Monday, April 27, 2015

The Promised Land Will Come

First thing's first, I would like to apologize to my active followers for the huge delay in getting another post up. Whether you know me or not, you probably don't know that I don't like to try to explain my thoughts on something until I feel like I have a good understanding of it. I've had a blog idea buzzing around in my head for two and a half weeks now, and still don't feel confident in my understanding of the topic.
Regardless, here I am.

Prayer. This is what God's been teaching me about through his Word and the testimony of faithful believers. And if I've learned anything through this, it's that I am not in control. Which I can honestly say is probably for the best, for I get very anxious and high strung when I'm stressed and sometimes I can barely handle the few things I am in control of.

Two weeks ago, I was reading a chapter in The Circle Maker, by Mark Batterson, about promises. In a specific section called, "Keep Circling Jericho," he encourages us to start praising God for the promises he gives us. If He promises to pull through and give you a miracle, you don't have to wait until the miracle happens to praise Him. Praise Him now. For a promise is a prayer answered.
But all too often, we are given these promises, and continue to plead with God for answers. The promise is your answer! The results may not come immediately, but the Promised Land will come. At this point, it's our job to continue praying blessings around that promise until it comes through.

Now where I've struggled the last two weeks is that my promise lacks definition. Like Abraham, God has made me a promise. He told Abraham that He would bring him to a Promised Land, but He didn't spell out for him what the land looked like, where it was, how big it was, or even how to get there. God simply told Abraham, "I have great things for you. I will provide. All you must do is trust me."
Abraham's my bro in this sense. I've tried asking God to be more specific in His promise, but the answer continues to be "no." Or maybe it's "wait." No and wait sometimes sound an awful lot the same when we want our answers now.

All this time I'm reading the Circle Maker and hearing Batterson share about very specific promises the Lord has laid on his heart, I keep wishing I had specific promises like that to circle in prayer. I have to continually remind myself that I've been given a promise. Just because it's not as case specific as the ones He's given Mark, doesn't mean His answer is any less glorious, and I must trust that His Promised Land will be glorious as well.

I may not know all the answers. I may not fully understand my promise. I may not know what the Promised Land looks like, but I do know a few things: God will provide, the Promised Land will come, and all I must do is continue doing what I know how to do, the thing God has told me to do. Pray, write, and shine His Light.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

The Truth

Today, my daily bible-prayer time brought me to Mark 14. Telling of the events leading up to Jesus arrest and crucifixion, this is one of the longest chapters in Mark. Seeing the length of it this morning was a little surprising, especially since I spend all of my bible-prayer time sitting on a concrete floor:
My Prayer Circle
But today, I knew it would be good somehow. And it was. I found one verse, a verse I've known forever, but never thought much about, that God decided to speak to me through. Let me give you some background first, though.

Jesus and the disciples had just finished celebrating Passover, and had gone to the garden to pray. While those who were set to keep watch dozed rather than staying alert and praying, Judas left to get the high priests who planned on capturing Jesus. Judas returned with a crowd of armed men and gave them his signal as to which one Jesus was.
Then, in verse 48, Jesus said something that stood out to me. He said, "Am I leading a rebellion that you have to come out with swords and clubs to capture me?"
When I came back to look at all the verses I had underlined in the chapter and start writing notes on each one, I looked at that one and my first thought was, "Do the men with the swords and clubs even pose a threat to Jesus?"
Before I had time to write the question down in my journal, God began giving me an answer, that I had to write down immediately before forgetting.

The Truth cannot be destroyed by hatred and violent acts.
The Truth stands, silent.
In the face of opposition, It remains the same.
It does not waver.
It does not falter.
It stands firm.
The Truth never changes
But changes people.
The Truth lives.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Not So Hopeless Wanderer

How most people see the Octo
I recently had a very good conversation with my friend Denica McCall about perspective.
Well, that wasn't exactly what we were talking about, simply what I saw. You see, it started as a very pointless conversation over text, in which I decided the octopus emoji best fit my mood. If we both had the same type of phone, there'd have been no problem. But since I have a Windows phone, and I meet very few others who do, our emojis look different.
How I see the Octo
While I use the emoji in moments where I feel like I should use a face, but don't know what to use, most other people don't see the derpy, awkward expression from the octopus like I do.
Does this stop me from using them? No! And I was quick to explain this to her.

But that got me thinking...
Why don't I do the same thing with all of life?
Who cares if other people see what I see? Should that stop me from doing what I love or trying to make connections?
No. It shouldn't.

For example, I wrote a post recently for Holy Week. If you haven't read it, you should. (Click Me!)
In the post, I talked  about the cycle of remembering and forgetting. How it's something we can't really stop, but that doesn't mean we can't learn to work with it. It also doesn't mean we should beat ourselves up over it.
While that post was awesome in it's own rights, I didn't say all I had to say on it. It was partially because, like the post suggests, I let myself forget where my worth lies.
My worth does not lie in the opinions of other people.
But still, I let what other people might think, keep me from sharing one of the biggest inspirations for the post.

If you've spoken to me, you know a few things: I love music, I love words, I love God, and I don't learn things easily. God knows this too, obviously. He knows I need to see something a million different ways before I really get it. I may understand before, but until I see it a few times or hear it a few ways, I will doubt that I really understand it as fully as I could.
Because of this, I don't generally talk (or blog) in depth about things I'm learning from God until I feel like I've got it (unless you're in my inner, most trusted circle).
For a month, God's been teaching me about this cycle of remembering and forgetting, but it didn't seem to really click until last Sunday.

I had just bought the 2012 Mumford & Sons album, Babel, and was loving every minute of it.
Why did it take me three years to buy the second album of what is easily one of my top three favorite bands? I don't know. Maybe it was God saving the music for me, so I could discover it fresh while learning all of these things before I attached different meaning to the songs.
Either way, my brother and I were jamming out to the new tunes and I was looking up song lyrics while listening.
The song "Hopeless Wanderer" came up. This was exactly the song I needed to hear. Like I mentioned in my previous post, I had only just learned about the cycle and, in the weeks following, I was in a state of remembering. The weekend I bought this album, was my first period of slipping back into my old rut again. It was this song that helped me remember that this is just a cycle, that I must simply turn to Jesus again.

"How does Mumford & Sons help you make connections to God?" Some of you may be wondering.
God doesn't belong in a "Christian" box. God is everywhere and he can show us amazing things through even a random secular, English Alternative rock band. I see a lot of spiritual themes over Mumford's music, but maybe that's just me. I like looking for God anywhere and everywhere, and He frequently presents Himself in places I would never have expected.
Just listen. Really, here. Listen.

First off, I don't know about you, but the first thing I thought when I heard the line, "Don't hold a glass over the flame, don't let your heart grow cold. I will call you by name, I will share your road," was when Jesus tells his followers not to hide their lamps under a basket or a bed, but to let them shine brightly for all to see.
But that's not what struck me about the song. No, that was the verse where the song got it's title.
Source: Flickr

"But hold me fast,
Hold me fast,
For I'm a hopeless wanderer."

This is me.
This is me crying out to God, "I am a hopeless wanderer, forever doomed to the cycle of remember and forget! So, hold me fast, Lord. Keep Your hold on me, for without You, I am doomed to wander for nothing."

It's all over the rest of the song, too! Do you hear it?
No? Oh well. Maybe it is just me.
Jesus shows Himself to me in some weird and glorious places.

We are all hopeless wanderers, but Jesus stooped down and chose to walk alongside us on this wandering road.