I’ve been meaning to type this up since Saturday and I guess it was good that I didn’t because Sunday it got even better! Ya know how money has been somewhat of an issue lately? Well this past Wednesday I was able to babysit my friend’s nephew again, $15 for two hours. Easy money. Then Saturday I had work 6-9 but in the morning I was just watching cartoons and curling my hair, sitting on Facebook and I got a notification on the group the servers have for covering and switching shifts that someone had a 2-6 they were asking me to pick up. I took it. It was really slow all day and the night was stressful. I didn’t make much money at all, but it was still more than I would have if I’d only gone in at 6 so I had to be thankful for that. But wait, there’s more! For RTU last weekend I was under the impression that we were supposed to pay the person we carpooled with for gas money, so on top of the money for my part of the hotel room I gave an extra $10. Well Sunday at church I was given that money back! Like, what? Crazy! What a blessing! Oh! And I forgot the best, and perhaps most humbling, part. Wednesday night at church I took the $15 I’d made babysitting and tithed it all. I haven’t tithed in months. I wouldn’t even know where to begin figuring out how much I should have tithed thus far since I started serving. But the point it is, I gave over all $15 without question, without selfishness. I just did it. Because I knew it was only right, especially after I’ve been skimping out so much the past few months. It felt really good, and it only took a few days for the blessings to start pouring in! Praise God!
I made a separate post because I had a feeling this might be even longer.
Finally, I read Isaiah 44. I don’t remember the last time I got something so great out of this book, except for that verse I posted about a few days ago in chapter 43. Anyway, this is what it says,
14 He cuts down cedars, or he chooses a cypress tree or an oak and lets it grow strong among the trees of the forest. He plants a cedar and the rain nourishes it. 15 Then it becomes fuel for a man. He takes a part of it and warms himself; he kindles a fire and bakes bread. Also he makes a god and worships it; he makes it an idol and falls down before it. 16 Half of it he burns in the fire. Over the half he eats meat; he roasts it and is satisfied. Also he warms himself and says, “Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire!” 17 And the rest of it he makes into a god, his idol, and falls down to it and worships it. He prays to it and says, “Deliver me, for you are my god!”
I love this. OK, first of all we have a man who is going about his life as perhaps some sort of farmer, using the trees around him to survive. He uses the trees for wood for a fire to keep himself warm and to cook his food. God gives us earthly resources to be able to survive so fire wood and cooking over that fire are ways of putting God’s resources to good work. It’s a gift from God that we accept and use wisely and without wasting (at least we should). But then in the second part of verse 15 it says he also uses the wood to create an idol for worship. Ya know the saying that God can take everything and turn it for good? Well it works the other way around too. God’s pure gifts can be perverted and used for evil, even at the same time like we see in these verses. It’s a hypocritical man. Someone who gets drunk Saturday night and raises his hands in service Sunday morning.
I don’t know why but this passage was just so fascinating to me. How could anyone take something God has given them to survive and use it and enjoy it then turn it against Him? Yet it is done daily. I dare say I am sure I am guilty of it in some way or another. It’s eye-opening. It makes me aware. I pray I stay aware and watchful. For my sake and those around me.
OK, I’m about to go on a writing spree. I’m making this post on the 12th because I read so much yesterday I didn’t think I could get it all into a post before I fell asleep. I had a great devotion yesterday, and it all started with Pinterest! Tuesday night I came across a pin that had 1 Corinthians 10:13 on it, which says,
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
The verse caught my eye and struck my heart. I booked marked it in my Bible to share with you the next day. I know it’s a fairly well-known verse, rather, a well-used verse for when people say “God never gives you more than you can handle.” It made me think of you. With everything that happened last week and just everything going on in your life in general. It is my prayer for you, that you would always remember that verse whenever you feel overwhelmed by temptation or just the stress of school and work. Then while I was at church last night I went on a reading spree. First I read the entire book (all four chapters, haha) of Ruth. It was then that I officially decided I want to be a Ruth and I want my husband to be a Boaz. Ruth was such a strong and loyal and willing woman and Boaz was so precious and sweet and caring in that manly/husbandly way. I loved chapter 3 verse 3 where Ruth’s mother-in-law, Naomi, was telling her basically to get gussied up and go see Boaz and get her groove thang on. She said it in less words, of course, but that was the idea I got. Also, verse 13 chapter 4 where Ruth and Boaz get married and it says, “And he went in to her…”. Maybe it shouldn’t be, but I think that’s hilarious. They had sex. They got it on. Honestly, I think that’s even more descriptive than just saying they had sex. He went inside her. Whoo.
From reading this entire book in one sitting (and having read a chapter from Joshua before it) I realized, once again, how much like a novel the Bible really is. And how relevant it all is to daily life. And also what a sense of humor God has for us.
Next I read Proverbs 2. Verses 2 and 5 stuck out to me. Basically they say that if you ask God to give you wisdom and insight then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. I love those matter of fact verses. Those ones that throw the obvious in our face, those of us who are more or less “seasoned Christians” who tend to take things for granted or forget the true meaning of something. All we need to do is ask. If it’s good for us God will give it to us. And then I read Proverbs 3. There were quite a few verses that stuck out to me here. But I decided I only want to write about one in particular. Speaking of wisdom:
…She is more precious than jewels, and nothing you desire can compare with her.
I know the Bible refers to wisdom as she, but I can’t help but think of it as myself, or rather, who I want to be. I like to just think of it as the wise woman. What woman wouldn’t want to be considered more precious that jewels and desired above all else? On top of that, what woman wouldn’t want to be wise? For herself, her husband, her family, and her God. With these marriage prep classes we’re about to start taking at church, ring shopping, Pinterest boards, etc I have gotten more and more into the heart and spiritual aspects of getting married. I have become obsessed with wanting to be that sweet and loving, tender, kind, wise, hospitable wife that is so desired. It’s my life goal now. So verses like that are very close to my heart and I take them in complete seriousness and meditate upon them.
I am a jumper. I can’t read just one book of the Bible at a time. I have been continuously going through Psalms and Proverbs since 6th or 7th grade. I’m making my way through the Bible from beginning to end and I currently find myself near the beginning of Joshua. I have been painstakingly reading through Isaiah for about 2 years now. I read Daniel on the odd occasion. And I jump around through Galatians to 2 Peter when I’m feeling desperate for something juicy (because we all know it’s impossible to not get something from those books).
Anyway, I was “making my rounds” tonight and I had finished reading Proverbs 2 so the next bookmark was Isaiah (I don’t read all of them every single day) and I was skipping over it when a highlighted verse caught my eye.
Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing, now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
Isaiah 43:18 & 19
I feel like I have made a post about this before. But anyway, I have the whole thing underlined and highlighted. I also have the words “former things” and “new thing” circled. Next to the highlighted bit on the left side I wrote “Total God Moment” and on the right side “04-16-12”. That date happens to be the day after we became a couple. Above the date I wrote “Look at the date.” I remember writing that earlier in the year when I cam across this verse again and it was again relevant to my life. Here I am, finding it relevant yet again.
I remember the first time it touched me because you had just asked me to be your girlfriend. You were the new thing God was doing in my life and the “former things” I was being called to forget was Forrest. Now I find myself in another moment in life where the former is passing away and new things are being brought forth. The former being your old life, our old life and the happiness we thought we were living. The new that is springing forth is your promises and desires to change and do better. The reason this applies to me so well is this: I’ve been hard on you since you told me everything last night, and rightly so. However, I’ve been wanting to dwell in my anger because it’s something I strive off of, even though it is terribly wrong. This verse touched me in a sense of forgiveness. I told you I forgive you and I do mean that, but forgiveness means letting go. It means trying to forget (I say “trying” because we are human and it is very difficult to truly forget the wrongs people do toward us.)
The verses I quoted were the Lord’s own words. He himself is calling me to “Remember not the former” and perceive the new work He is doing. I pray that I can do that.
I could never ever tire of the Psalms and Proverbs and I am absolutely in love with the last verse. But I’m getting a little ahead of myself. Starting in verse 29 it talks about people who hate knowledge and what becomes of them, what shame and troubles they bring upon themselves. The chapter ends with verse 33 saying:
…but whoever listens to me will dwell secure
and will be at ease, without dread of disaster.
…without dread of disaster.
It doesn’t say that those who listen to God won’t ever encounter disaster, it doesn’t say they will live a life full of flowers and butterflies or whatever it is that makes you happy. It just says that those who obey God won’t dread disaster.
What does that mean? Well, to me it means that when something bad happens I won’t be entirely upset. It means that when disaster strikes my life or something that affects my life I will know that God is with me and will help me stand strong. For example, think of death. Think of funerals. Think of the desperation of funerals for those who do not, or did not, know Christ. Then consider the “celebration of life” services for those who were Christians. Personally I think of the services for two young people from my church. In October of 2011 my friend’s brother died suddenly due to an unknown cause. I won’t go into those details but the few days that followed his death were some of the darkest times me and my then friends had ever faced, and I’m sure ten times more for the family. They were blessed with a large house where we hold all the parties so everyone was in and out the whole weekend. The house was filled with quiet talking and the occasional tear throughout the days and loud voices mixed with the strums of guitars and drum beats on a Igloo cooler made Cajone at night. It was one of the darkest times I’ve ever known, yet we all knew where he had gone when he died and all of us gathered there to support the family and each other knew where we would end up as well. We all had a united hope. We did not dread the disaster.
I also think of my friend Hannah who died last February when a gun misfired and shot through a wall and into her head. It was tragic, perhaps even more tragic than the other one. It was different because she stayed alive for about a week after the accident. Although every single one of us believed in our hearts that she would be healed we still had time to prepare if she didn’t. She was one of the sweetest spirits and most devoted Christians I knew. We all knew where she was going so, while we were all heartbroken over the tragedy our hearts were not in total dread.
I guess not having that dread does just come from loving, trusting, and obeying God.
I did something very stupid this week. I did quite a few stupid things this week, the stupidest of them being that I let my emotions get to me and I didn’t post nor read more than perhaps the daily verse on my Bible app. This past week has been one of the most trying I’ve had in awhile and I am ashamed at myself to think I went this whole time without reading. I had been doing so good, too, and enjoying myself so much. I am going to read tonight. I’m going to read 1 John 1. I don’t know why, it just came to my mind and I’m going with it. I may or may not post about it. I just wanted to use this time to admit to the world (the little world that reads this little blog, at least) that I failed this week. I failed myself, my boyfriend, my friends, and God. Sure, He still loves me but we all know that we can’t go around taking advantage of God’s grace, especially in times like where I find myself right now.
Thankfully this week hasn’t been a total blow. I reconnected with an old friend who is trying to straighten his life up. He even admitted to me last night that he was praying during church. He’s struggling a lot with giving up everything and finding his “happy place” but I believe he is really genuine about wanting to change and I am so excited that he is coming to me and opening up to me about it all. He trusts me with these feelings and decisions he’s making in his life and I really hope and pray that I can be smart enough to keep myself above water and on my own track with the Lord to be able to guide him along.
I guess now I would like to make a sort of public apology/confession to God now.
Lord, I let my anger, frustration, confusion, burst of rebellion and self-reliance, hurt, misuse of adulthood, and so many other things get in the way of Your love for me this week. I took advantage of how much you’ve helped me grow this past year, and especially this past summer, and I blew it all on a few lousy days. I am so sorry, God. I don’t have a clue what got in to me. I guess I lost sight of You and wanted to go off on my own for awhile. That is always a bad idea. I don’t deserve Your mercy and love, but I do hope that this weekend and this coming week will be better and I will continue to grow even more through You, and with Your help. You’re there for me even when I have no one or feel like I have no one. I forget that. Everyone forgets that. But yet You’re still always there. Thank You.