11.20.2009

...and let none of his words fall to the ground.

First Samuel 1-3 today.

Looking at women yearning to be mothers,
priests being arrogant and worthless,
God granting prayers to those who seek Him,
and condemning people who say they love Him--but their lives don't reflect it.

Young men who have been dedicated to God,
and who live and serve,
and hear God's voice,
and are favored by God and man.

My heart turns in my chest when I think about the life of someone totally following God.
To hear His voice
and to act on it,
to never waver on emotion or ever-changing worldly expectations,
but to know
that God wants this world
to be whole
in Him,

and seeking that,
not just for ourselves,
or for one day far away,
but for all of the world.
here.

one of the passages in 1 Sam 3 says that as Samuel grew, the LORD was with him, and let none of his words fall to the ground.

what he said came true.

because he spoke truth.

my heart aches to be an honorable woman.

11.15.2009

vanity

today,

pastor keith at new city church downtown talked about the book of ecclesiastes,

and about how the fool chases things that cannot satisfy with no thought of tomorrow or of common sense, and how the one who professes wisdom will never be satisfied because there is always more to learn or to acquire.

granted, Solomon says, the wise often live better lives than the foolish,

but in the end,
we both have the same fate,
as we all die,
and are forgotten,
and our efforts to be heard and satisfied in the world will be lost.

for a while now, i have felt the need to feel God through the highs and lows of life.

even throwing sense to the side, and chasing emotions or other such drivel in hopes to find God at the very base of those feelings, things, or events.

in fact, i think that's where the title of my blog comes from.

today, however, i began to wonder what that meant, and if i was wrong to think like that. I don't think i'm wrong to think that God meets us at our hearts, since He gave them to

is it that God meets us in the pure emotion that we experience,
or is it that we seek to meet God as He is, and He will fill us with those emotions?

Do you see the difference I'm trying to draw out here?

On the one hand, one might say, "I want to feel drunk with God's love."

Well, what is drunk?

And you go out and experience physical drunkenness in hopes that it will help you understand God better, or to feel Him differently.

But is that wise? Is that how our spirits work?

Or maybe one might think, "Sex was given to us to enjoy and also as a picture of God and the Church."

and so, in an effort to understand, we may create a scenario in which we feel and relate to another person in a physically sexual manner, making our own rules and guidelines according to how we feel or how we think we tick.

But is that wise? Is that how our spirits work?

rather than going to God first and being filled with Him, and letting His Spirit take us to those highs and lows.

I hate to say it, but it's like we've put the cart before the horse.

I've put the cart before the horse.

It's curious.

I believe that God meets us at our emotions,
but our emotions are fallible.
Our hearts yearn for things that are not right.
And yet, we give them such a prominent place in our hearts.
We seek conventional wisdom,
we seek emotion,
we seek wholeness in food, entertainment, toys, money, sex, attention, and our abilities...

So the challenge is this--in desiring to live a life that matters, we must define our lives by something that doesn't change and will not let us down, and will in fact fulfill us, and that is God.

And in pursuing Him, and being pursued by Him, we must believe and trust that He will give us answers to our thoughts and emotions--answers that are based in Him and in Truth, not in our always unstable hearts and emotions.

and we will be fulfilled, not just today, but eternally.

11.14.2009

lord of the covenant

Typically, if I said that phrase, it would be with joy and awe.

Mostly because it describes a God that I want to know and love better.

But today, that title is colored differently. Instead of talking about a true God who defines His covenant with us in Himself--with a love that surpasses our ability to make Him happy (read: that He loves us despite what we bring Him, and that we should bring Him our best because we love Him, not because we want Him to love us...)--this title is given to Baal-berith, one of the many gods Israel ran after in its early days, after Gideon died.

Baal-Berith.

Just one of the many gods. Israel lived an up and down rollercoaster of pride and then shame, as each judge or prophet came and went. When their leader, or icon of spiritual direction passed away, they resorted to something comfortable and understandable--namely, the gods of nearby pagan communities. In this case, Baal-Berith.

I looked up Baal-Berith on Wikipedia, and two things struck me.

1.) The meaning of his name
2.) The Christian culture that takes names in the Bible and creates silly stories from them.

I've already kinda talked about his name, but more than the fact that it attributes something to a not-god that is typically really cool and associated with the real God, I found it interesting that Wikipedia mentioned how crazy Jews were about this cult, often carrying around a gold image of a fly in their pocket, which they would pull out and kiss from time to time.

A fly.

And they would kiss it.

Gross.

And then the whole Christian culture thing. I think it's amazing how some traditions in the church (note, not capitalized, not God's Church, but rather the institution initiated by man) take names and words in the Bible and create whole stories from them, complete with personalities and mythologies.

Attributing sins and issues with demons of the same name. Who comes up with this stuff, and who believes it? I think it's crazy. I'm pretty sure that would be classified as chasing "myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith" (First Timothy 1).

It makes me wonder what idols we carry around, giving it a name, thinking it is worth following and hanging onto, revering it and respecting it, hoping it will provide us with blessings and health, love and freedom, but they are just worthless ideas and broken reflections of the real God.

And how we make up stories to explain things away, rather than following God whole-heartedly and leaning in to hear His teaching.

kissing flies. ugh.

11.12.2009

church marquees

i feel like i have been silent for a little while; i'm sorry if all my posts have had the same theme, but i'm not really sorry, it's been a cool learning experience.

for those of you who don't know, i commute to Macon everyday for school and work. On my way, i pass no fewer than 7 churches. one way that i keep myself occupied is by checking their marquees to see if they have any pithy, Christianese sayings.

sometimes they make no sense, or at least border on being really silly.

"who wants to be a Christianaire?"
"wrinkled with a burden? drop in for a faith-lift"
"forbidden fruit leads to spiritual jams"
"heavenly forcast: reign forever"

sometimes they are offensive.

"stop, drop and roll don't work in hell"
"want to get to heaven? turn right and keep straight"

and sometimes, there is the rare gem,

"god is doing something good"


there is a whole slew of pithy sayings. some good, some not-so-much.

in the past month, three on the way to macon have struck me.

one blankly and blatantly queried: "how honest are you?"
the second encouraged, "somebody, somewhere is praying for you"
the third warned, "if not today, when?"

i have always been a liar. sometimes i'm really good at it. sometimes, i'm so good at it that i pretend to not be good at it and so people think that i'm not good at it. sometimes, i'm not good at it at all. and sometimes i can't tell which one it is.

but that post irritated me. how honest am i? i knew, everytime i drove by it, that my fallacies would be again brought to the surface. but it encouraged me to reconsider how honest i really am, and to try to actually keep truth as a focus in my life. Truth is something that i value, and i shouldn't change who i am or what i say because i want people to like me. that is ridiculous.

the second sign didn't quite bother me, i mean it was nice!

to think that despite it all, despite all the pain and failures i experience and sometimes even cause, things that i feel like i don't have anyone to talk to or share with, someone, somewhere is praying for me.

that seems like just a hopeful statement.

sorta like, "shoot for the moon, because if you fail, you'll land among the stars!"
or, "it's okay, you'll get them next time".

you know, comments that have no backing, you just say them to make yourself feel better.

but everytime i saw that sign, my heart warmed at the thought that someone, somewhere, that loves me, was thinking about me at that time. maybe it was just the person that put the sign up. who knows?

it felt good.

lastly, if not today, when? silly to think that sign encouraged me to live life fully this past month. not like it did alone, but it made me reconsider the secrets that i hide and the laziness that i live in. if not today, when will you talk to your friends? if not today, when will you perform your school work or work work excellently? if not today, when will you watch your little brothers and read them stories with joy? when?

moral of the story:
church marquees only suck when i don't like them. how's that for a double standard?

11.09.2009

the weight of glory

"Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased."
(The Weight of Glory by C.S. Lewis - Preached originally as a sermon in the Church of St Mary the Virgin, Oxford, on June 8, 1942: published in THEOLOGY, November, 1941, and by the S.P.C.K, 1942...http://www.doxaweb.com/assets/doxa.pdf)

My foolish heart aches.

I know what I want.

But it isn't mine to have.

And I flit on the line, dreaming dreams that aren't mine, weaving stories that will not come to pass, and imaging fantasies where none of this matters.

But escape from reality is not good.

Casting out all I know for what I feel is dangerous and silly.

It is with everything in life.

Friends.
Jobs.
Toys.
Money.
Comfort.
Food.
Convictions.
Love.
Faith.

I am far too easily pleased.

11.08.2009

good weekend.

that moon song
by gregory alan isakov

the tail lights burn red
they were hotter than hell
and i’ve been long gone couldn’t you tell

the smoke in the air
couldn’t hide my shame
saw it lit up on that silver screen

and ahh that full bellied moon she’s a shinin on me
yeah she pulls on this heart like she pulls on the sea

and you came on strong like some running wave
and your beauty left me broke and hungry
left me begging to the birds for a bone or an offering
left me saying nothin, nothin, like i always say

and ahh that full bellied moon she’s a shinin on me
yeah she pulls on this heart like she pulls on the sea

and those broken hearted lovers,
they got nothing on me

11.02.2009

schoolbuses.

i used to haaaaate taking the school bus to school.

i didn't fit in with the people who rode it regularly, although i'm pretty sure i tried my darndest to make connections and somehow create a more pleasant ride for all of us.

it was like, all the people whose parents didn't have time for them; the misfits, the rejects, the kids who later, as i look back, got into drugs or got pregnant or dropped out.



this morning around 6:50, our doorbell rang.

akeel, the boy next door, was standing outside.

"hey, i missed the bus, i was wondering if you weren't too busy, if maybe you could take me to school"

i know he saw me look over at my textbook on the kitchen table. i'm pretty sure he saw me furrow my brow, seriously torn.

"you really, i mean, if you're busy..."

and i stuttered some lame excuse, "i...man, um...i'm really...busy right now, trying to get some work done..."

work that I had put off for the past week, but had reserved this morning to complete.

and when he turned around and said, "i understand, thanks anyway,"

something,
inside my heart,
kicked me.

you. [jerkface].

you've already recieved your high school diploma.
you've already received your bachelors in engineering.
you can pardon one homework assignment.
if you don't take him, who will?
and if they take him, when?
he may get to class late, or may not try to get there at all.
and you're passing up an opportunity to show him that education is important.

so i called out.

"hey, man! i gotcha, just a sec."

and i drove akeel to school,
and i asked him what his favorite subject is,
and he said math,
and i said, "hey cool! i'm studying engineering, and you need math for that! isn't it fun? it's like solving puzzles, and sometimes you have to step back and look at the whole picture..."

and we talked about how he plays football, and how he is to graduate in 2012.

and i dropped him off, and he didn't look back at the car.

i can't help but hope that one day he will, and that maybe it will encourage him to pursue knowledge. not just intellectual, but of God.

11.01.2009

on love and love lost.

don't worry, i'm not feeling too incredibly emo currently, i just needed someone to dump this on.

i was looking at a...friend's...facebook page.

i still don't know what to call her. you would think as much as i talk about her, i would have this figured out by now. ex friend?

it's not like i hate her, we just...i just...ummm...

either way, we don't talk or hang out anymore because of something i did.

and i was just checking her page, looking to see if she had plans for post-graduation studies yet, and saw her interactions with another friend.

and i missed her. and i missed our playful banter.

and so i felt sad. the twinge of pain in your heart, you know?

but that is all.

i think i'm good.

thanks for listening.