Friday, August 14, 2009

Conquer the World!?!.... or not!

This morning was quite humorous. I set my alarm for 5:30 am in order to get some things done... spend time in the word... etc. It was one of those mornings where you wake up ready to conquer the world. Well, God, with His sense of humor decided that conquering the world was not His plan for me, but rather conquering... dog vomit all over the house. haha Usually this would be frustrating, but it made me laugh because the same exact thing happened the last time I tried to do something similar. It ended up being a good time in prayer. It was a great reminder to me that my plans are not ultimate. He is completely in control and can change my plans however He desires. I do hope that my plans are not continually changed in this way... maybe something more exciting. ;) Anyway, I found it neat how God could take something like dog vomit and turn it into a blessing. This evening, I decided to read over Philippians 3 since it is one of my favorite chapters.
Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

I know you see these verses on my blog all the time, but it is something that I need to be continually reminded of. Reflecting over the last year of my life, I see times where I have done well, and I see times where I have reached behind rather than forward. It's important for me to remember that those times are gone now. I can't change the past. What I did for Him will last... what I did for myself will not last. I am excited about this next year of life. It is another year to live for Him... another year to press on toward the goal.

It's kind of awkward asking for a birthday gift, but I am going to go ahead and ask anyway. I would like to ask for your prayers... specifically:

1) That Christ would be the center of my daily living.
2) That He would grant me His wisdom in the huge/life-changing decisions that will be made this next year.
3) That I would grow continually closer to Him both in knowledge of Him and in obedience to what He reveals.
4) That I would have a tender heart toward His ways... that I would be responsive to His leading without delay.
5) That God would use my life for His glory.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

To Give Everything

You may or may not know this, but I don't read very much. To be completely honest, I don't really enjoy reading. This has some positive aspects and some negative ones. I think it is generally easier to read about something than to do it... I am thankful that He has given me more of a desire to do things rather than just read about them. Lack of reading books outside of scripture can be a good thing as well in that I am forced to formulate ideas based on His Word rather than taking someone else's word for it and following their idea. Having said this, there are many godly people who have gone before us and have written of their learnings... and this is extremely valuable. Thus, the negative thing about not enjoying reading and not reading much is that I miss out on some valuable insight from the people who have gone before me. My pastor recommended and let me borrow "Shadow of the Almighty" by Elisabeth Elliot during my second year of college. I just finished reading it yesterday. While not enjoying reading had some to do with that, the biggest reason is that I often found myself rereading all the places my pastor or I underlined in the book (he did say that I could). Anyway, I finally finished it and while I generally don't post content here other than from scripture, I must share this in that God used it to kind of rip my heart.
Two days later, on Sunday, Jan. 8, 1956, the men for whom Jim Elliot had prayed for six years killed him and his four companions.

This is a very sobering reminder to me. God is ultimately in control, but we are responsible for our part. Jim Elliot was committed to His ways... and He called Jim to go to these people and Jim was diligent about it. Praying for six years is no easy task... not only did he pray, but he did everything he could to prepare. God took his life and to my knowledge, Jim didn't see one of those people saved. This can seem like a waste of life, but God never wastes anything. He has a perfect plan. He used the death of Jim Elliot and the four others to draw these people to Himself. I was thinking about this commitment... to pray for six years... to work hard... and then to be okay with being killed by the same people he had prayed for. That is commitment for His sake. I then thought of Christ's sacrifice... He did infinitely more than this... He created us... and then was killed by His creation. While Jim's death in itself was in vain, God used it to draw people to Himself. In contrast, Christ's death was not in vain, but to give everyone an opportunity to be saved. Jim Elliot really did live a life modeled after Christ. It is a great blessing and encouragement to see that a human can (through His power) live a life patterned after Christ. Now to live it!