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God as the Hero of Our Story May 26, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Laura @ 9:16 pm

I’m a little bit in the process of reading about 7 books right now. Although it may sound like it would be unproductive, I’m actually quite enjoying the different viewpoints. I’m not a big fan of the authors who are more focused on the kinds of words they use than what they’re actually trying to get across. Like those authors who take up 5 useless pages of trying to describe one simple thing… it doesn’t make sense to me. Ya know, like when they use a thousand different adjectives and verbs to describe something as simple as a blade of grass. Ugh, blah.

So, anyway… one of the books that I’m reading right now is called “The Sacred Romance”. I’m really a fan of it because of the simplicity of how they paint God out to be. So refreshing.
There’s 2 authors, Brent Curtis and John Eldredge, both of whom are excellent authors. In one particularly great chapter, John Eldredge (also the author of “Wild at Heart”) attempts to capture God’s love in a new way.

It’s totally changed my life! I’ve read the chapter at least 4 times already because I don’t want the idea to slip away from my heart. If you get a minute and you’re out shopping, take a seat at a bookstore and slip away for a few minutes by reading this chapter. It’s chapter 6 called “God the Ageless Romancer”.

Seriously amazing.

I’ll try to sum up a little bit what I got from it. I’m gonna warn ya though that I am a little drugged up on Ny-Quil at the moment because of a cold, and am not quite “with it”. This entry will probably only make sense to me when I read it tomorrow 🙂

This is long, but if you have time, I promise it’s good!!!!

It mostly talks about how God’s heart seems so hard to understand and trust. Often people doubt His heart because they go through painful times in life and assume that God doesn’t care or He has simply just betrayed them. It challenges us, as believers, to not think of God as the author in the story of our life… ya know, the guy who sits up in the heavens somewhere narrating our life and writing the next step and is completely separated from us. “The author lies behind, beyond. His omniscience and omnipotence may be what create the drama, but they are also what separate us from Him”. We are not the “rats in His cosmic labratory” as C.S Lewis puts it. It challenges us to, instead, picture God as the hero in our life story who lives in  the drama with us. “The story that is the Sacred Romance begins not with God alone, the author at his desk, but God in relationship, intimacy beyond our wildest imagination, heroic intimacy…..We long for intimacy because we are made in the image of perfect intimacy.” and then it goes on to say “God does not need the Creation in order to have something to love because within himself love happens”.  Our relationship with God is “the assurance that there is something grand and good going on that doesn’t rest on your shoulders, something that doesn’t even culminate in you,  but rather invites you up into it. And so it is with God’s story. Before any of our complex and sometimes overwhelming smaller stories began, there was something wonderful already going on.” Then, the chapter goes on to talk about how God’s perfect heart was betrayed by satan, a fallen angel, who then goes on to try to convince the rest of creation that God doesn’t have a good heart. “Though it seems almost incomprehensible, he deceived a multitude of the heavenly host by sowing the seed of doubt in their minds that God was somehow holding out on them.” Before the fall of Adam and Eve, God woos us into relationship with Him with the beauty of all creation. God creates mand and woman and sets them in paradise. “We see in the first glimpse of God’s wildness the goodness of His heart– He gives us our freedom. In order for a true romance to occur, we had to be free to reject Him.” And then it goes on to say that, “the reason He didn’t make puppets is because He wanted lovers. Remember, he’s inviting us up into a romance. Freedom is part of the explanation for the problem of evil. God is the author of some storms directly; but He is the author of the possibility of all storms in giving us freedom.” Satan’s plan, however, is this: “is now to ruin the Sacred Romance, to get us all caught up in our own little sociodramas by telling us that we are the point. However, God doesn’t give up. God is pursuing a people whose hearts will be for him, with whom he can share the joy of the larger story.”

This is my favorite part of the chapter. It’s Kierkegaard’s way of examining God’s version of the story. Why He pursues us as He does and why our reaction to His love seems to complicate things….

“Suppose there was a king who loved a humble maiden. The king was like no other king. Every statesman trembled before his power. No one dared breathe a word against him, for he had the strength to crush all opponents. And yet this mighty king was melted by love for a humble maiden. How could he declare his love for her? In an odd sort of way, his kingliness tied his hands. If he brought her to the palace and crowned her head with jewels and clothed her body in royal robes, she would surely not resist — no one dared resist him. But would she love him?
She would say she loved him, of course, but would she truly? Or would she live with him in fear, nursing a privte grief for the life she had left behind? Would she be happy at his side? How could he know? If he rode to her forest cottage in his royal carriage, with an armed escort waving bright banners, that too would overwhelm her. He did not want a cringing subject. He wanted a lover, an equal. He wanted her to forget that he was a king and she was a humble maiden and to let shared love cross the gulf between them. For it is only in love that the unequal can be made equal.”  (“Disappointment With God”)

“Jesus left to prepare our place in heaven; the spirit has come to empower us to continue the invasion of the kingdom, which is primarily about freeing the hearts of others to live in the love of God. There is so much in our own heart that remains to be released. Our enemy has not given up yet and his target is also our heart. When we feel that life is finally up to us it becomes suffocating. When we are the main character, the world is so small there’s barely room to move. It frees our souls to have something going on before us that involves us, had us in mind, yet doesn’t depend on us.”

And my favorite quote of all to describe why we shouldn’t focus on the hurts and suffering in life,

“The suffering seems like the truest part of life, but they are not. The heart of the universe is still perfect love.”

“Finally, if we try to relate to God primarily as Author, we will go mad. I just can’t imagine the characters of a novel affecting the author that much. He may like them, hate them, be intrigued with mapping out their development, but they don’t impact him the way people in his real life do. He doesn’t live with them as flesh and blood lovers. But when we see God as the Hero of the story and consider what he wants for us, we know one thing for certain: We affect him. We impact the members of the Trinity as truly as they do each other. It is only when we see God as the Hero of the larger story that we come to know his heart is good.”

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He is Sovereign May 22, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Laura @ 12:40 pm

Just some thoughts from my devotion today….
I struggle with remembering how sovereign God is sometimes….that nothing I can do can mess up HIS perfect plan for me. Hopefully this encourages someone else 🙂

“C.S Lewis once wrote a friend: “I don’t doubt that the Holy Spirit guides your decisions from within when you make them with the intention of pleasing God. Ther error would be to think that He speaks only within, whereas in reality He speaks also through scripture, the church, christian friends, books, etc.” Though God speaks to Christians primarily through His Word, He confirms and leads us in many different ways. But we should resist overspiritualizing the steps He expects us to take to make choices.
God knows ALL things. But that doesn’t mean our task is to discover what He already knows or to worry that we might miss His perfect plan. Our responsibility is to love Him, study His Word, deepend our relationship with Him, and learn to evaluate our choices in light of biblical wisdom. If we’re doing these things, we can make our decisions in the confidence that we aren’t somehow missing God’s will.”

 

My Soap Box

Filed under: Uncategorized — Laura @ 12:31 pm

I just want to share with everyone the AWESOME things that are taking place in my life right now. So much growth, times of humility, and excitement. My hope is that this note would encourage someone… at least one 🙂

So, if you’re a part of Destiny Church, there’s no way (unless you somehow fell asleep for 4 months straight) that you aren’t aware of the growth that God is putting into the hearts of people who are willing to listen.
I’ll make a list because I feel like it’s more efficient and I’m not in the mood to type forever.

Maybe it’s not. It just feels like it is:

1. God has created a longing in the hearts of SO many people and a joy to pursue Him more. Many of the sermons recently have been about getting to know God… I’m always hungry to know more. Instead of feeling guilty if I didn’t spend time with God… I moreso just miss Him. I am loving that.
Because of this…..

2. …. God is calling these people to live differently. Set apart from the world. I made a commitment to give up TV and movies, at least for this season of searching for more. My point with this is to challenge anyone, who is feeling a tug on their heart, to take it and put it into action!! This is important. As believers, we are called to be different. Our culture is becoming sooo ridiculously calloused and blinded to where we’re headed. Love is no longer embraced, what a celebrity is wearing is far more important than what our own life looks like, the next president could very well be against God, abortion is still very prevelant, sexual images on TV are no big deal, adultry is encouraged and made into a joke on sitcoms, the next generation doesn’t even know the difference, etc etc etc. I could go on and on. Satan has got in these cracks and he, I’m sure, is sitting laughing at the progress he has made in our nation alone. It’s time to wake up, people. It’s time to stop being desensitized and to allow your mind to be washed clean from what it’s been fed. Taking away TV and being very careful of what I watch in movies has caused my heart to be more in tune with how God created our world to be. It’s made me more convicted about little things that wouldn’t have bothered me in the past.
I challenge you to take steps in changing your lifestyle to not fit cultures, but to better fit where God wants you and how He can use you. It doesn’t have to be taking away TV, but listen hard to what God is telling you. Believe me, you won’t be able to hear Him as well through all the chaos and clutter of our society.

3. I’ve learned what it means to constantly meditate on scripture. When it’s hard to step away from culture, I simply start singing a worship song or search my heart for a verse and sing it all day. Sometimes I will write it on my arm so that it’s in my face and I’m being reminded of it. Keeping those verses in your mind won’t allow other thoughts to have room to stay. It’s important to take every thought captive.

4. I debated on whether or not I should add this one, but… why not? I’m feeling bold I think. I’ve already been on a soap box for the last, what? 754 words? haha.
I think this is mostly aimed at high school and college students…or, I guess, anyone who is single. I will just be honest and say that I’ve had my fair share of dating and regrets in the past. I realize, now that I’m away from them and grown that they ended up being positive lessons for me. God definitely used them. BUT, if I can encourage anyone to skip those crappy steps and move onto the good stuff….then why not? In past relationships I would kiss. Now, this doesn’t sound necessarily like an “awful” thing. Dating someone for a while, it’s natural that you kiss, right? Wrong. Well, in my opinion at least.
I’m not just saying this because I believe in living the purest life you can so that God can give you His best (he doesn’t jip you off). I’m also wanting to highlight it because I have been through the other stuff and have recently learned how AMAZING it is to have patience for your future. In my relationship now, my boyfriend and I have decided not to kiss until engagement (possibly marriage. I’ll tell you more when I get there) 🙂 but it has been the most life-giving, fruitful, encouraging, and fun relationship that I’ve ever been in. We truly are best friends. We are still able to see each other in an boyfriend/girlfriend type way because we truly believe that God blesses it more when you allow patience and self-control to be the focus. To sum it up, I just wanted to share with you all that, yeah, it may be hard to do at first… but it is soooo worth it to wait (even to kiss) while dating. It gives time for you to get to know the person’s heart alone and who they are. There’s no time taken away from that. That’s all you really need to know at that stage anyway 🙂

5. God is so much bigger than we make Him out to be. Well, I’ll speak for myself. Than I make Him out to be. I’m learning to really see Him for who He is. He is able to do FAR BEYOND anything that is even imaginable. Our little minds can’t even comprehend the power that He is and the beauty that He defines. I guess I’d like to maybe help people to think in a different way about God. To not put limits on what He can do. I am a big believer that if we all start looking to Him in this way, He will start trusting believers and blessing them more with things that have to do with this world (ie. money, ministry, ending abortion). The things that SEEM impossible aren’t even a worry to Him.

I just ask you to think about these things. Our world is changing, and the Christians need to be the ones who aren’t afraid to stand up for what we know to be truth.

We should be LEAST afraid… we have the flippin GOD of the UNIVERSE on our side. It blows my mind.

No more mediocrity, people. Let’s do sommmmething, puh-lease!

 

It’s Really Not About Me……..or You. May 19, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Laura @ 6:52 pm

I will preface by saying this:
You know those shirts that say “It’s All About Me”…..?
Yeah. Well I hate those.

K, now on to the blog. 🙂

I’m learning a LOT about myself lately. God is obviously bringing out tons of aspects in my life that have been so comfortably hidden in that safe little pocket in my mind. Although very humbling, it’s also taught me a lot about my wonderful maker.

Fancy that, huh?

The fact that I’m finally eager to learn and be more concerned about the ways and the thoughts of the the magnificent maker of the universe rather than my own measily little world. It took me, what, 21 selfish years to realize that, nope. It’s really NOT about me. Or anyone else for that matter.

And, let me tell ya, I like it.

Even in this time of, what seems like, uncertainty… I know all too well (and He has proven time and time again) that my God has everything under control.

So, let’s go down the list of things that seem overwhelming in my life and how I should deal with them…Kidding. Let’s not do that because I’m pretty sure that most of the people reading this here blog don’t necessarily want to know what I may or may not be struggling with on a bullet point basis (if you’re interested, let’s talk it over with white chocolate mochas in hand).

Now, I don’t want you to think that my life is chaotic right now. Actually, it’s the opposite. God has me in a season of rest, and sometimes those seasons are even more frustrating than the others. I want to get in school, volunteer, do this, do that… but God continues to shut doors. I need to sit back and let things happen (I’m pretty antsy sometimes).

All this to say that the biggest thing I’ve learned in this season is that (drum roll please)……I know my God and I will trust Him even when He is silent. I know the way He cares for His children; the way He cares for me. I know His faithfulness and He has proven it in my life, even though He didn’t have to. I know His mercies; how they wash over me with each new day. I know that what He says is the definition of truth and I can stake my life on His word and His word only. Thank you, Jesus.

Each new day is full of the richest promises. Promises that can never be broken. Promises spoken directly from His heart to mine.

So bring it on, uncertainty. I will not be afraid to be surrounded by uncertainty anymore. It only increases my faith and causes my heart to yearn more. Each day is a gift. I desire to walk in the spirit at all times… loving and living and giving and serving with every fiber of my being. Every minute, every single day, knowing that each day is only moving me closer to the day of all days, when I will finally see His face.

But there’s no time to waste, my time here is limited. I need to stop focusing on where I’M going and what’s ahead for ME.

What about God? Where is HE headed and what’s ahead in HIS plan?”It’s all about HIM” (let’s send in the new design for that t-shirt, what do ya think?)

 

Romans 12:2 Prayer Notes

Filed under: Uncategorized — Laura @ 6:52 pm

Romans 12:2

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
-Don’t let me see what the world sees as “normal”
-conforming will cause me to be blinded to what Your will is
-Renew my mind to think more like Your mind
-Renew = cleanse, start fresh, go back to the beginning
-Give me fresh thoughts to how the world should be and how I should be living
-Allowing God to “renew” my mind will transform it. I want to be transformed into mind of Christ…what His mind says is holy, perfect, and true. My flesh will cause me to be misled.
-I want new motives for living life
-With a clear mind, I can test and approve His will for my life.
-God will put the right desires in my heart and lead my life on the path towards His perfect will. Lord, give me knowledge to be able to follow You.
-God, change my mind, change my passions, change my desires –do all these things to make my mind to look more like Yours.

 

This is Lame

Filed under: Uncategorized — Laura @ 6:51 pm
I had to erase my last account because of some problems in the system. I read the help tutorial because I was lost on how to update my template and put a new header and what not and was feeling a little crazy. Ok, maybe I was. That’s not the point 🙂
Don’t judge too fast, my friends…put all your blonde jokes aside because this was actually not my fault! I can rest knowing that I would have figured out how to do everything if blogger had all their ducks in a row. Come on now, people… do your job…whoever you are out there in blog world.
Ok, am I making sense? Probably not.
All this to say… I like my new blog, but I have yet to figure out how to put a new pretty template up. Right now I have to use one of theirs, and it’s boring. Any suggestions? Also, thanks to Jessica Stern for the cute new header. I love it! She’s so talented.
All my comments were erased, too. Many of which I didn’t get the chance to read. Repost if you have the time 🙂
Danke.
 

Prayer For Diligence

Filed under: Uncategorized — Laura @ 6:51 pm

Be pleased, Oh God, to grant me that great freedom of mind that will enable me to follow and attend on Jesus with a pure heart; to be ever prepared and disposed to observe His example and obey His precepts. And further help me to achieve that consummate prudence, great purity, great separation from the world, much liberty, and a firm and steadfast faith in the Lord Jesus that will enable me to manage the common affairs of life in such a way as not to misemploy or neglect the improvement of my talents; to be industrious without covetousness; diligent without anxiety; as exact in each detail of action as if success were dependent on it, and yet so resigned as to leave all events to You and still attributing to You the praise of every good work.
Amen.