Friday, December 31, 2010

A Resolution for All

Last week, one of my study times came from Exodus 33. The people of Israel have yet to make it to the Promised Land and God is not happy with them, but they are still His people. The Lord has told Moses to tell them that if they were to go to the Promised Land right then, the His presence would not go with them. In verse 15, we get a glimpse into the heart of Moses, a heart that God himself molded, "Then [Moses] said to Him, 'If thy presence does not go with us, do not lead us up from here."

As I think about the end of this year and the beginning of another, I know one thing: If my God's presence does not go with and before me, then I want no part of it. Since we now have the Holy Spirit and those who know Christ have Him always in their heart, His presence can be more seen as His will or blessing; however, His presence or blessing is all that matters. My desire for this next year is to be kingdom focused, to spend my time and energy on bringing God's kingdom even more so here on Earth.

Often I think about how hard it is to truly follow Christ in our American culture, not just because of the obvious attacks on our faith, but the seemingly harmless things too, like the pursuit of education, a career, a house, a family. I want to pray about everything and pray that my desires are His desires so that every step I take can be with His blessing. No matter what those of the world tell me, that I need to go back to school, be successful, reach my (earthly) potential, travel excessively, whatever it may be, I know that I am content doing whatever I'm doing as long as His presence goes before me, even if I'm doing nothing but waiting on Him.

May this New Year be filled with His presence in your life. I know that's my resolution.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Long Road

Over the years, I have had many struggles. Ever since I was a small child, I have struggled with feeling loved. I know that this fact alone has been a great barrier to my relationships and ultimately with my relationship with my Father in Heaven. Quite frankly, if you do not expect people or God to love you then it becomes very easy to become a very strong-willed, independently acting individual and if someone does love you, it is almost more frightening than to believe no one does.

Regardless, I have always had a very strong desire to be in God's will, but I'm not sure it was always for the right reasons. However, a few years ago I was faced with the challenge for my life. I had slipped into a very dark, deep, and crippling depression. I suffered from irrational fears that kept me inside my house, uncontrollable sobs, and a state of constant worry that resulted in many physical problems. And what was the cause of this? I could say it was the many unfortunate circumstances that I had endured, but the truth is that I had put my faith in a God that I did not know. I did not know His character, neither His ways nor of His love for me and when He did not meet my expectations, I was without a foothold in solid, biblical knowledge and understanding of who He is and what I'm not, and I fell. I fell hard. I fell far. I fell fast.
And I did not get up quickly.

God in His GREAT mercy for me, patiently and slowly drew me to himself over the next few years. I was so upset and sad and yet also so very angry all at once. Each day was a battle. Would I make it out of bed today? How many times would I cry today? Could I eat? I cannot tell you how many times I yelled at Him for answers. Why God? Why this? Why not this? Do you love me? Do I love you? I read so many books to help me understand what my problem was and how to fix it, and I have to say many were very helpful. I began to read my Bible more diligently and tried to get answers, but all along I knew that God was not going to give me answers, He was going to give me Himself.

See, He wanted me to know Him and love Him without expectation. And He waited for it. He did not give me the answers I wanted. He did not give me the things I wanted. He gave me what I needed. He gave me the opportunity to know Him without all the stuff and the success I was used to having. No, instead He gave me humility (and a BIG helping of it too...), He gave me great friends, and He gave me time. LOTS of time. Through all of this, He has changed my heart.

So now looking back with a changed heart and, of course, hindsight being 20/20, I can see His handiwork in my life thus far. He knew that I would fall. He knew that I would be disrespectful and beligerent. He also knew that He was going to have mercy on me and now, now I KNOW that my God loves me. Not because of what He has given me, but because I know WHO HE IS.

Reading Habukkuk in Bible study, has really been a treat. Had I been reading it at an earlier time in my life, it would have made me so angry and filled with a feeling of hopelessness. Think about it. If you do not know God and His character, and someone tells you (as a way of comforting you in a hard situation/season) that God is in control and He is sovereign, would that not terrify you? See, now that I know God and who He is more fully, I can read Habukkuk (and the rest of the Bible for that matter) and have great peace, comfort, and faith that my God is good and loves me no matter the circumstances. *

"I waited patiently for the LORD;
   he inclined to me and heard my cry.
He drew me up from the pit of destruction,
   out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
    making my steps secure.
He put a new song in my mouth,
   a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
   and put their trust in the LORD."

Psalm 40:1-3 (ESV)

*If you struggle with depression, please contact me. I would love to talk to you and get you some books, people, Scripture, and prayer.

Much love,

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Yes, Please...Ummm... I Mean No, Thank You? I'm Confused.

Here's the skinny. Lately, God has been showing me a new way of thinking, a new way of living, and certainly a new way of living this life for Christ. I am a slow pupil, so this has been a rather long process; however, I have come to have two fears as I embark on this journey:

Fear #1:
I am afraid that I will not "get it". Does that make sense? The best way I can describe this fear is that as God teaches me and reveals Himself more fully to me that it will only go as far as my head and never make it to my heart. That I will live in a continuous state of disconnect and bear little fruit while doing little for the kingdom that is at hand and is to come. How can I truly glorify Him if what I know never becomes a true passion of my heart and moves me past just being obedient?

Fear #2:
My next fear is that I DO "get it". Ironic, right? So it  is possible that this very fear is what holds me back and makes Fear #1 a reality, but for now we will treat it seperately. I am afraid of the radical and overwhelming life changes that will occur once it all clicks together, once the string of lessons finally culminates into one grand finale of a pivotal, mind blowing, course altering light bulb going off and my heart can, at that point, never go back. What will happen? What will it cost me? Do I really believe at that point  that Jesus is worth it ALL?

So as I process these fears in my tiny brain, I must go to Scripture to give me some kind of answers and here's what I know to be true:

For Fear #1:
I must remember that my level of faith, essentially my level of understanding, is not by my works, but by His gracious gift of faith to me. I am to be obedient and hopeful in Him and He is the one who does the works in me and gives me the understanding and knowledge that  I do and will have as I continue to follow Him.(Romans 12:3, Phil 1:6)

For Fear #2:
This fear is again, giving me waaaay too much credit. God is the one who can and does change our hearts. He hardened Pharoah's heart, he completely changed Saul into Paul, and all of Ninevah came to know Him not by their own wondefulness, I'm sure. If God is going to teach me something, He will be faithful to give me the heart change to go with it. Hasn't He always?

I just have to remind myself that although I have responsibilties in my walk with Christ, it is the Father who is faithful to see to it that I have His heart and that I will carry out His will.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Whys and What Not

Pleasant words are as an honeycomb,
sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.
Proverbs 16:24 (KJV)

This blog is primarily about encouragement. As I share what God is doing to my heart and how he is teaching and correcting me in my walk with Jesus, I hope you will be encouraged by a small saint in the hands of a very big and capable God.

I chose to call it "Honey and Marrow" in reference to the verse above. My Koine Greek is a little rusty these days, but if I remember correctly, in the Septuagint, the literal translation to "health to the bones" is the same as saying "the marrow or life-force", that which gives actual life to the body and bones. My desire is that this can bring life to your bones with the words of a broken sinner and God's perfect Word.

I cannot fail to mention that this blog is also an attempt by me to conquer some of my very own demons. By putting my fears, hopes, and lessons in organized thought, I hope to be able to rest in God's peace about those things I struggle with as I trust in Him.

Anywho, I hope this will be something you look forward to reading, I mean it's bound to be funny. Come on. It's me.

With deep love and affection,