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Thanks for Listening

October 24, 2010

Thanks to each of you for listening to me for the past few months. I’ve enjoyed testing the waters of Blog Land, however I think it’s not for me right now.

Why?

Because who the heck am I to offer any spiritual insights whatsoever?

Because I feel like I can’t be truly honest in this forum. I’m afraid I’ll hurt my family, so I try not to reveal too much and then I have nothing authentic to say.

Because I am trapped by the theme of this blog. I’m still glass-half-empty-girl, and in a particularly “blue” period lately so I don’t have anything positive to say. Which takes me back to the problem of authenticity.

Don’t get me wrong: this journey has been incredibly helpful, if not successful in the way I had hoped. My basic nature has not transformed into a well of positivity. But through the exercise of thinking aloud in this blog, I have realized that my barrier to joy is self-inflicted. As long as I hold my grudge and anger, I won’t feel true joy or peace. Which begs the question, “Why am I such a nincompoop? Who in their right mind would hold onto grudgy, angry baggage rather than trading those for the joy and peace of forgiving and being forgiven?!?!”  

I have no response to that. But I am working on the forgiving. I think I am starting to understand the immensity of the forgiveness I have received and from there, God will provide the grace this nincompoop needs to forgive others.

Thank you for your time and encouragement! I have so appreciated your comments and feedback! 

God bless you!

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Forgiveness is haunting me

September 11, 2010

Last Sunday’s sermon and service pierced me like an arrow. The message was forgiveness and at first, I’d forgotten about my personal problem with forgiving someone close to my heart. I had the blind audacity to think about how very applicable the sermon was to the person physically sitting next to me (I do know that person, by the way). I wanted to elbow him in the ribs, and say, “Are you listening?…Did you hear that?….Wow! He’s got a great point for you!” But then I realized that the arrow was aimed at me – at my stony little grudge-harboring heart.

If you are at all struggling with forgiveness and reconciliation like I am, this sermon by David P. Cassidy is incredible: sermon notes; the sermon can be found on this page, but I can’t link directly to it. Scroll down to the one from 9/5/10, “The Gospel of Reconciliation.”

If you don’t have 20 mins to listen to that, I will re-post the hymn by Rosamond E. Herklots:

“Forgive our sins as we forgive,” you taught us, Lord, to pray;

but you alone can grant us grace to live the words we say. 

How can your pardon reach and bless the unforgiving heart

that broods on wrongs and will not let old bitterness depart?

In blazing light your cross reveals the truth we dimly knew;

what trivial debts are owed to us, how great our debt to you!

Lord, cleanse the depths within our souls, and bid resentment cease;

then, bound to all in bonds of love, our lives will spread your peace.

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The Bible, in My Professional Opinion

September 4, 2010

In my former life, I worked in marketing and advertising for a tech company. The main goal of the materials I produced was to sell complex technology by boiling down the customer benefits to their essence. In a TV commercial, you have less than 30 seconds to make your point.

If you will indulge me, I would like to apply my professional expertise to the message of the Bible. Can I boil down years of history, insight and instruction to something that can be communicated simply?

Most people would probably say that John 3:16 is the ultimate Cliff Note on the Bible. I agree; it really brings out the customer benefit (eternal life). And I agree that God’s word says everything far better than I can. But I thought I might try to come up with something in my own words to bring it nearer to my heart. You might ask what my theological credentials are for this endeavor. Well, I’ve studied John with BSF and Acts on my own. So there’s that. (Translation: I have no theological credentials. Only marketing ones.) 

Here is my attempt to boil down the message of the Bible in my own words:

God has a plan.

He loves us.

We need to love Him.

And serve others.

Here’s how I arrived at these 4 points: 

God has a plan. This includes creation, salvation, redemption, eternity – and all the nitty gritty stuff in my life that “works together for good.” (Rom 8:28)

He loves us. Thus, He wants a personal relationship with each of us.

We need to love Him. We were created with a God-shaped hole in our hearts. We will not be complete or satisfied any other way.

And serve others. This is our purpose in life: to point others to Christ by serving their spiritual, physical and emotional needs. I debated on this one a bit; we also need to serve Him. For the sake of simplicity, I lumped serving Him into loving Him. Which then means I could lump serving others into loving others…. I’m good at overthinking things. I’ll stop.

Dear readers, I know who most of you are. And I know you have incredible insights – far beyond mine. What else would you add to the Bible-in-a-nutshell? What would you remove?

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What she said

August 15, 2010

We’ve been travelling to visit family, so I’ve hardly had time to think, much less write.

Read my friend’s blog entry: The Right To Die. It’s a great reminder.

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Quiet Time Fail

July 26, 2010

This blog post is not about how I’ve failed to have my quiet time. It’s about the quality of the quiet time.

I am following BSF’s recommendation on how to do QT, and I’m reading Acts (see my earlier post from the beginning of the summer).

Once a week, I look back and review what I’ve learned. Here’s what I wrote down in my bible study journal after reading Acts 8:22-40:

What happened: God send Philip to the road to Gaza to preach to an Ethiopian who was apparently God-fearing (he was returning from Jerusalem to worship). Philip baptized him and then was magically whisked away to Azotus and preached all the way to Caesarea.

What I learned: Teleportation is only possible with divine intervention (vs. 39-40).

Application to my life: Not sure, except stop hoping to teleport via man-made invention.

And that, my friends, is what I call a Quiet Time FAIL.

If any of you have something more insightful to share about that passage, please do.

And I think I might need to pick another book for self-led quiet time. I’m not mature enough to be left alone with just any passage of scripture. Suggestions?

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Thank You, God, for Friends

July 21, 2010

I am working on a project that necessitates reading old letters from my teen years. There’s tons of teenage silly stuff, but some good stuff, too.

I’d like to quote a letter here, sent from my best friend in junior high, about 7 months after my family and I moved to the opposite side of planet:

“An Epistle of Julie to the McD’s
 
Julie, a servant of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus at Sydney…Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
 
I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day til now, being confident of this that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
 
It is right for me to feel this way about you, since I have you in my heart. God can testify how I long for you with the affection of Christ Jesus.
 
And this is my prayer, that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ – to the glory and praise of God.” (See Philippians 1:1-11)
 
And I thank my God every time I remember you, Julie. And Mandy. And Sarah. And Laura….to name a few. 
 
Thanks to each of you for your encouragement and love. And for a pile of incredible letters to re-read.
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So simple

July 13, 2010

In the past week, a certain scripture passage has recurred in my life multiple times.

Last Monday, it was the passage for my quiet time.  Last Wednesday, I discovered it while looking through a box of memorbilia from my parents’ attic. It was the “School Lesson” at my high school.Yesterday, it was in the form of a hymn at church. 

Apparently, I’m supposed to pay attention to it.

Philippians 4:4-9

Maybe I’m overcomplicating this life stuff. If I just stop my whining and debating and second-guessing and just listen to Paul’s insight (provided to him by the Holy Spirit)…the answers are simple.

Rejoice. Always.

Don’t fret. Pray.

You will have God’s peace.

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