Wednesday, January 23, 2008

God is in the Rain

"God is in the Rain"

Such a nice quote from one of my favorite movies :) Although I think its a simple and easily perverted statement, every time it rains the quote comes to mind and a rush of euphoria fills my entire being. Anyone who knows me knows how much I absolutely love the rain. To be out in it, clothed warmly or not, is a great joy that I enjoy only rarely (horrible Southern California weather). Tonight as I was walking to the caf I couldn't help but wear a huge smile as I walked from my apartment, looking up and seeing the beautiful drops of water falling suddenly out of the black sky and landing unselectively both on me and around me. The sweet smell of fresh, cold water rose through my nostrils and excited my olfactory nerves which in turn caused my heart to race and blood to pump such that I simply stood in appreciation of the miracle of God's wondrous creation. 
His gift of rain immediately brings to mind His gift of love. He pours out His love from Heaven, unrestrained in the amount He gives to His children, and washes them pure by it. Like rain, it cleanses, refreshes, and propagates growth of beautiful things :) I cannot fully explain the reason I enjoy the rain so thoroughly, neither can I explain more about why I have the same reaction when I think on His love. There are, of course, the obvious reasons due to the consequent benefits of His love, but I believe one must personally experience His love to know the joy I am speaking of. For this very reason I get so excited when it rains. I am somehow wrapped in a tangible example of how His grace and love plays out in my life. Rain tingles all my senses and because of its inseparable tie to the idea of grace, this reaction somehow reciprocates when I think of grace :)
Thank you, God, for the rain!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Praise the Lord

So I've had quite the time over break and over the first few weeks of school. The Lord has done so much in my mind and heart and I 
am confident that this is only the beginning of the glory He's going display. Do you ever just get so satisfied in that you have a marvelous Creator who loves you and pushes you into holiness, righteousness, purity, and love? Sometimes the fire hurts but when we come out more refined than before the joy far outweighs any pain it took to get there :) Praise God.

Aaron making way for Titanic to sink. Although we sunk a few, I guess Titanic was unsinkable that day. But we'll be back, won't we?

Adam and Aaron


    By far the best friend anyone could ever ask for :)

Saturday, January 19, 2008

We Exult in Our Tribulations

I recently read an amazing article by John Piper on exulting in tribulations and hardships. It has everything to do with what I've been learning lately and I thought it was really cool to stumble upon it. Please read it if you have time and I hope it blesses you as it has me:

We Exult in Our Tribulations

Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Passing of Times

Confession: I haven't faithfully "blogged" in what has probably been over a year and I feel that I've, for the most part, forgotten how to do this. Putting one's thoughts together in a concise, understandable, clear, and somewhat artistic way is quite challenging for me and even at my most practiced moment I think much was left to be desired. That said, I think I'm going to start blogging regularly again: to write my thoughts so that they don't forever reside in my mind and cause me to go crazy but also to confess my faults and tell of my hopes, but using the mask of generalities and allusions as to not become far too personal on the internet ;)

Life, especially the past few months, has been very unique. So unique, in fact, I truly cannot think of a word or collection of words that can describe it accurately. But I will continue in this supposing I can. I've learned so much about myself and other people that I almost have wondered how I've been at all able to function socially up to this point. Being truly honest its been a revelation of sorts in how I view God, others, and myself.

25 minutes has passed of me thinking what I could type here that would spur those reading onto holiness and perhaps invoke a smile in meditation of what God has done for us, but the original subject I planned to write about no longer needs exposition. Instead, thank You Father for the grace you have shown me this last year but even more this past month. Oh God, I have seen your faithfulness in my life! No matter what I've gotten myself into or what I've done, my God has been so incredibly faithful to me! Thinking about the past few years, looking at old Xanga posts, and seeing the grace of God cover my life through each and every circumstance makes me feel and know a familiarity with Him that I haven't known again until recently. This past semester was probably one of the hardest both academically and spiritually, but I did have one constant in my life without even realizing it. I so often feel that I must bear the burden on sanctification, holiness, perfection, judgement, wisdom, discernment, truth, etc etc on my back ALONE and become so incredibly overwhelmed that the weight of it causes me to cry out in despair. And if I have been learning one lesson recently it is the lesson of grace.

Rightly, the requirement of perfection (and everything that comes along with it) would be mine alone to bear. If I did not meet it (which I clearly haven't), God would have (and does have!) every right to abandon me and give me to the powers of Hell to be consumed in judgement. This is all my rightful lot. And yet, at my worst point: my most sinful, my most depressing, my most hopeless point, He has revived, renewed, and restored me! Oh, grace upon grace that my heart cannot contain! What a fire He conjures when allowing His children to see how good He is and to taste of the LOVE He pursues His children with, to bear with a sinner like me! Oh that worship would flow from my heart and hands in response to this passion of the Almighty. Oh that my life would line up with His precious Word. And I know that even when it doesn't, the very thing I relied on starting this journey is the thing that carries me through to the end. Namely, love and grace. And it is this grace that causes me to repent when my life "doesn't match up".

One last consequence of this though that the Lord clearly convicted me about was how this grace I've been shown and have experienced relates to how I treat those around me. I know something horrible to be true about myself: I select people who I like and dislike based completely on arbitrary reasonings of my own which brings a whole set of problems but somehow I've been able to take it a step further. If those around me do not behave by the social rules or expectations already accepted or set up, I can apathetically remove said person and move on with my life as if nothing ever happened, no matter how much time was invested in them (or vise versa). This is something I have known for a while but has never quite bugged me until I realized how this behavior cannot be reconciled with the knowledge of the grace of God. I am to empathize, to love, to plead for, etc. my brothers and sisters both when they are walking in righteousness or stumbling in sin. To act as a Christ to them when they need Christ most, that is love! I don't speak of one person in particular, I speak of all that I've somehow removed from my life because their way of life made me uncomfortable. I am not trying to justify sin but merely modify how I react when confronted with it. I must remember the fact that had God not shown me His love and grace, bringing me to my knees in humbleness at this astounding fact that He would pour His own blood to cover me in my rebellion and disgust, I would not be walking with Him today. In short, it is the kindness of God that leads a man to repentance. And it was His kindness that led me.

"As the mountains surround Jerusalem,
so the Lord surrounds his people,
from this time forth and forevermore."

God, may I bring you glory in my life. Thank You for the grace I will never be able to fully comprehend, and I plead for that grace to be displayed in my life through how I live and how I treat and love others. Thank you for how hard certain things have been, thorns in my side to which you have replied, "My grace is sufficient for you", instead of taking it away completely. For this, God, You are gracious. Give me the faith to trust in You at all times even when the "competing voices" are screaming otherwise. How can any who meet you not come away with awe? To steal Ravenhill (I believe), a man must be mad to say he's met the living God and yet come away unscathed! Your faithfulness has sustained me through more than I thought possible. I love You Lord, help me love You.

"O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,
beholding your power and glory.
Because your steadfast love is better than life,
my lips will praise you.
So I will bless you as long as I live;
in your name I will life up my hands.

My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food,
and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips,
when I remember you upon my bed,
and meditate on you in the watches of the night;
for you have been my help,
and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.
My soul clings to you;
your right hand upholds me."