August 13, 2011

I don’t have it all figured out.

I don’t even have tomorrow figured out much less my life. I’m half way through a two week intensive course in floral design. I was hoping that the course would spark some grand passion in me – the passion I used to have for flowers, design, gardens, etc. So far it has been very enjoyable but I’m not “sold” on it yet.

Not knowing where I want to go and what I want to do has left me to live each day as best I can. And maybe this is how God meant for us to live. He said not to make plans, he laughs at our plans, and each day may be our last. Make it count – for Christ.

That said, I cannot float the rest of my life from career to career….so something is going to have to give. I’ll keep living my life day – to – day and pray that God will form those days into a life that glorifies him. I’ll pray that a passion and striking talent is revealed and that I may use it to share Him with others.

August 5, 2011

Jesus Christ is my passion. My all.

This is why I have lost passion in other things. God has been cleaning my spiritual house. He’s dusting out all the things that get in the way of a pure love for Christ.

He’s showing me sin I’ve hidden (anger).

He’s showing me sin I’ve justified (greed and vanity).

He’s showing me sin I’ve denied (pride and arrogance).

I asked for this. Never ask for something you don’t really want because God rarely seems to give it to you quite the way you thought he would. It’s never simple. Never easy. You don’t wake up one day humble and gentle and patient. Nope. He allows you tests and trials that help you cultivate Godly virtues.

While I don’t feel fully transformed, I realize I never will. I will still sin, but God is showing me the road that leads to heaven where I will be fully renewed to his glory.

August 2, 2011

During Christ’s ministry, many people came to him wanting healing or other blessings. Few people actually followed him.

Christ is not a year round Santa Clause…but most of us treat him thus. We pray proclaiming our desires, needs, wants, and cry in despair when we don’t get the answer we wanted. Or when we do, forget about him until the next issue arises. We are like the people who pressed Jesus from all sides demanding help, but failed to grasp his true healing message. We got the things we came for (or didn’t) then left…

Few people changed their lives to follow Christ. While today we cannot always physically drop what we are doing and follow Jesus in to His ministry, we can be inspired by the Disciples and live our lives devoted to Christ by fully loving him and living out lives poured out for others, to His glory. This might take us to far reaches of the earth working great ministries. Or it might leave us in our cubicles, living lives of quiet holiness. The mission is in both the adventurous and dramatic places, as well as the most mundane and humble.

July 31, 2011

“Don’t we live instead as though God is created for us,
to do our bidding,
to bless us,
and to take care of our loved ones?”

Francis Chan in CRAZY LOVE

The past few weeks have found me desperately obsessing over the purchase of a new car. I have gone back and forth over paying cash for an old one or purchasing a new one with a warranty and getting a payment plan. Each option has their pros and cons.

This frustrating journey has led me to bargaining with God. As I make plans I ask him to bless them…

The worst situation was when I went to look at a certain car, fed up with the whole process and ready to move forward, I told God that if this car worked out I would donate a substantial sum of money to a good charity. In my mind, I was honoring God if he’d honor me.

But God had other plans.

In using my frustrations, in not giving into my bargaining, he exposed a form of corruption I never acknowledged in myself – the idol of greed. Not to be rich or famous…or to be something great and honored. No, it was a simple type of greed, one easily forgotten – the greediness of ease and comfort.

And so I thank God for frustrating my plans and thus reminding me that He does not exist for me, but I exist for him.

July 19, 2011

“Meaningless! Meaningless! says the teacher
Utterly Meaningless! Everything is Meaningless.
What does man gain from all his labor
at which he toils under the sun?”

Ecclesiastes 1:2-3

I must admit that I feel quite lost. I feel directionless and stalled out. I want to do things.

Write.

Learn languages.

Help others.

Change careers.

But all these things are fleeting thoughts that I worry about when trapped driving the work truck that I hate so much. I want to change my life, but I don’t know in what way I want change. I hate my career, but I’m unsure what career I want instead.

Guilt plagues me.

I’m a creative type with no creative love. I like all creative work and struggle to focus in on one that I want to turn into a career. I love clothes and sewing and dream of a life that includes my own little shop where I dress women in beautiful modest clothes. I love writing but I sit at my computer staring at the black page with nothing to say.

A little part of me screams that this is all meaningless. Ecclesiastes rattles through my brain.

I longingly think about service in the church… and yet I cringe. I’ve been there before, serving, smiling, assisting as told. I attended Seminary for the denomination I was a part of but when I discovered odd doctrine, I ended up excommunicated for questioning it.

Christ tells me to pour myself out. But I’m not sure how. I feel selfish. I feel hypocritical. At times I think I should just become a nun, but I’m not Catholic nor could I be.

I want to live for Christ. I want to take up my cross. Maybe that’s a meaningless job. Maybe that’s being single though I long for my own family. Maybe that’s always walking around with a hint of sorrow over what might be.

I don’t know what I want in life. I just want Christ.

Lord, help me follow you. May each step I take be one in your direction.

June 27, 2011

You cannot separate morality and justice when following Christ.
It’s not personal righteousness versus helping the poor.
It’s not one or the other.
It’s both.

In Christ we find the call to be both moral and generous.
In Christ we find the call to die to our sin and live for others.

In Christ we find the call to be both holy and helpful.

June 15, 2011

“Be imitators of God, therefore as dearly loved children
and live a life of love,
just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a
fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”
Ephesians 5:1-2

Pondering what it would look like to take Christ seriously; as seriously as I do all the stuff in my life. What impact would that have on us as Christians if we took Him at his word, if we truly believed in his love, his grace, his words, his commands, his life.

I take garden books very seriously, applying the advice to my raised beds and designs.

I have friends who take their therapy and pop-psychology very seriously, applying it to their mentality and lifestyles.

I have friends who take their fitness coaches very seriously, applying their instruction to their workouts and food choices.

What if instead of finding beauty, peace, freedom, and satisfaction in these things we took Christ seriously when He said we can find all of this in Him?

What if we actually imitated our Savior?

January 11, 2011

“The Son is the image of the invisible God,
the first-born over all creation”
Colossians 1: 15

 

Image is important to me. I am an artist. I deal with how people read, interpret, and view things. While I personally work with landscapes and gardens, aesthetics is my job. Beauty is important, God created a beautiful creation for us and appointed a Son, both man and divine, to live a tough life, to die a horrific death, in order to be resurrected for the salvation of His beautiful bride, the church.

It seems, unfortunately, that many people who deal with beauty miss the importance of our Creator. It also seems, that a lot of Christians miss the importance of beauty. Magazines, whether for home, garden, or “personal vanity” (fashion/beauty) are over flowing with elegant clothes, pictures, layouts, text, etc. but lack important and God-glorifying content. I feel that for the most part, Christian magazines and resources focus a lot on the importance of the content but not on how it is presented. They should go hand-in-hand.

My wonderful mother stumbled across this magazine in the grocery store today. I’ve flipped through it and I am very impressed with the layout, photos, and pure elegance of the imagery. I am also happy to find that life:beautiful is a magazine for women that will point them to God as well as to beauty in the home, on the table, and in their daily lives. A lot of times such efforts lead us to silly and cheesy works, but this is truly a wonderful magazine for discerning women of God. It may not be cutting edge, but I do think it is very well done. I look forward to reading it cover to cover and I will be on the look out for the next edition.

We, as daughters of the Creator, should recognize that his creative spirit lives in us. We should not be ashamed of it or lazy about it. Create beauty and do it to the Glory of the Savior.

January 5, 2011

“I think there has been too much emphasis on me. I want to be used
by God, but I think we have this desire to make heroes out of people rather than
following God and the Holy Spirit.”
Francis Chan

On mulitple occasions I have encountered congregations where the focus was more on the pastor (who in many case was truly gifted) rather than Christ. I will not judge the motives of these pastors, but many of them had a strangle hold on control. Whether in order to grab power or out of fear for the flock, some pastors can become overly involved in each and every thing – they basically place themselves in the role of God. It can be easy for the congregation to unknowingly allow the pastor to be “God” worshipping him and his many gifts and ideas rather than focusing on the Triune God.

It is so easy to make idols out of pastors.

Here’s one pastor who recognized that. Check out this CNN article on Francis Chan.

 

 

January 4, 2011

“pray continually”
1 Thessalonians 5:17

Short, simple verse. Easy to memorize and it means the world to me. I forget so easily to pray and yet, when I do I feel a marked difference in my day. I struggle with work. I hate doing the same thing every day. I struggle to love my co-workers. When I pray work becomes a joy and my co-workers, people whom Jesus loves.

People love to make faith hard. They want to control the congregation, gain fame and power and wealth so they act like they have discovered a new thing to fuel your faith. A new doctrine, a new interpretation, a new step-by-step plan. But in reality it’s quite simple. Just pray! Pray for true repentance, pray that God would guide your path each day, pray that you would love others the way he loves them, pray that your thoughts, words, and actions would glorify him…pray for everything.

While long extended time periods of prayer are wonderful, that concept causes many people to freeze up. Instead of approaching it as a long event I try to see it as something that starts first thing in the morning when I wake up and lasts until I fall asleep … it’s more of a thought process that I weave throughout my day during car ride, breaks, and as I work, rather than something I plan to do for a set amount of time at certain times in the day.

 

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