Dirt

Dirt

For these seeds to give birth to life
First they must die
-Jon Foreman

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Sovereign

When I was young, I thought the older I got, the easier life would be.

I would be able to drive. Get a job, and be rolling in the dough. I wouldn’t have to ask my parents where I could go.

What I didn’t think of, and really no kid does is what comes along with all these perks of getting older.

Oil Changes & Smog Checks. Taxes deducted from Paychecks. Parents not Giving you Money or Rides.

I believe Christ used the allusion of having “a childlike faith” for a reason. The older I get, the more I want to fight with God.

Because I don’t know the answer to the questions where I scream why.

-Why did he/she break his/her heart?

-Why did they not get accepted to a school they worked so hard to get into?

-Why did they get diagnosed with cancer?

-Why? Why? Why?

I listened to a sermon by Britt Merrick recently entitled “When Sparrows Fall.” His daughter lost her battle to cancer, and the sermon was recorded shortly before she passed away. If anyone has the right to ask God why, it is a man whose daughter has been diagnosed with cancer.

But instead of asking why, he realized he was asking the wrong question. He was questioning a situation we could never comprehend, instead of trusting a God who is sovereign. The premise of the message was Matthew 10:29 “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father” (ESV). He loosely said.

ASKING GOD WHY STRIPS HIM OF HIS SOVEREIGNTY. 

Who are we that we could understand the theological, infinite plans of the one who spoke the world into existence with our finite minds.

This is a discipline. Ask anyone who knows me, I ask God why. In several different languages, my favorite being Spanish “¿¡Porque Dios, Porque?! in an overly dramatic Latina fashion. 😉

However, whenever I am tempted to ask God why, I try to put my faith in Him. That I may trust Him, that He knows what He is doing. That He does not let a sparrow fall to the ground without God knowing it.

*PS Check out the sermon underneath. So much goodness in this.

 http://vimeo.com/58318290

Tagged

Karma

In life, I believe the loose gist of karma. Not necessarily to the degree that some people may like, with the good triumphing in life and the bad getting their just desserts to the extreme. However, for the bad, I believe that help may not be accessible when they need it, making life harder on themselves. 

For instance, last fall semester I nannied for a family close to my school. My aunt was friends with the family and referred me. By all appearances the family seemed normal, kind, and all-American. However, as time went on, I found out these people were incredibly stingy, wanting me to increase my availability and work without compensation, and extremely ungracious. 

On my last day, the parents of the children I woke up, dressed, and took to school five days of the week for a full semester did not thank me once.  

I recently just began a job in the Career Development department at my school. One aspect of my job is reviewing jobs people in the local community post for students to apply to. I have not had any contact with the family I nannied for until today. When I saw an ad for a new nanny. 

 Not wanting to be vindictive, I approached my superior with the situation. 

She gladly listened to me, and reminded me our department and its job postings are to help students, and place them with good employers. When I expressed I would not encourage any of my friends to apply for this position, she told me to make a note on the account, and delete the position. 

When I was working for this family, I had the temptations to be passive aggressive, I won’t pretend I’m some saint. I thought about stealing all their Keurig coffees, or something petty along those lines. *Note: I thought it, but I never did it! 

But today, when I had the opportunity to protect other students from the same type of crappy job, today felt good. 

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.” For this family it was too late. I hope they find someone to help with their kids. I hope they have changed. I hope they never treat someone with as much ungraciousness as they did with me. 

Plato stated, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.” My revision is, “Be kind to everyone, for one day they may be approving your job.” 

Life truly does go full circle. 

Being a Christian Hedonist

According to Webster, Hedonism is “the doctrine that pleasure or happiness is the sole or chief good in life.” 

Hedonism is usually looked at with negative views fom the Christian community. And with good cause. When we think of solely pursuing pleasure, lewdness, lust, and passion are typically the first things to come to mind. 

However, my mind has been changed as of late. I have been reading John Piper’s ‘Pursuing God’ in which the whole premise of the book is being a Christian Hedonist. I have seen people’s perceptions as being far off, an enigma, and disconnected from us. However, we were created to dwell in communion with Him.

We were not designed to be separated from God, but rather to walk alongside Him. However, when sin permeated the world, it tore us from our God. God loved mankind so much though, He made ways for us to be connected. In the Old Testament, it was animal sacrifices, and feasts to allow us to atone for our sins, and to reflect upon Him. In the New Testament, Christ came down, sacrificing Himself as the ultimate and infinite atonement which satisfied God’s justice. We are now able to freely communicate with God, and I believe one day we will be united with God once again. 

With this being said, it is understandable how many people feel alienated from God. But we must remember our sole purpose is to bring Him glory. We were designed in His image, to engage in relationships with Him. It should be natural we desire Him. 

The premise of Desiring God can essentially be explained by Psalm 37:4 “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” This is by no means the prosperity gospel, but rather when we die to ourselves, we become more like God, and our hearts align. 

We should run to God, delight in Him, and ultimately strive to be like Him. We have the opportunity to be freed by grace,  loved,  in communion with the Being that brought the world into existence. I cannot think of something to be happier about.

“All the words of God culminate un the praises of His redeemed people. The climax of His happiness is the delight He takes in the echoes of His excellence in the praises of the saints. This praise is the consummation of our own joy in God.  Therefore, God’s pursuit from us and our pursuit of leasure in Him are the same pursuit. This is at the heart of the great gospel! This is the foundation of Christian Hedonism.” 

 

If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to type away. If you do not know God, and have questions about Him, He loves you and wants to know you. 

Perspective

“It would seem that our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling around 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.” -C.S. Lewis 

I am slowly, but surely trekking my way through Deuteronomy currently, and am astounded by how big my God is. Often, I attempt to put God in a box to categorize Him with everything in else in my life. However, I am re-discovering that my God is the one who spoke existence into a void, who parted the Red Sea, who offered Himself as atonement for the reconciliation of mankind’s sins. 

He is not big, He is infinite. He has the capacity, and the will to use my life radically. I am beginning to recognize this, and pray big. Pray to be used, to make our lived something. 

Towards the End of Poverty

My family recently started subscribing to The Economist, and I (as a typical 20-years old) don’t pay much attention to it. However, an issue from two weeks or so ago sponsered the cover “Towards the End of Poverty.” The article delves into the economies of upcoming nations, primarily China, but also touched on India, and how China has substantially decreased the number of its citizens who fall under the poverty line. The poverty line for different nations changes, but internationally is accepted as making less than $1.25 daily, however for the States is less than $64 daily for a family of four.

Despite the hope that this article inspires, a jarring statement at the end stuck with me. “If growth is a littler faster and income more equal, extreme poverty could fall to be just 1.5% – as near to zero as is realisticallu possible. The number of the destitute would then be about 100m, most of them in intractable countries in Africa” (The Economist, June 1st-7th, 2013, Towards the End of Poverty).

I am not suggesting we invade these unmentioned African countries, there are too many deeply political, and cultural issues for the West to deal with. While I believe, we don’t make this our mission, I believe we should offer aid when approached. I have recently heard of a saying “Think globally, shop (or act) locally.”

After I read this article, I began watching a documentary on Netflix today, called Lost Angels. It talks about the area of Los Angeles called Skid Row, a locally well-known place that is one of the most saturated homeless populations on (I believe) the West Coast. This is a place we can help, 2/3 of the inhabitants of Skid Row are reported to having mental disabilites and/or substance abuse problems.

While I believe if we have the opportunity to help internationally if the opportunity is presented. I also adimantly believe we are not to overlook what is right next to us. Whether it be volunteering in a soup kitchen on Skid Row, giving the guy on the off-ramp a $20, or a meal.

If we really began to care about one another in the way Christ commands us to, I believe together we can strive for the end of poverty.

 

I am a bit of a control freak. To those of those who know me, you’re just smiling and nodding your head right now. To those of you who don’t, I am. Here’s a glimpse of how much. I bought my first car almost two years ago now. It’s a cute little Civic, and has great gas mileage. However, it’s a standard. I couldn’t drive a standard when I bought it, but I really wanted to learn, and I liked the idea of people not being able to ask to borrow my car. I hate saying no, but I love being in control- it was the perfect solution! 🙂 *

One thing I’ve really been learning lately is God’s sovereignity. How He works absolutely everything together for His good. It is incredible, amazing, and totally unreserved. He works everything to His glory somehow, we may not fully understand it while on earth, but He takes our ashes and turns them to beauty (Isaiah 61:3). He restores the years of our lives that the locusts have eaten away (Joel 2:25).

The other night, I was visiting my friend’s church and the pastor was saying how everyone doubts God. The example we were looking at was of John the Baptist from John 3, how he was had baptized Christ, seen the dove of the Holy Spirit come upon Christ, heard God, and was still asking “is this the Christ?” Now, I don’t think John was dumb, or mislead. I think he is a perfect example of our human nature. Despite having so much concrete evidence towards something, we often begin to doubt it, and ask for affirmation. As well as a control freak, I am an over-analyzer, so I’m writing to me here. 😉

Another example was Jesus Himself. On the eve of His betrayal, He was praying in Gethsemene, and asked for His cup of suffering to be taken away from Him (Luke 22:42). Yet, He was God in human flesh, He knew atonement had to be made for mankind. He knew He was the second Adam who came to fulfill the prophecies, and purge the world of sin, offering life, light, and hope.

Yet despite going through the unavoidable seasons of doubt, God remains constant. He is not so flighty so as to be challenged by my human doubt. He is the one who spoke and had light come from His mouth, he breathed air into Adam, He holds the oceans in the palm of His hands. He is God.

About a year ago someone told me, “God wants you to be where He wants you, even more than you want to be.” God is going to get each of us where He wants us, hopefully we don’t take the Exodus scenic 40 years in the desert route, but God will get you where He wants so you long as you’re willing. And even if you’re not willing, He’ll get you there. 😉

So, I am learning to try to relax, let go and let God.

*Note: I don’t mind people borrowing my car, so long as I trust them. I just hate saying no to people, it’s something I am working on. Also, I think driving stick is a great skill, so if you’d like to learn, I’d love to teach you! 🙂

PS Here’s some solid Bible humor for you! 🙂

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Let Go and Let God