November 30, 2009

Let Me Clear My Throat

Short and sweet . . .

I'm now reading 1 Samuel, and I gotta say it again - I love the Old Testament.

Times have changed greatly, but God's character remains the same throughout.

When God first calls Samuel, scripture says:

Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord: The word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him.
[1 Samuel 3:7]

So here's this kid who's been raised under a priest, and God is calling to him . . . even though he does not yet know God.

And by the end of the chapter, Samuel is older and he's known all throughout the land as a prophet of the Lord.

The Lord continued to appear at Shiloh, and there he revealed himself to Samuel through his word.
[1 Samuel 3:21]

This verse jumped out at me because of the second half of the sentence: "He revealed Himself . . . through His word."

There you have it. God reveals Himself to His people through His Word. Well, if that's not something that has stood true throughout time. I need to remember that. On the days where I don't feel like opening my Bible. This is God's way of communitcating and revealing Himself. How else can I hope to know my creator if I don't delve into His Word?

November 13, 2009

The Nearness Of You

About 5 minutes ago, I was driving down Marvino towards it's intersection with 70. This big Chevy Tahoe (you know, the cars that closely resemble boats due to their size) was exiting a gas station and about to merge onto the street . . . he got into the suicide lane and failed to notice (or care about) my little black Honda - so instead of pausing, it almost hit me.

So, I honked. I mean, my car was about to get side-swiped . . . it wasn't intended to be a malicious honk, it was a "hey-do-you-see-me?-please-don't-hit-me-because-I-have-the-right-of-way" honk.

Well, then we both turn right on 70 (with him behind me), and this Tahoe proceeds to speed up, jump in front of me, hit the brakes, and flip me the bird.

I suddenly felt the urge to vomit. Maybe it's because I don't get this kind of reaction very often on the road (it's only the second time I've been flicked off . . . that I know of), angry/mean people upset me, or maybe it's because I had just gone running and probably still had coffee in my stomach.

I rolled the windows down, felt the wind in my face, and listened to Frank. (Sinatra, that is). That calmed me down well enough . . . but I still felt sick.

Then I started to think . . . if something as insignificant as road rage gets me upset . . . how much more does our sin make God sick?

No wonder our sin removes us so far from our Creator. Yet, He was still compassionate, gracious and forgiving to the Israelites back in Moses' day. Much more than I am . . . or can even comprehend.

And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, "The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin . . ."
-Exodus 34:6-7

"I will put my dwelling place among you, and I will not abhor you. I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be my people. I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt so that you would no longer be slaves to the Egyptians; I broke the bars of your yoke and enabled you to walk with heads held high."
-Leviticus 26:11-13

November 6, 2009


Last night, I had one of those dreams that are so scary, they wake you up.

Lynn & I were about to go to Central Asia to do missions work, and I thought to myself - I should tell my parents where I'm going, that way if something happens at least they'll know . . . but it's not like they'll be able to come over here and rescue me . . . but I didn't tell them.

The next thing I know, we were over there and this huge dude comparable to Andre The Giant grabbed both of us by the wrist and asked why we were over there . . . I had to lie and tell him that we were just over there as tourists on vacation. Then of course, he takes us away, and I remember looking at Lynn like - "oh crap, what do we do now?" and not being able to talk to her about it. And I remember thinking - I should've told my parents where we were going.

Then we were in the hallway near a big room, like we were outside of a high school gym or something . . . and I was wondering what was going to happen next. There were other people there by now, and then this huge door opens to the gym and there are all these people inside of it, and they start talking about how they're going to slice people's arms open (probably ours). I remember thinking - holy crap, this stuff only happens in movies, but now it's real . . . and wondering if torture was going to make me lose my faith.

That's when I woke up.

Can I just tell you HOW THANKFUL I was to wake up in my room, in North Carolina, in USA? I hate it when you wake up and you forget where you are . . . and it takes you a few minutes to realize that your dream was actually a dream, not real life.

I just thanked God that it wasn't real . . . and that I live in a place where I'm free to worship, free to pray in public, free to talk about my faith in public . . . and that being tortured or kidnapped is not something that I have to walk around fearing on a regular basis.

And it makes me feel so spoiled. I take this stuff for granted EVERY day. I walk around and forget about the freedoms that I have.

I also get distracted by the day-to-day stuff . . . I turn to things other than God for security, value and worth. I get lethargic in my walk with Him, and lose that fire and passion. I forget my first love. It's so easy to walk around and forget that you need a Savior EVERY day. It's not just a one-time deal and you wander around the rest of your life alone.

Every. Single. Day. I need someone to save me from myself and from everything.

This dream also made me wonder - what would happen if I did get tortured for my faith? Or if I had to watch someone I love get tortured for their/my faith? What would I do? Would I remember what Paul says in Romans about NOTHING in this life being able to separate us from the love that is in Christ . . . and how to die is gain? Would I think about Paul in prison, singing worship songs? Would I remember David talking about how God's love is better than life itself? Or would I be so caught up in the pain that I would forsake everything?

Once again, I am reminded that I need a Savior every single day . . . and that I'm more saturated with sin than I like to acknowledge.
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