pain like a sunset. 


In these moments we are reassured that He is near. He is constant. He literally hears our prayers.


Saturday, July 11, 2015

The Wandering Ways of the World.


It's an ocean of the tempting pleasures of life. A tidal wave that wants to devour. A little taste here, a little drink there may not be so bad. It's the little steps that will eventually bring to this ocean. I have found myself wandering in circles. Trying to get away from this life but letting myself be devoured even more. I try to remind myself that I am truly statistied in Jesus. I bear the good fruit when I follow my Savior. I feel like I can live the life of pleasure and follow God. Why even bother going back. It's a mindset that's hard to lose. With no conviction there's no point. As I wander knowing I am saved by grace but hating the moment when I have to start all over. I realize that conviction starts when I truly start to choose Jesus. I have told myself and God that I would come back. It's just words with no meaning. We all have moments when falling seems a lot easier than trudging on. Falling gets us nowhere and trudging eventually gets us to the other side. We all are tested and tempted. We all will fall. I am reminded of this verse.   "He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me." (John 15:2-4 NIV)
Own of my pastors said that "God cares about our holiness more than our happiness." Even when we fall and getting back up is hard, when it hurts and giving up the world to follow Christ feels like the hardest thing. Know that bearing the fruit that we want to bear and being  Joyful during trialsome times only comes when we remain in Christ. I am truly myself when I am in Christ. 






Wednesday, July 1, 2015

To act justly

The recent Supreme Court decision on gay marriage has been a huge heartbreak for many churches around the US. I will admit I was very heartbroken when I heard about it too. As I was sitting on my bed this morning,  I realized,  here all of the US has been foucsed on the gay marriage ruling. As Christians we can think of all the persecutions we might face in the next few years. But Christians are truly being persecuted for what they believe in now! We all know who ISIS is and what they are doing. We are not really aware of what's going on right now. All  the media is really talking about is gay marriage. I know battle on gay marriage will be a long fight. I am not saying that this issue is not important. Right now ISIS has killed 76 children for reasons such as not fasting during Ramadan and practicing sorcery.  They have not ceased to kill women and children that they come across. Im am not trying to bashthe Church or society, but I think we need to be more aware. In the bible God calls us to "walk humbly, love mercy, and act justly." I believe we need to act justly with this issue. I don't want to just post this and do nothing about it. I want to change this situation. My heart and prayers go out to all the people suffering from ISIS.  God not only calls us to act justly, He also tell us these people are our neighbors,  brothers, and sisters in Christ. These people need as much help as ever. I personally don't know how to help besides praying for them and giving money to organizations that can. I think if we as a church are aware of what's going on. Change can happen. Not only should we be aware of what our brother and sisters are going through. We should be aware of what our country is doing about it. These are just some thoughts. Below are articles with more information. 

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Simple moments of beauty.


It's the simple moments of beauty. The sunsets. The stillness at twilight. It's sitting in the midst of this beauty and having a moment with God. These are the moments where I like to bring my broken hearts and simply give it to God. As I was reading old journal entry's of a couple months ago. I realized I had these moments where my faith was strong and God moved. Then I had moments where in my weakness and unworthiness God blessed me. He showed me He was faithful. Yet I seemed to let the broken hearts, the anger, the falls, And the bad days get the best of me. I seemed to forget all that the good shepherd provides. Why are we humans quick to let the joyous moments and the times of defeat effect us equally? These past couple of months have been hard. There have been moments of refinery and moments of blessing. I realized when we try to follow God but always look at how unworthy we are, we can never accomplish anything. We or I in this matter am so focused on the negative. I realize how unworthy I am. A couple weeks ago God blessed me beyond words. I was feeling unworthy and trying my best. My parents surprised me and took me to a concert. That night every little thing from getting there to the key words to in the songs blessed me. I knew that God was working in my heart and was moving. I realized its in those big moments of blessing where we can remember to thank God. Remember to live out life with gratitude. Living life in gratitude opens heart to Him. It's not letting the times of defeat effect us but letting Jesus write his beautiful story in our lives.