Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Finally an update... and other stuff

I apologize for the much delayed update. For those of you that don't know already, I am doing quite well all considering. I had a great time at church on Sunday... several people didn't recognize me, but that was pretty funny. I actually look somewhat like a normal human being... just not quite me. ;) I had a follow-up appointment the other day, and everything seems to be going just fine. God is good! I did have really high blood pressure for a while after the surgery, but they were able to contain it with some blood pressure meds. I'm actually surprised by how fast I've recovered. I'm by no means back to normal or anything, but I am far beyond what I expected at this point. I attempted work on Monday and ended up calling mom two hours later to ask her to pick me up. Oh well! My boss is being very flexible and letting me work from home... which I will probably do tomorrow. I had my first real meal yesterday. I was able to eat a can of soup as well as some refried beans. I can't chew at all, so it is a bit interesting. Since my lower lip is still numb, I tend to lose a good amount of stuff out the bottom... hehe. Tonight, I had some amazing spaghetti! You'd be amazed at what you can eat without chewing! I have nothing to fear when I get old and lose all my teeth (just kidding). :D God has been very much gracious though! He has filled me with His joy and peace. I am in a good bit of pain still, but I know that He will not allow me to go through any pain without it being in His perfect plan! Thank you all for praying. I can't tell you how much your prayers mean to me. I look forward to going to camp on Sunday and working with some 10th graders for a week. Please pray for continued healing and that He would prepare my heart for leading this young men in His ways.

God has also blessed in that I was published for the first time (at least that I could remember). I don't know if you would call it published or not, but I thought it was pretty cool all the same.

Another blessing came as I was browsing google. I found a little picture and article from when I hit the grand slam. I didn't realize that it was online ( God deserves all the glory for that one too! It brought back some great memories of how He has blessed me so incredibly over the last year.

I've been reading a bit in 1 Samuel these last several days. It is neat to see how God answers the prayer of Hannah... and the commitment she has to dedicate Samuel to the Lord. So often, I feel like I leave things in God's hands and as soon as He makes it good, I take it back. We need to give Him all the glory! It was sobering to see Eli's sons and their disobedience to the Lord. God doesn't take sin lightly... all of Israel was defeated! The Ark was taken, which was the symbol of God's presence in Israel. I can't imagine what it would have been like to see the symbol of the only One who you could depend on being taken away. Eli obviously took it very hard and died on the spot. I pray that God would wake us up to the reality of needing Him so that we would not lose His presence among us. We need Him now more than ever!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

I'm going in!

As many of you know, I am going in for jaw surgery in the morning (10:15 am PST). First off, I want to say that this is a blessing. God has provided the necessary insurance to cover such procedures (or at least the majority of it). The original plan was to take out two of my wisdom teeth, then the other two, then do the jaw surgery. I'd rather get all of the pain out of the way at the same time. God blessed in that working out as well. While it is a blessing, I would request prayer for this whole ordeal. My orthodontist was unable to fix my overbite. My jaw actually started locking up and popping when he tried to fix it, so I had to stop wearing the retainer. Believe it or not, I have had braces for over 10 years (got them at age 8, and had a couple years without them before getting them back on when I couldn't wear my retainer any more). I'm kind of fond of them now. ;) My mouth just never wanted to move like it was supposed to. Anyway, I am having all four wisdom teeth taken out as well as my lower jaw extended. They will basically cut each side of my jaw vertically and then horizontally so that they can slide my jaw on itself. A huge blessing is that they are going to use steel plates and screws which means that I don't have to be wired shut for six weeks. I still can't have solid foods for six weeks following the surgery, but it'll be much better being able to talk and stuff. I guess (physically speaking) the biggest prayer request would be that the doctors would be blessed with skilled hands during the procedure, and that everything would go smoothly. I hate to bring this up because no one likes to think about it, but I know that there is always a possibility for a mistake (whether that be a small mistake or even a mistake resulting in death). I know that this doctor is very skilled, and a mistake is unlikely, but I have full peace knowing that God is completely in control and He can do to me whatever He deems best. I'm likely to get a bit more nervous about the whole thing as it comes up, so if you would pray that the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard my heart and my mind in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7), that would be greatly appreciated as well. If you would also pray for a fast recovery, that would be excellent. I am going to be a counselor at a camp nine days after the surgery for a week. If I am spending the whole week in the nurses station, that probably wouldn't be the most helpful thing for the 10th graders in my cabin. It's pretty much only once a year that I get to spend this much time focused on making a difference in the lives of teens. I really don't want to miss out on this great opportunity. Again, God knows best, and He can do as He pleases.

This is kind of a random story, but you will see how it fits in. Many years ago, I thought the worst way of dying would be drowning. I would often do somersaults in the pool to see how many in a row I could do without breathing. I would routinely do about 6 of them before I had to get a breath. This one time I was determined to break my record (8 I think). I got to 8, and I pushed for another one... and then another. It started getting easier and easier. I was feeling like I didn't need a breath any more. This was because I was passing out. At number 13, God literally woke me up, and I realized that I was sideways at the bottom of the pool. I jumped up and was completely fine. God used this to destroy my fear of death. I fear things like being stuck in the hospital with tubes in me more than death. This will be another great opportunity for God to work in my heart, and help me trust Him completely. It may sound weird, but I look forward to it for that reason. Please keep me in prayer as He works not only physically, but mentally and spiritually. I have great peace! Thanks for your prayers and support!

If you are in the area and would like to visit, I'd love to have you! I'll be at Loma Linda University Medical Center. Friday night and/or Saturday morning would probably be the best times to visit. I really don't know how awake I'll be, but if you give mom a call before you come, that might be best. Feel free to call her for updates as well.

Thanks again!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Knowledge and it's relation to obedience

I am very much excited about what God is doing. I asked a friend this evening what he has been learning in the Word, and he said that he has been studying the baptism of the Holy Spirit. This is something that I haven't really take the time to study. Even though it is likely that I know quite a few of these things, if someone asked me to explain exactly what the baptism of the Holy Spirit is, I think I would have a bit of a hard time. I'd like to know it very well. It reminds me of the study we did on the gospel not too long ago. Although with the memorization done through Awana, I knew lots of passages that go with the gospel. It is such a refreshing thing to study the gospel. It is old, but so life-changing that it is exciting. Anyway, it looks like we'll be getting together and some point to study that together... should be a lot of fun! I was talking with another friend the other day about denominations and theological issues. I started thinking that maybe we are going too far out of our way to understand some minor theological issues in comparison to our obedience to what we do know. I'm not saying that when we have a lack of obedience, we should stop reading the Word until we are fully obedient, but sometimes we use learning as an excuse for not being obedient. We can go through all the motions of reading our Bible daily and praying, but if it isn't changing the way we live, what good is it? It really doesn't matter if you have the whole Bible memorized if you aren't taking it to heart. It really comes down to asking God to transform our will to His will through the Word so that we would want with all of our heart to be obedient. After all, He knows what is best for us and being obedient is actually doing what is best for ourselves! Please pray for me as I study the Word... that it would change who I am, not just be another thing I read.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Finals are over!

Just in case you were wondering, now I haven't left the planet... I just had finals. ;) I actually still have two projects to complete and a presentation, but the finals are over. I got to go surfing today with the Dortignacs (family friends of ours that have 14 kids). :) It was a blast! I need to finish this project that I'm working on. I finished the book of Judges. I didn't recall it being so awful. I guess now that I am reading it to learn rather than just to get it done, it really changes things. Anyway, it really is sickening how far away from God the people are. It's a good reminder that none of us are beyond even the most repulsive of sins. Faithfulness to God must be a moment by moment thing.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Blessings overflowing

God has continued to pour out His abundant blessings. One of my good friends (Micah) has been looking for a job for quite a while now. I was talking with him last night and telling him how I had not been spending nearly the amount of time that I should be spending in prayer for him and the job situation. On the way to school today, I had an excellent opportunity to do so. Actually, it was one of the best commutes I've had in a long time. I was listening to a really old CD from Asuza Pacific University Choir. There were a couple songs where scripture was read. I recognized John 1 and Isaiah 40, but I'm pretty sure there was more than that. Anyway, it was a great mixture of songs and the Word--very much encouraging. Well, God answered that prayer for a job in an awesome way. He got a doorman/valet parking job at a 5-star hotel! That totally made my day! I am looking forward to tomorrow! We are helping move some people into their house from South Carolina. He is going to be our assistant pastor... such an awesome guy! We had the privilege of having them in our home for dinner the last time they were out here. It was such a fun time of fellowship. It's hard to believe that they are finally here! :) I've been reading in Judges the last several days. There really hasn't been a whole lot that I felt was pleasant to share (not that it needs to be pleasant). I find it strange that after all the ways that God has delivered the people of Israel, they still turn two their idols. It does serve as a good reminder to me that I am definitely not above falling in a major way. God has continually pursued me, and without that... I don't know where I'd be. He is the only good that comes from me, so my full dependence is on Him and needs to remain that way. Keep me in prayer as I strive to be obedient to what He teaches me through the Word.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Projects here, there, and everywhere

For those of you that were wondering, it looks like I'll be paying that ticket very soon. God is in control... and I did deserve it. Church went really well on Sunday. I got to play "Knowing You" on the piano... which I love to do! I got to teach children's church as well. We talked about the power of the Holy Spirit with the miracles of the apostles. It was really neat to see the kids understand the concept of being able to do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13). :) I have been challenged by Judges. It just seems weird that God would bless Samson in the way that He did. First, God gave him the power to break the ropes... then He gave Samson the power to go out and kill a thousand Philistines with a jaw bone... then he is thirsty, you would think that God would not honor that... but no, He does another miracle to give water to Samson! It really challenges my view of God in a healthy way. You may think that it is unhealthy, but this is the truth of God's Word... I don't see how it could be unhealthy. I want to know God for who He is, not for who I imagine Him to be. :) I have a ton of projects right now. The main thing right now is a presentation on Thursday, and a lot of preparing to do for that. God was gracious in helping me pump out a ten page paper in about 1.5 hrs last night. He has been blessing in so many ways!

1) He blessed me with at least an extra $2,000 for this quarter. I honestly don't know how I would have been able to pay that school bill... now it is a lot more doable!
2) Sign language was finally approved after many months of trying to get the school to accept it for my language requirement.
3) We have some new people moving here this weekend... who are coming to help out at church until God leads them to start their own church.
4) My uncle's health has greatly improved. Keep praying for his salvation and release from the hospital.

I honestly don't know why He is blessing me like this... I definitely don't deserve it in any way. I pray that these blessings would push me on toward obedience to His ways more than ever.