Saturday, December 3, 2011

In the Stillness of God

I am currently reading though the book of Hosea. It's funny how God leads you to the books that you really need to read during the right time of your life. In my ups and downs, It's no wonder I was reading Psalms. In this time now, of quiet reflection and the journey to repentance, It's no wonder I'm reading Hosea.

I'm beginning to understand what It means to turn away from God, what it does to Him, how He feels. To have to a people that will repeatedly hurt you- wow. I think sometimes we talk about God's love like it's this abstract static thing. It always looks the same, acts the same, and feels the same. But if God is Love, then all his reactions: anger, pain, judgement, compassion, patience, wisdom- are also love. His anger towards Israel in Hosea was because he loved Israel, but they were hurting Him. Their idol worship, their blasphemous ways, their empty praises and sacrifices all hurt God. Turning away from God is spiritual prostitution. The love that is suppose to be His, you have given to someone else, something else. Thank the Son for being the high priest between the sinful us and the holy Father, but that does not change the pain we inflict on God when we turn away and give or love to anyone but Him.

This was good of me to know, to know the full consequence of my own sins. To finally understand what scripture means when it says when a follower turns from God, it's like crucifying Christ on the cross all over again. It inflicts that much pain. God does not deserve that. No one deserves that.

However, one thing that I've come to realize is how much pride is gone from me. I truly feel like I am broken, putting all my faith and strength on the Lord, and humbly learning how to trust Him to give me strength, I being the worst of sinners. There is a peace in brokenness, I don't mind resting my weary head here, on my Father's chest. I guess sometimes God really has to drag you through the dirt to teach you humility.

Today's a hard day for me, as a friend of mine is going through the same journey I am. But God is being sovereign, and even though I am worried, I will trust in him. Recently I've been writing poems that come to me. I'm not a poet. But I'll share the one I wrote today:

I release this pain I feel
I receive your comfort
I release the frustration and resentment
I receive your patience, peace, love
I release the building bitterness and hatred
I receive your peace and love
I release this anger towards my sister
I receive your compassion and wisdom
I release the hatred, anger, bitterness
I receive all of you
I release the anger and bitterness
I receive all of you
Yes. I receive,
all of you

In the stillness of God. I find peace and refuge.
In the stillness, I am close to You.

Peace be with you.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

An Exercise in Honesty

I've had a hard time settling into a topic that I want to write about- I have a lot of half baked notions but all of them seem to be blocked because of an obstacle I've encountered in this chapter of my life. It would be nothing, but one of the reasons I created this blog was to be open and honest about my spiritual walk no matter how good or bad. I think i'm finally at a point where I can start doing that.

In the past year, The enemy has attacked my family. He has attacked every member of my family, even myself. And to be honest it shook the very core of what I believe in. I know that's a very silly thing to say or think, especially in light of all the amazing power God has demonstrated in my life and the life of others around me, but I think sometimes we take for granted how much of a rock our families are. When your family is broken, it's like you are broken too- at least that's how I've been feeling. As I have articulated on the blog before, I have a hard time finding community so I find it no coincidence that when the one place I did find community, my family, went under attack, the Devil took that weak spot and exploited it. I've been going through these past few months holding bitterness towards God, my parents, my sibling, and myself while desperately trying to find means of feeling grounded again. Of feeling soil under my feet- a weight holding me down. I pushed God away and sought to be my own redeemer- I'm sure we all know the end of that story, and now I have to live with the consequences of choices I've made.

However, feeling the most broken and helpless I have ever felt. In the depths of the darkest pit, holding wounds and shame bigger than I can ever mend, I've come to realize that all that I've been putting myself into have not made these wounds go away but covered them up. And when confronted with reality I've overwhelmed with sadness, I'm forced to see and feel how broken I really am, how broken my family is. I'm also confronted with a large sense of loneliness- with a lack of a church community, a family community, I don't know who to go to or how to mend my wounds. My situation is bigger than I can handle and very soon, covering it up will not work anymore.

However, though I have been faithless- God has been faithful. After months of letting me carry on and live on slapping His hand away, He reached me in the depths of the darkest of seas. This past week, I got a message from a old childhood friend of mine. We parted ways long ago but out of the blue she contacted me. She reminded me of a time when we were very young, when I told her about who Jesus was and how much He wanted to love her. She told me that is when she accepted Christ into her life- that she recalls that night when she wavers in what truth she knows. And that she thanks me for being open and sharing the salvation I knew as a child with her. The most amazing part of this story is that I barely remember that time, I wouldn't have even recalled it if she didn't mention it- and the scene in my head almost feels like a dream. But I do remember it now.

In the middle of my hopelessness- when I'm no longer really sure if this situation is redeemable and when things are going from bad to worse, God reminded me that there is grace. That He is in control- even when I'm not aware of it. He reminded me that no matter what, He is and always will love me and that he will not desert me- He will not abandon me or my family. And even though I don't know when or how, God will make things right again. I can know that, I need to know that...I need to embrace Him.

I've picked up my bible after a very long time. I'm finally almost done with Psalm. I think I'll begin reading the short books on prophets next.

"The Lord is faithful to all his promises,
and loving toward all he has made.
The Lord upholds all those who fall
and lifts up all who are bowed down.
The eyes of all look to you,
and you give them their food at the proper time.
You open your hand
and satisfy the desires of every living thing.
The Lord is righteous in all his ways
and loving towards all he has made.
The Lord is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth.
He fulfills the desires of those who fear him;
He hears their cry and saves them.
The Lord watches over all who love him..."
Psalm 145:13b-20a.

I'm sorry for making the classic 'vague but emotional' post. It was an exercise in allowing myself to be vulnerable among others- something that God has told me to start working on. Hopefully my next post will be less, melodramatic.

Peace be with you,


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

I need to apologize

So I need to apologize- I've completely neglected this blog. To the point where I forgot I had it until people started commenting on older posts. I'm not sure how much time I actually have to post anything, but I'm going to try harder to keep this blog updated and true to where i am in my spiritual walk right now.

I'll try to do a blog post on either wednesday or friday.

Until Then, Peace be with you.


Saturday, May 14, 2011

For Darkness is as Light to You..

Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.

If I say, 'Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,'
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.

Pslam 139: 7-12

Thursday, February 10, 2011

A Love Offering

"Let me live that I may praise you, and may your laws sustain me."
Psalm 119:115

The funny thing about God is that he takes the complicated and makes them look simple. I consistently find that it's like Him to have layers for everything. How simple is this template for life, but when you think about the actual application of this statement, it's pretty deep. May my sole purpose in life be to praise God- that's everything I say, think, do, breath, make, eat, love, EVERYTHING that I am and want to be...may it all praise God. May the only thing that sustains me be His word- food, shelter, safety, companionship...may it all be sustained by God's law. Just how much that short sentence encompasses is mind boggling, yet it still feels very simple because in the end, that is the purpose of life. It's that simple- to live to praise God and have his law sustain you.
I want my life to be that. I want to live my life within this simplicity but allow the complexity of what it means to flourish in all parts of who I am. May I live solely to praise God and may His word be the only thing that sustains me.

God has been just blessing my life this past week. miracles upon miracles. 4 times this week I should have not been able to turn in late course work but it wasn't the case. In one instance I had a response paper I was suppose to turn in 24hrs in advanced and I never did. When my professor confronted me about it, I could have lied, he even set me up with some good excuses but i just told him the simple truth, "Professor, I just didn't do it...". My professor responded by offering to let me reschedule my response paper for another day...What??
God is good. God is SO good.

"I lift up my eyes to the hills- where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth"
Psalm 121:1&2

I really like finding verses from songs in the psalms. It's such a beautiful book and there's soo many prayers and praises in it. I've decided that Godly art comes in the form of the psalms. All the emotions that we go through- pain, sorrow, joy, awe, lament, etc. should be acknowledged because we live a world with all those emotions...they're real. But beyond all that, we should still remember that God is sovereign in all things.

I'm thinking of starting a project where have a photograph for all my favorite psalms. We'll see how it turns out, but I'll keep you posted on any photos I complete. If it does become a project, i'll call it The Art of Psalms

Speaking about art, I'm going to put up Sufjan Steven's You are the Blood again. I didn't completely get the song at first but recently I finally understood. If you don't know Sufjan, I highly encourage you to Google him. He is a fine example of an artist who is Christian admits a sea of Christian artists.

"You are electricity, you're light. You are Sound, itself, and you are flight"
The thing about art for Christ followers is that it becomes a form of worship. You are encountering God and making a beautiful offering for Him. You want to show your reverend, awe, and praise in your own creation. It kind of reminds me of the crowns the saints have in Revelations that they place at the feet of God in his presence. We do the same thing- your creation of something beautiful you give back to God and lay it at his feet. He deserves the best in all that you do.
Art is used as a way to express the place you encounter God. I think Sufjan encounters God in music, in sound- from the chaotic to the beautiful. After all, God created sound! He created all kinds of music, just look at nature. Listen to the birds of the air, the bees of the field, the swoosh of the sea. What a symphony!

"Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
"May those who love you be secure.
May there be peace within your walls
and security within your citadels."
For the sake of my brothers and friends,
I will say, "Peace be within you."
Psalm 122:6-8

Peace be within you ^_^

Saturday, February 5, 2011

So that you would be lead to pray..

If you haven't been catching up on the news, some HUGE changes have been happening in the middle east recently- the one getting the most coverage being Egypt's Revolution. Egypt has had a president for the last 30 years who likes to stay in power and keep opposition down. He uses the Egyptian police as a force to do his dirty work against people who decide to speak up against the injustices within the Egyptian government. There have been countless of activists and journalists who have been arrested just because of their demands for dignity for their people.
Around last week Friday many Egyptians decided that enough was enough and stood up to an institution that uses big guns and fear to keep people in order. The government shut down the internet, shut down the phone services, called a curfew, etc. all to discourage the organizing of Egyptians on January 25th. It didn't work. The Egyptian people, all in one voice, demanded freedom from oppression. Change. This past Tuesday about two million people showed up to a march for a million in Cairo. They all were demanding for a new regime- one that was there to protect them, not to oppress them. And all sorts of people came, young, old, men, women, different parties, Muslims, and Christians.

However, as this week progressed, what was a peaceful protest became very violent. Here's an account that Mona Seif gives in the middle of the square many Egyptians are refusing to leave till president Mubarak steps down:

when I was listening to this clip, It was happening that day and I couldn't bear it. I couldn't help but think about what it must feel like to be in the middle of a open square with other unarmed individuals while your own government shoots automatic guns at you. How blessed are we? How blessed am I?? That I can march to my capitol and not get shot at? Of all the places God could have born me into- the middle of Congo's civil war, in the Gaza, in Burma, I was born in a situation where I am free from immediate oppression. I was born in a situation where I have power to stop oppression. Me and Mona Seif are living and breathing in the same time. While I sit in my comfy sofa, she sits somewhere in the cold outside not knowing who is being shot at, how many young ones are wounded or hurt. Of all the places I could be, God didn't put me right next to her- He put me here in front of a computer screen where I can chose to hear her story.
Whether I ignore it or not, the world still turns and people are still dying, people are still starving, people are still afraid of what may happen the next day.

I guess I'm writing this post because I'm trying to articulate what God has placed in my heart as a burden- not necessarily Egypt but the subject of oppression. I was talking to my roommate a few weeks ago and she was telling me about how she was explaining to someone that there are certain movies or documentaries she just cannot watch because it pains her so much to see women or families in those kinds of situations. That person told her she shouldn't write off those feelings, yea they may be sad to one person but if you feel that passionate or pained by it, maybe it's because God has called you to do something about it.
That was a sort of revelation for me. I once asked God why he gave me such a big heart, because I couldn't understand why it hurt so bad when I saw something like the Rwandan Genocide a friend losing their faith or even a movie like precious. The next day He answered, so that it would be lead to pray.

My heart turns inside out and upside down inside of me when I hear or see oppression. I cannot stand seeing evil things happening to people who have no power to do anything about it.

"Streams of tears flow from my eyes, for your law is not obeyed"
Psalm 119:136

But I think God is going to start teaching me what power prayer really has for us. I think right now that's the biggest gap I have. I know prayer has power, and I know God can move in our prayers but God just needs to reveal His truth to me.

"Then Peter said, 'Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk'"
Acts 3:6

There is power in our words- God has made it one of the most important actions we do. After all the bible says that our words can cut a person deeper than any sword. And if just our regular words can have so much power- how much more does prayer have.We are directly speaking to God and He listens to us. Even more, our prayers go up to Him in full force when we pray together. How amazing is that.

That must really mean that the power of our prayers are much more sweeter than that of silver or gold. It's more effective because God can and will allocate resources better than any man can.

To Egypt, I do not have silver or gold to give but I do have my prayers- which is more valuable than silver or gold, sweeter than milk and honey. I know that because God is an all good God. He is all powerful, he looks after the oppressed and in some way or the other will give them justice and peace. I wholeheartedly believe in that.

Tell me. What has God given you to twist your heart inside out and upside down?

Also, Will you pray for the people of Egypt with me? Doesn't matter what you pray- whether for protection, salvation, justice, peace...let's pray for them. It only takes a mustard seed of faith to move a mountain : )

Peace Be with You,

Saturday, January 22, 2011

We Give You All The Glory...

God has just been speaking in my life- I dunno, and It could very well be a post-seminar high, but personally I feel like God gives us highs with his people so we run with it, not just leave it in that one moment.

Recently, besides everything else, I've been really thinking about the way I process God, the word and how it relates to the way that I worship, speak and communicate my experiences...I've been wondering if that is what I'm really suppose to do or if its just the way I do 'church'. I didn't grow up pentacostal- nor did I just start becoming serious with my faith within the pentacostal church...but it's within the pentacostal church that I grew the most in my faith. And I'm always going through a proccess of refining what is truth and what is ok and what is just 'church'.

Today I went to a Holy Spirit seminar and I think that it just cleared up a lot of stuff for me that I've been pondering with a lot...and it's also opened my eyes to even more ways that we can experience God. Sometimes we need to just be more trustworthy with our brother and sisters in Christ. They might do something that is unconventional to us but you know, God says we will know each other's hearts by their fruit and I know that if God has blessed someone's life and I can see that what comes out of their mouth with scripture is true and I'm in agreement with, who am I to say they are 100% wrong...and even if they are, lean on the side of grace! God is a good God and he can use ALL things to glorify Him. And If my brother or sister, who i may not agree with all the time, loves God with all his/her heart, soul, and mind, then I know God will work in their life and give them blessings. The Law is there as a guide but also a reminder of how imperfect we are. We make mistakes and we don't always translate things well. But God expects us to mess up! He is good enough to make sure his message is is still delivered- we do not have the power to mess up God's plan- trust more in his majesty because he is more than enough to fill up the places we cannot fill ourselves.

So i'm just filled with the Holy Spirit- the third but none less important person made up in God's One. And I can't help but praise him. May you praise him too in your life. This song just came to me and I wanted to share with you : )

Alpha and Omega

"Be at rest once more, O my Soul, for the Lord has been good to you."
psalm 116:7

"He will judge between many peoples and will settle disputes for strong nations far and wide. The will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Naitonas will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore. Every man will sit under his own vine and under his own fig tree, and no one will make them afraid, for the Lord Almighty has spoken. All the nations may walk in the name of their gods; we will walk in the name of the Lord our God for ever and ever"
Micah 4:3-5

I hope this all made sense- I'm writing and I don't know if it's going to translate well. But God is good even now.

Peace Be with You