Tuesday, November 22, 2016

A desperate need

I desperately needed Psalms 34 today before I even realized I needed it. Jesus is kind of wonderful that way. People talk about filling up on God before hitting the work day and any troubles that might accrue along the way. Yet for me, sometimes I need to read His words after the trouble hits. It's phenomenally affirming to know Jesus has my back way before I begin the mental process of dealing. So here are the recognizable highlights of 34:

  • 1 I will extol the LORD at all times; Hi praise will always be on my lips. 2 My soul will boast of the LORD; let the afflicted hear and rejoice. 3 Glorify the LORD with me; let us exalt his name together; 
  • 4 I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. 5 Those who look at him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. 6 This poor [woman] called, and the LORD heard [her]; he saved [her] out of all [her] troubles.
  • 7 The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them. 
  • 8 Taste and see that the LORD is good, blessed is the man who takes refuge in him. 
  • 9 Fear the LORD, you his saints, for those who fear him lack nothing. 10 The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing. 
  • 11 Come my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD. 12 Whoever of you loves life and desire to see many good days, 13 keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies. 14 Turn from evil and do good, seek peace and pursue it. 
  • 15 The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their cry;
  • 18 The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. 
  • 19 A righteous man may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all; 20 he protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken. 

This psalms is packed with so much goodness, so much hope, so much strength. I have been refreshed. Amen. 

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Not going to worry

There is a part of Psalms 33 that I really take to heart -

16 No king is saved by the size of his army; no warrior escapes by his great strength. 17 A horse is a vain hope for deliverance; despite all its great strength it cannot save. 18 But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love, to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine. 

20 We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield. 21 In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his hold name. 22 May your unfailing love rest upon us, O LORD, even as we put our hope in you. 

There is a general scare going on with the main public here in the States due to the outcome of the election. I would even say in Canada people are going hysterical. I don't blame any of them for doing so, I am also unhappy with the current situation. Everybody has different places on where they put their faith and belief be it an entity, an organization or a system. What the psalmist speaks about, this is what I believe, and it is not blind. I have seen enough evidence in my life and the lives of others to know He does move, and sometimes in mysterious ways. At the end of the day, He will speak and He will answer. 

Also, aware of humanity's history and where it is going, I know this stuff will happen, but I choose to focus on hope and not hopelessness. As the Apostle Paul once wrote - Faith is hope in the things unseen. I don't know about this statement that is floating around that God is in control (I've seen it a lot on social media), and I really feel that it is a catch all phrase to define everything by people who are panicking. To me it doesn't make sense, God has given us free will and the consequences that come with those choices, so I find the statement a bit contradictory. As to the end, in context to Christian belief, yes, He would definitely be in control of that. 

This post is really a personal response to myself and all the articles and posts I've been seeing on social media from close friends, acquaintances, colleagues and people I follow. I've been so annoyed with everyone that I've just been unfollowing posts or people. I'm even getting to the place where I limit my exposure to social media. This fear mongering does nothing for me, so why expose myself? Hope is what we need, and that's what I am going to focus on. Amen.  

Friday, November 11, 2016

Processing forgivness

I opened up to Psalms 32 this morning and was just amazed at David's specific approach, discovery, review of the process of being forgiven. A lot of times when looking at the process of forgiveness, it is often approached from the view point of the person forgiving. So it was rather surprising to see David's words I will confess my transgressions to the LORD - and you forgave the guilt of my sin (:5). A lot of times, when the offender is asking for forgiveness, the residue of guilt is left behind. I feel like David is addressing the aspect of guilt; that God also has claim on this feeling in the package of forgiveness. To not give the guilt over to God is kind of akin to holding onto the sin. The holding on hampers with the healing and growth process that a person would go through afterwards.

Anyways, ever so often I come across a Psalms that really grabs my attention. I will be reflecting on this chapter for a few days. Amen.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

A fire under my tooshie

A close friend just landed a job interview after submitting countless resumes. In preparation for the presentation, she has asked me for help prepping. To get a better understanding of her assignment, she gave me material to read over, including the application she used to submit. After reading about her experience/expertise, I am just blown away.

I know I shouldn't compare, but what in the world have I been doing with my life?! We've had the same years of work in similar workplaces, and yet, she's gotten involved in much much more. Kudos to her for what she's accomplished.

Time to get to work.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Minimalism on the mind

I have a thing for minimalist articles. Reading them always inspires me and nips the desire to buy right in the bud. Reading about other people's experiences is a constant reminder of where my priorities are and refocuses me to keep on track. Anyways, this was a good read, Minimalism

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

the unexpected journey

who, then, is the woman that fears the LORD? He will instruct her in the way chosen for her - ps 25:12

A lot has happened since the last post. I received my work permit, I've become immersed in knitting, and somehow I've fallen into eating clean and exercising everyday. A new season has been laid out for me, my way is definitely being instructed. I am taking each day as is - doing what I need to do to clean the body, mind and spirit. Initially, the difficult part was applying for jobs. I was looking at full time positions, but I am just sticking to the local government websites and just applying when positions come up since both places are within walking distances of where I live. I am also applying to part time positions because I realize that I am fine with only working part time.

In all this, I am waiting, but I am now at peace with that waiting, because really, I am working on myself in the meantime. 

Sunday, July 24, 2016

at the end of the day

i will praise the lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me - ps 16:7

At the end of the day, if you've been plugged into the world happenings, the night holds a disconcerting hold on the soul. As I prep for bed, I'm troubled by what I've seen and what I've read. It's more than troubling, it is disturbing. Violence, injustice, ignorance and just about every negative thing under the sun. But what I find particularly annoying is the distinct thread of voices who see the despair and simply say, "Lord Jesus, come." I am uncomfortable with that phrase.

But why is that? First, to quote a saint of the land, "nothing is new under the sun." As you delve into history, humanity has danced this grotesque dance since it partook of a fruit. Every generation has called upon God in light of this. Second, I believe we are here in eternity. How we live now dictates the course of our path. It's not a perfect living, but it is a constant striving towards understanding the mystery of the gospel in this time and space.

Fourthly, the phrase can sometime imply a level of disconnect from the people in these horrendous situations. I think it also implies a level of helplessness. We feel helpless to help and/or ill at ease to interact with traumatized people. In retrospect, I could disconnect from all this information. I can avoid social media, unfollow people (and I do sometimes). The reason I don't leave is because I need to understand what I behold in my lifetime. I need to understand the disparity but also see the hope. The world is trying to make a better place. They're struggling with equality for all people and somewhere in the juggling there is Father, Son & Spirit.

Just some thoughts. Amen. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

leaning in another direction

I've been enriched knowing a particular individual who has challenged and prodded my thinking about equality for women in and outside the Church. The more I've delved into the topic and have become informed, the more I begin to see how lacking there is female equality in the Church. Lack of equality from ordination for women to the sexuality of women. A lot of this reaction is based on this particular podcast.

Years ago, I would have agreed with this woman's view. But this whole drive for purity is a by-product of a relationship with God. If individuals in the church were more concerned with getting the message out and looking at each person as a possible vessal regardless of the task, they wouldn't be looking at the sex, age, race of the person. If we search for equality between men and women, sex wouldn't be an issue, respect wouldn't be an issue, love wouldn't be an issue. After listening to this podcast, I've come to realize my view has changed. Thank God.


Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Reading tips

I've been reading the Bible since I was a child, and through the years my approaches have varied due to where my walk with Christ was. Only in the last 5 years, after listening to sermons, reading spiritually directed books have I come up with a method of reading my Bible. Apparently, I am not the only individual who has discovered these tips. Blogger of Journey of the Word has created a Do's and Don'ts of Bible Study. The Spirit was definitely talking to us both. Amen.

Saturday, June 25, 2016


Many people unknowingly walk with God. They seek and recognize goodness, search after honesty and look to help their neighbour. They are disgusted with the vile man's ways and understand the importance of stewardship. These are the one's who have rejected Christianity because others have misrepresented. This part of Christianity speaks louder than their actions. Their message is rejected and the many people walk away from them.

This is my take on David's Psalms 15 and the people I know. There's also another category of people I am friends with - unchurched believers. They believe in God but aren't concerned with going to Church. They seek to live the good life and believe in prayer. I've been blessed to know some of these people intimately. They have shared their life with me and I have been blessed by that experience.

And currently that is what I seek as I live out this life in the here and now. I pray to be connected with people from this community whether they be Christian or not, but to find a people who I can connect with on a mental and spiritual level.


Thursday, June 23, 2016

Sometimes you drive me nuts

I have a few favourite books of the Word. They are books I can't help but come back to repeatedly, and certain chapters have always pulled me back. Book of Isaiah and the book of John have always been favourites. Isaiah for the full revelation of the human nature and nature of Christ and the poetic imagery of that message and the book of John because of how personable he reveals Christ. 

As I read David and his condemnation of the wicked person and how he cannot come into the presence of God and there is no hope for him, I remembered Isaiah 55: 6-7:

Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon. 

David speaks of his own experience, he an individual person against many. Isaiah speaks of Israel's experience, and he speaks for a multitude. When I read David, I feel like I looking into the thoughts of someone born and raised in the Church - they are in their younger years and their spiritual and life experience is a bit straightforward, no areas of grey. Reading Isaiah is like looking into the thoughts of an older Christian who has left behind the idealistic youthful years and struggles with God on a regular basis and questions the entire Christian walk. They know God exists but they struggle with their view of the world around them and the view of God and consolidating that information into their identity. 

I guess this is my way of coping with reading Psalms. There are times it drives me dithers just because I can't entirely embrace what I am reading - I heavily question David's voice. Questioning his absolute statements with other part of the Bible is what's keeping me sane in reading through the early parts of Psalms. 


Monday, June 20, 2016

a view of black and white

I struggle with reading David on some days. He can be so definitive at times - meaning people are either good or evil. There is no grey area. Psalms 14 is just that - definitive. He states - the fools says in his heart, "there is no god" but what of the person who does say there is a God, but acts like there isn't one. Okay. I see it now. The heart is a private matter and what comes from the tongue, another matter. There are people in this world who claim there is a God, however, the heart will eventually be played out in their actions. I guess that's the confusing part. Christianity is a mumble jumble mess (just like other religions), and out of that mess comes a people of diversity - people who know Christ, struggle with Christ, and are very real about their weakness. On the flip side, there comes a people who claim to be Christ followers, put Christ on a pedestal, speak about Christ, but don't take allowances for their weakness.

I guess at the end of the day, David is speaking on a very basic idea regardless of whether a person is a Jew, a Christian or a Muslim - if there is not God in the heart - they are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good. Anyone can seek and claim God, but their actions will inevitably find them out.


Friday, June 17, 2016

He's not here right now, leave a message

He was going through pain, he was going through loneliness, he was going through a withdrawal of a spiritual connection (my interpretation). He didn't feel that God was right there, and he was leaving behind a message - will you forget me forever? how long will you hide your face from me? how long must i wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? how long will my enemy triumph over me? 

There are a few of these messages in Psalms. David constantly calling and it going straight to voice messaging. He kept calling and kept getting that voice machine, wishing God would pick up on the other side - look on me and answer, or lord my god. give light to my eyes, or i will sleep in death; my enemy will say, "i have overcome him, and my foes will rejoice when i fall."

But David somehow knew that God wasn't ignoring him, He just wasn't available to pick up (again, creative licenses, here folks!) because David ends the message with - but i trust in your unfailing love; my hear rejoices in your salvation. i will sing to the lord for he has been good to me. Because of the history of their relationship, David knew God would come through for him. David at times didn't understand his emotions or the general situation that was happening around him or to him, but he knew without a doubt, God would inevitably show up and say or do something.

I get it, because I am finding myself in the same position, especially in these last few months. Of course there are other passages, where I am like, dude, what were you thinking?? Anyways food for thought. 

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Biblical David & the Facebook commenter

I was just reading over Psalms 12 and was completely struck with the imagery David painted with regard to talkers/flatters. Of course, the word "talker" can refer to a wide range, but David paints a very specific picture -

help lord, for the godly man ceases! for the faithful disappear from among the sons of men. They speak idly everyone with his neighbour; with flattering lips and a double heart they speak.

The rest of the chapter goes onto explore God's relation to these talkers and how oppression of the poor is a result of these talkers (...I think). I read this and was immediately struck with the parallel to the modern day Facebook commenter. Facebook comes to mind firstly, because that's where I see most of this, but elsewhere on social media sites, the culture of commenting has become a savage sport of sorts.

David specifically looked at people who were two faced - individuals who weren't honest, who were insincere, aka butt kissers/nosey neighbours. On the social media circles people are perhaps more honest, brutally honest about what they think, even to the point of cruelty. Whether they are vicious with their mouths or flatters, I find David's solution to these people also striking -

may the lord cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that speaks proud things, who have said, with our tongue we will prevail; our lips are our own; who is lord over us?

I wonder how David would fare in the internet world. What words would he pen for this group of people - people who have the ability to be anonymous but their words unkindness?

I believe he would respond the same way.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

following Him

This is another post about my contemplations of mainstream Christianity. This particular contemplation is a reflection on someone's conversion experience. In all my readings of people turning to Jesus this has got to be the most vague conversion story I've ever read/heard. Okay, maybe vague isn't the right word. Everything revolving around the coming to Jesus bit is based on stories of other people's experience with Christ, or literature of other people coming to Christ. No mention about the Bible or even a glimpse. Maybe I am just used to the Seventh-day Adventist conversion story - much of which is hardcore doctrine/bible study based.

Of course, all of this causes me to reflect on my own self. Firstly, I consider myself a Christian. Secondly, I consider myself a cultural Adventist. There's a lot of things that I observe because it's part of the culture I grew up in. Yet, at the same time, when I meet new people what am I wanting to represent firstly? Christianity or adventism? Anyways, my thoughts...

Friday, May 27, 2016


help, lord, for the godly man ceases! for the faithful disappear from among the sons of men. - ps 12:1

There are different scenarios as to why the godly person ceases. If this was from David's younger years, he moved a lot, and he moved around a lot with the same set of men/people in and out of his nation and surrounding nations. He probably didn't a chance to meet many godly people while on the run. I get the impression that his moving around played a significant factor in his ability to connect with other godly/faithful people.

I get this impression because this is also where I am at. Having moved to a new country and a new city, I definitely feel like crying out myself - where are the godly/faithful people? But I know the factors stacked against me - can't work, don't have a vehicle to get around, new church scenario where the specific youth/adult groups are a tightly knit group and English seems to be the minority language of the group (making it more difficult to connect), dissatisfaction with current denominational association, no friends/acquaintances to connect with on a regular basis, limited volunteering opportunities (due to immigration process), and I am sure the list could go on.

But as one close friend from home put it, I am growing. It's a painful growth, but I am going to play the thankful card, a lot. I am definitely being pushed out of my 5 years comfort zone and that's a good thing. 

Monday, May 23, 2016

You say, I say

Right now I am kind of fixated on Psalms 11. It opens with the most significant words of the chapter - In the LORD I put my trust, but than the speaker lashes out at the person s/he is talking to with - How can you say to my soul, "Flee as a bird to your mountain?" and follows up with more words of why they should flee.  This trust that has been boldly stated is contradicted and ends with - If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do? 

I like this chapter...nay, I keep gravitating to this chapter because regardless of what the other person has said, the speaker stubbornly follows up the scar tactic with The LORD is in His holy temple (the most righteous place to be), The LORD's throne is in heaven (His seat of power) His eyelids test the sons of men (He is active in the lives of men). The LORD tests the righteous (He seeks out those who trust Him). The chapter is short but the essential thought that becomes very evident is the speaker's refusal to believe that God's protection will be absent during this scary time. The speaker is saying, my God is STRONG/BIG and this is how STRONG/BIG He is, He is active in my life so, I will not run.

This is why I love this chapter. So many times throughout the week I keep hearing this message of run to the mountain from the Christian world and the secular world. Oh, I know that Jesus is coming, and I do want Him to come. This world is on its last legs. Yet, the only thing I want to convey is my God is big and this is how BIG He is! People are tired of hearing the world flee, because, honestly, after the doom we are promised peace.


Thursday, May 5, 2016

we, the wicked

the wicked in his pride persecutes the poor; let them be caught in the plots which they have devised. for the wicked boasts of his heart's desire; he blesses the greedy and renounces the lord. the wicked in his proud countenance does not seek god; god is in none of his thoughts. ps 10: 2-4

When I read these words I immediately think of big corporations taking advantage of third world countries - they come in, set up shop, avoid the taxes of the countries, hire locals way below minimum wage, have unsafe work environments and than make a rather significant profit on the product. That is who immediately comes to mind. But the buyer is also an instigator in this chain of events. S/he buys the product and supports the cycle, and it isn't simply the one time purchase of a product. We're constantly buying and constantly discarding the old product. We are also just as guilty.

David wrote this during a time when there were followers of God and than followers of other gods. Actions and thoughts appeared in that time to be of accord. Yet, in today's day and age, we have Christians, Buddhists, Muslims, Wiccans, Pagans, etc. There is a great mix out there of those who have God on the mind, but not in the actions, or no God on the mind, but God in their actions.

Of myself, in context to the first scenario, I am trying to be a minimalist. That means cutting on down buying stuff (clothes, gadgets, appliances, books, etc) and where possible recycling. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

there but not there

why do you stand afar off, o lord? why do you hide in times of trouble? ps 10:1

I remember a very distinct moment in grad school when I wondered about that very thought. It was late at night and I was laying in bed struggling in prayer about the feeling of an absent God. For years I had been struggling with whether I was in the presence of God. Was I clean enough to enter? It was a constant nagging thought. I can't remember what it was, whether it was a memory verse or a still small voice, but it hit me that it doesn't matter what I feel, God IS there. It wasn't a matter of Him, it was a matter of me.

That revelation was and is still a corner stone of my view of Him. It informs my prayer walk with Him but also adds to the story I share with others. We are our own worse enemies, and nothing is more encouraging to hear another Christ-follower's revelation of how they connect deeper with the Divine. It's also added another absolute to my Christian philosophy.  Regardless of what or where the world is going, He is there.


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

challenging the spirit

I have friends who always challenge me spiritually - sometimes directly or indirectly. Again, reading an article posted by a friend that's been mentally stimulating. Much of these articles I read are addressing different Christian thinkers with regards to their mental/spiritual approach to God/Jesus. Normally, I would be troubled by what I read, even upset. I can see my younger self reeling out of control at all these far-out-there perceptions. However, as I read these articles, I am often reminded of my own spiritual walk with Jesus. It is a constant reminder of how God has physically moved in my life and of our own on-going story. Each time I have these realizations, it's a swift kick in the patoosh to continue the dialogue, to keep on praying. 

Monday, April 18, 2016

know thy enemy

I've been reading praise about God, the struggles of the individual in their walk with God and just now I am reading a pretty good description of the villainous wicked person (chapter 10). The first thing that pops into my mind is, how does David even know how a wicked person acts. But I realize that he spent quite a bit of time travelling during his running years from Saul, and if I recall he spent a bit of time amongst the enemy during his hiding. But it's the fact that he gives extreme wickedness. It's acts like these that come out of years of slow degradation of a person's character. A person doesn't come murdering out of the womb - there would/should have been a few more wrong choices before that happened.

But David also does something different in this chapter - he creates dialogue between the wicked and God. The wicked does his action and than makes a comment about God, and God is silent, He doesn't respond.

I'll come back to this tomorrow. Food for thought!

Friday, April 15, 2016

the process of declaring

sing praises to the lord, who swells in zion! declare his deeds among the people. when he avenges blood, he remembers them he does not forget the cry of the humble. ps 9:12

The process of declaring God's deeds among the people has an intriguing affect on the declarer/listener. The actual process of speaking out loud affects what we think. Paul even said it best if you declare with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and you believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved (Romans 10:9). It's been proven psychologically the power of speaking out loud. If we say things aloud, our brain is more apt to believe it. Speaking aloud reinforces the belief process. I have learned what I have said aloud in the presence of God has affected how I view God. What I have also spoken aloud in God's presence has also affected what I believe of God. When I learned to speak His words of power back to Him, claiming what He has said will come to pass in my life, I choose to believe He would accomplish it before I can even see it done. He has accomplished the things I have claimed, but I realized more than anything, it was literally about the process of speaking aloud that was the greater treasure.

Today, I thank Him for His thoughts that are way above my own, and the knowledge He promises to give without bias will be given to help me with JavaScript today! Amen.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

the lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. and those who know your name will put their trust in you; for you, lord, have not forsaken those who seek you. ps 9:9, 10

When I see a verse like this,  I often think of the worse case scenario, something similar out of John Foxe's Book of Martyrs, or more recently, DCTalk's Book of Martyrs, which is a more updated version of the antiquity, and of course, more relevant to this generation. I grew up reading the DCTalk's version of the book, and the above verse really reminds me of these stories.

Refuge and oppression are the two words I am contemplating today especially in context to social media. The idea, representation and reality of oppression are everywhere on social media - everything from first world to third world perspectives. Along with the social media news stream, comes the plethora of comments. Everyone has an opinion, everyone has an experience to share. You have the fatalists, the determinists, and the status quo. For those who present refuge, sometimes there is an awareness that giving refuge is for the here and now, and not a long time solution for the future.

Anyways, lots of food for thought.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Passing judgement

Judgement is the keyword of the day, at least according to Psalms 9, but it doesn't stand alone. That's right, righteousness is tied in. I find the first verses particularly interesting. We have this gut reaction when we hear the word judgement but the speaker creates a different image:

i will praise you, o lord, with my whole heart; i will tell of all your marvelous works. i will be glad and rejoice in you; i will sing praise to your name, o most high. when my enemies turn back, they shall fall and perish in your presence. for you have maintained my right and my cause; you sat on the throne of judging in righteousness. ps 9:1-4

It seems that the ownership of righteousness has the characteristic ability of judgement. But looking at righteousness in context to judgement - it's righteousness as painted by David - righteousness defined as goodness, and the goodness defined as otherness. David calls God righteous because he firsthand knows the righteousness/goodness/otherness of God. When he comes into God's presence, his enemies fall away; he calls on God and God answers....again going back to this original idea of the constant calling. A habit has been created.

David speaks about the judgement regularly, and he speaks about it comfortably. Because David calls his own righteousness God's righteousness, he knows he will be judged according to the righteousness given him.

Lots of food for thought.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

I am thankful for consistency. I haven't been consistent with anything in a long time, so seeing how I am beginning to comprehend and apply that knowledge of JavaScript is very rewarding, and the feeling from the consistent effort is such a strange emotion. 

Monday, April 4, 2016

clinging to the something bigger

when i consider the your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars which you have ordained, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you visit him? ps 8:3,4

Again, I blame the newsfeed. You know, the one found on Facebook. I follow a few people who are world-state conscious and good for them, I think we should all be, but I know the temptation to mentally shut it down. Many people just cannot stand to see the world wide corruption that affects the structure of our society. However, it's a reminder to me how imperfect this world is. There are those striving and thirsting after justice, and I know that is good and right, but again, it's a reminder of the temperament of this world, and the temporariness of my life. 

As I read Psalms 8 this morning, and David looking to the glory of God in His Creation (aka the heavens, aka moon & stars), David went and looked above man's nature to the Nature of God (both meanings intended!). He saw the lowliness of man, and the enormousness of God.

It's a good reminder. Amen.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

I am going to continue this whole idea of ownership and its characteristics because another word of interest has popped up - sake. I've continued on reading chapter 7, and righteousness has yet again shown itself but I am beginning to see the word 'sake' and now I am going back and seeing where that word is in other chapters. I keep seeing for Your sake or for their sake in  context to calling on God, so I am curious as to the significance of the 'sake' word and how that blends in with the idea of ownership.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

weak of bones and troubled of soul

have mercy on my, o lord, for i am weak; o lord, heal me, for my bones are troubled. my soul is also greatly troubled; but you, o lord - how long? psalms 6:2

In the struggling throes of my walk with Christ, it is good to be reminded that I am weak - not just a reminder to me, but to also include all of humanity in that view. To remember that we walk through life struggling with some aspects of ourselves. To remember that I only see that outside veneer most of the times. It is good to be reminded that my bones trouble me and that my soul is also troubled. It is a good reminder to call on God, but also to know that I am still weak in the presence of God.

Because He is my righteousness, and He is my strength - but nonetheless, I need to remember I am weak of bone and spirit. Amen. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The owner of righteousness

I was reading through Psalms 5 this morning when I picked up a word parallel from chapter 4 - righteousness. But the word through these two chapters has several layers - ownership and its characteristics. As I was writing and reflecting on the use of the word, it was verse 4:1 that caused this realization of ownership:

hear me when i call, o god of my righteousness! you have relieved me in my distress; have mercy on me, and hear my prayer. 

God of my righteousness. By stating God is the originator of his (David) righteousness, this whole virtuous state of being begins to make sense throughout the rest of the two chapters. Righteousness on our own is a tough gig. Throughout Christianity's history, saints and authors have written about the context of righteousness and people in general fall into this habit of trying to do righteousness on their own strength and means. Continuing on,  4:5 leads into

offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the lord. 

Sacrifices of righteousness is a new one to me and deserves some contemplation. Is this a sacrifice to obtain righteousness? Are these sacrifices righteous themselves? This sacrifices of righteousness is unclear, but look at the definition of sacrifice: an act of giving up something valued for the sake of something else regarded as more important or worthy. After looking at the definition, the only thing that I can conclude is that there are sacrifices to obtain righteousness. And the first sacrifice I can think of is self. How else do we than trust in God? Slay the self. 

The idea of ownership and the need for God to be owner of it is continued on in verse 5: 8:

lead me, o lord, in your righteousness because of my enemies; make your way straight before my face.

The path to God's righteousness is not easy, a tough gig to follow if we do it on our own. David's plea to make the way straight also continues another theme of David's - this constant calling on God. David's perpetual invoking of God's character is a feedback loop. David asks for God's righteousness, and thanks God for His strength and clarity to walk in righteousness. But what is keep to this feedback loop? The constant calling. Verse 5:12 ends with:

for you, o lord, will bless the righteous; with favor you will surround him as with a shield.

David knows the beginning and end of his righteousness, and trusts in the Originator of it, but David is also aware of the weakness of himself, and thus, constantly calls.

Friday, March 25, 2016

The result of constant calling

So I've been going back to Psalms for my morning devotions. I feel that my state of being is proportionally represented by David's voice at this moment in my life. Much groaning, much uncertainty, but much assurance that calling on God will lead to many good things. There are these particular verses that grabbed my attention this morning

there are many who say, who will show us any good? lord, lift up the light of your countenance upon us. you have put gladness in my heart, more than in the season that their grain and wine increased. i will both lie down in peace, and sleep; for you alone, o lord, make me dwell in safety. ps 4:6-8

David always starts his "chapters" with a calling out to God, but by the end of his lament/complaint/groan/concern, he assures his audience that God has indeed heard and answered.

The part that strikes me particularly are the words there are many who say, who will show us any good? The one thing about social media (facebook, twitter, instagram, etc) is the constant posting of people showing the "ungood" that is present in the world, and all that I can translate these posts and these posters as saying is, "who will show us any good"? 

Is it the human nature within us that only focuses on the ungood around us? It kind of now makes sense how David always goes about his conversations - he calls out, he mentions the ungood, but he ends with the moving strength of God in his life, regardless of the shadows of death around him.

Positive reinforcement! Right. Have to do this in my own life now. Off to learn JavaScript!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

keeping sane

I am struggling with just about with every aspect of my life right now. I don't like this feeling of purposelessness. But I know that really, I am being pushed out of my comfort zone. Even though I've done a lot in the 5 years of my professional life, I've gotten into some grooves. It's now getting back into the mentality of embracing the new, the adventure, the undiscovered. So today, I am going to set down the first stepping stones to a new path - read a poem, write a book's paragraph, listen to music, absorb some sun, walk to the library, learn some javascript.

i will declare the decree: the lord has said to me, you are my son, today i have begotten you. ask of me and i will give you the nations for your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for your posessions - psalms 1:7-8

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

It's a grand ol' adventure, right?

Pictures are deceiving. Pictures can be interrupted any way.  The other day, I updated my fb profile and cover pics - I do it because, hey, I like some creative flexibility in my personal branding - and I had many people say that I looked quite happy. Happy more than the normal? I guess....maybe? But the whole happiness factor, I don't buy it. Happiness is a choice, a habit if you will, at least for me. I am more concerned with the fact if I am content, and that comes from being productive.

Moving down here has been a significant mind process. I'm not working, and that's been a mental jigsaw puzzle. I do have quite a bit of free time, and I do have some personal projects that I prepped for this time, and I do get at them, but....I realize I need a significant challenge to propel me forward. So I am learning JavaScript right now. I have no idea where it will get me, but the goal is to get a good working knowledge of the coding.

Each day, I have to tell myself, this is outside the norm, you're really outside your comfort zone - you are in a grand ol' adventure. I am in a time and place for memory making, because I know the only time I will truly enjoy it is when I look back and realize the treasure I already had in front of me and not up the road.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

fear and the individual voice

I moved to the US a few weeks ago. Everyday life here is pretty status quo or at least has the appearance of being so. Just about everyone back home is highly concerned about where politics is going down here, especially in context to the presidential candidates. The two that stand out really represent the spectrum, and one side of the spectrum is freaking people out.

Now, I don't mean to be indifferent, but nothing is new under the sun. There will always be level of good and bad government, and "good" and "bad" can be defined anyway. If anything we are blessed to know what the populace is thinking in general due to technologies ability to allow the individual voice to be heard.

But I am reminded of this entire situation as I was reading Luke 13: 1-5 this morning. Some people were talking to Jesus about the political situation that was going on between the Jews and the Romans, and Jesus at the end underlined the main point of the situation, everyone dies, everyone is a sinner, no person is greater or lesser due to their dying circumstances. I don't want to be indifferent, but at the end of the day, what really counts?

Monday, March 14, 2016

Practice makes perfect

I am here in this space writing again, because I need practice with writing in general. I am writing because it'll show that I've accomplished something this morning. My writing output use to be significant. I journaled most of my thoughts via paper and pen, but I haven't put any serious thought into the process for quite sometime. Practice makes perfect, right?

And speaking of practice, I am needing to practice many things other than writing.  I need to practice more of my art, more of contemplation, more of mindfulness. I am contemplating a career change....going from information management into the computer coding, and at the moment, needing to practice javascripting. I haven't done any serious coding for 5 years and I am a bit rusty. It's a little intimidating, but at the same time, I am curious as to know if I can do this or not. Can I pull it off?

Another thing I need to practice is mindful prayer. I haven't been mindful/purposeful about many a good thing in a long time.

Friday, February 26, 2016

What's really important

At its root, Christianity is about two things - Love God with all your heart, and love your neighbor as yourself. Loving God with all the heart is a matter of daily refreshing the love supply so we can love our neighbors more accurately. As in the words of Jesus, on these two commands hangs the law and the prophets (Matthew 22:40). Now, the process of following those two commands is where matters get complicated. It's complicated because, at heart, ourselves are messy beings. At our root, we're forgetful, we're selfish and most times we don't like to admit either faults. Humility is a key factor in laying aside our messiness, and humility is a habit that has to be learned like all other good habits. So, in observing the two commands, we need to be mindful in acting them out.

I speak about this initially, because I have to constantly remind myself, that Christianity, at the heart of it, is a relationship with Christ. It's about being Christ-like. It's about reflecting His Character in our lives. We're bottom dwellers trying to shine out of our little stone lantern hearts, the Sun of the universe, and sometimes life, ourselves, the world around us, tries to get in the way of that action.

As I've plugged more so into social media (due to personal projects...writing and drawing pages), I am coming across so many variations of what Christianity is within and without the circle. But the information that causes me to question my Christ-likeness is when close friends post articles that cause me to pause (articles in question, here and here). Much of what I am reading is based on the corporate worship experience or doctrine. My disagreement with everything I've come across online so far has been based on my own personal Christ-walk.

I realize everyone is on their own Christ-journey, and my part in the matter is about listening to their story and if the opportunity arises, I will share my own. But I am realizing I've been listening to a lot of people's stories, and it's been a while since I've taken account of my roots and where I am going personally with Him. It's good to get back to the basics, what's really important.

Journeys are meant to change you

I reflect on my prayer journey today in light of having read What is Prayer Suppose to Accomplish. It identifies and reviews the current and past corporate Christian view of prayer.

I grew up having a regular devotional life, but struggled with my prayer journey. Prayer was methodical. I had been taught to pray a certain way, and I struggled with how disconnected my prayers were. Around my early 30s these two switched. I learned how to pray, learned what prayer meant, and saw enough evidence in my own life that I could not walk away from prayer, even if I could try.

I had experienced an exceptionally profound prayer moment that took a year and a half to happen. That prayer was more than an answer to a question I had been asking of God, but it was also a major revelation as to my communication lines to Him. After that time, I've had smaller but just as profound prayer moments; moments rooted in the reality of my life, prayer that was practical. Often it was and is a mashup of purposeful prayer and sometimes a heart's cry for help. 

A few things I learned about prayer are: it is a line of communication, it is intimate, and it involves a Higher Someone. Prayer isn't just based on my own voice and thoughts, but prayer is also based on His Voice and His Thoughts. I think people struggle with prayer in the Christian world because they aren't shown the voice of God through the Word. I learned the importance of finding God/Jesus' voice in scripture and allow these Thoughts to guide and direct my prayer time.
Sometimes the prayer was in the form of journaling, or in the form of a out-loud conversation, but the prayer made me stop and reflect on Someone else other than myself. As I look at mainstream society, I also recognize that prayer is a form of meditation. It causes an individual to be meta-cognitive of their thought processes. Prayer is a way of stepping out of one's own thought process' and reflecting inward and outward. Having a purpose to that reflection (in my case, God/Jesus), makes prayer not only meditative, but also relational.

I struggled with praying, but I knew there was more to it than what I was experience, and I constantly sought a better way of understanding prayer. Much of this seeking comes from Luke 11:9 - So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. One thing I know of in this walk with Christ, if there is constant seeking and a willingness to see where He leads, answers will be had, but mostly it's about the journey.