Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Is there something wrong with what I did?

July 31, 2012  **Tuesday. Starbucks. 9:17a**

Romans 14:22-23

You may believe there's nothing wrong with what you are doing, but keep it between yourself and God.  Blessed are those who don't feel guilty for doing something they have decided is right.  But if you have doubts about whether or not you should eat something, you are sinning if you go ahead and do it.  For you are not following your convictions.  If you do anything you believe is not right, you are sinning.

The context for Romans 14 is based on the fact that men are responsible creatures.  The human race are the only organisms who have the ability to think or have emotions.  Thus people are ultimately personally responsible for their actions.  First and Foremost, we are responsible and accountable to God, our creator.  God has given us the beautiful and wondrous gift of choice.  Freedom of individuality.  We chose and make decisions every moment of the day, sometimes multiple ones in a second!  There are so many people who, when asked why they don't go to church or believe in God, they respond with: "I feel judged and condemned by the very people who are supposed to be Christians--they are not supposed to judge me".  I believe that there is a difference between the "church" judging you and you "feeling" guilty by your own actions.  What you do is ultimately between you and God.  Personal Responsibility.

I know that in my life I make decisions constantly that affect my relationships with others.  For example, today I'm dealing with an incident that happened during my work-study at my school library.  I feel that I can justify my actions because the person I had an altercation with technically {based on what I think--it is not confirmed that this person is a student} should not have been there.  I view myself and my stance on the situation as being the correct one and I fought hard to prove this to this particular person.  In the end, I spitefully asked if my apology was accepted and if I was forgiven.  I manipulated that forgiveness because I knew as a "Christian person" they "have to" forgive me.  I know in my heart that he only said the words and true forgiveness was not given.  My heart has been hardened because I still feel that I am right but I am extremely sorry that I manipulated it.  I know I am wrong.  Personal responsibility looks like this:

Lord, forgive me for being rude yesterday.  I really am sorry that the situation had escalated to that point and there should have been ways that I could have avoided it all together.  I was not being respectful, I was angry, irritated, frustrated, and very rude.  I wanted to punch this person in the face!!!  Forgive me for manipulating the accepted apology, for forcing forgiveness.  I hope and pray that you soften my heart and help me to be NICE to this person.

Is there something wrong with what I did?  On the surface, maybe not but what was my heart condition?


Monday, July 30, 2012

Your Actions, my dear son....

July 30, 2012  **Monday. NHCC Library.  11:19a**

Proverbs 20:11

Even children are known by the way they act, whether their conduct is pure, and whether it is right.

The book of Proverbs is very interesting to me.  I love that Solomon, the wisest guy who ever lived, wrote these very smart and God inspired stuff.  The thing that trips me out, about this book is that {to me} it's like a bunch of random things that is placed in an unconventional way--I mean like it doesn't read like a normal book does.  The verse before vs 11 says, "Differeing weights and differeing measures--the Lord detests them both" and then vs 13 reads, "Do not love sleep or you will grow poor; stay awake and you will have food to spare".  (the student bible. NIV)  I know {since I am a bible college student} that I will learn the very reasons why this book is the way it is. As I searched a few commentaries, in one of them, The Old Testament Library reference book, it was listed in a way that was not in a specific numerial order.  Lol, sorry about my mini wierd rant.  Anyways...so about this verse:  I've been babysitting for a really good friend of mine and this verse reminded me of the little man, Gabe {the cutest 4 year old I know}.  He is pure in heart and very obedient to his father.  Sometimes, there are times when he gets wild and riley but because he has an amazing father, Gabe is truly a good boy.  The NIV Application Commentary explains that in this verse, the theme is on how to recognize a person's character.  It states that, "The 'child' is most likely the young man who does not fare well in this book.  While some take the proverb to mean that a person's character is revealed in early childhood or adolescence and that this makes a case for careful teaching (true as each thought may be), the point is that whether old or young, actions reveal character to those who have learned the wise art of discernment."  A person's true character always comes out in time.

Sometimes, I can act like a child.  In those times, they say my true colors are showing.  As I walk in my journey of life, I want people to see the true me.  I want character that shows people that although there may be tough and good times, it reveals that I trust a God that is good.  I don't want an ugly character that can tarnish or cause others to fall from God.

Lord, let my true colors shine.  Help me to have preserverance to keep trusting you, strength to push forward--one step at time, and encourage me to keep on keeping on.

Your actions, my dear son, is showing...are they positive or negative colors?


Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sweet Words

July 29, 2012   **Sunday. Starbucks. 8:27a**

Psalms 119:103

How sweet your words taste to me; they are sweeter than honey.

I love desserts or any thing sweet.  I love to try new things, I love the way cupcakes look.  I love the fact that desserts are so super cool looking and I especially love how they taste.  But I can only have a little bit of it because they can be so fattening!  My old boss used to say, {about desserts or anything that could add fat to our bodies} "it's fat free, you don't pay for the fat, it is already included."  God's words are so good and fattening that it is fat free, I don't pay for it in monetary terms or have to worry about getting physically fat!

God's words are super sweet.  There have been times in my life where either I've read something sweet in the bible or have had a super sweet prayer meeting that I crave ice cream or cake.  Or both.  I love that He literally puts sweetness into my mouth as I dive deeper in love with Him.

Lord, you are so amazing and so wonderful that you are super sweet!  ;p

Your sweet words are so wonderful to my lips, give me more!!!


Saturday, July 28, 2012

Grafted In

July 28, 2012   **Saturday. Starbucks. 9:24am**

Romans 11:17-18

But some of these branches from Abraham's tree -- some of the people of Israel -- have been broken off.  And you Gentiles, who were branches from a wild olive tree, have been grafted in.  So now you also receive the blessing God has promised Abraham and his children, sharing in the rich nourishment from the root of God's special olive tree.  But you must not brag about being grafted in to replace the branches that were broken off.  You are just a branch, not the root.

Wikipedia states that "grafting" is, "horticultural technique whereby tissues from one plant are inserted into those of another so that the two sets of vascular tissues may join together." 

The above picture is an example of a grafted "Circus Tree" by Axel Erlandson.

There are many reasons why grafting is important such as: Precocity (bypassing the juvenile stage of fruit growth), Dwarfing (producing smaller trees for safety and more growth per area of land), Ease of Propagation (cost-efficient ways of raising certain plants), Hybrids (creation of mixed varieties of plants), Hardiness and Sturdiness (to build strength in certain plants), Repair (repairing unhealthy plants or trees), Maintaining Consistencies (keeping the same type of fruit, i.e. apples) and Curiosities (see above picture and link).  Paul states that in these verses that the Gentiles were grafted into the kingdom of God because His chosen people, the Jews, refused to obey, follow, or rejected God as their God.  We, the Gentiles, are fortunate enough that we have become grafted in, and looking at the list of the reasoning for "grafting" many of them do apply to us!  It's awesome that being grafted in means that we are "fused" together with God, He who is truly unfathomable, so wonderful, so amazing that I can not even describe to it's full capacity what it actually means!

These verses in Romans are not only words that I want to apply in my life.  I want to be able to truly grasp the meaning...What does it really look like to be grafted in?  I know that I am truly grateful that God gave this option to the Gentiles.  Back in the Old Testament days, only the Jews were considered His people.  He despised all others but it was the Jewish people He held as His own.

Lord, Thank you for allowing me to be grafted into you.  I am but a weak, ugly, juvenile plant of a person that you decided to choose me, to love me, and saw something great in me.  Help me to really know and live like a plant, a person truly grafted into you.  As you are the vine and I am just merely a branch, I know that with you, you produce the fruits.  Please don't let me leave you, for without you, I AM NOTHING.

Being grafted in is a big deal.  God, you are a big deal.


You are Good

You are Good.  Kari Jobe (Gateway Worship)

your kindness leads me to repentance
your goodness draws me to your side
your mercy calls me to be like you
your favor is my delight
everyday I've awaken my praise and poured out a song from 
my heart

You are good, you are good
you are good and your mercy is forever
You are good, you are good
you are good, and your mercy is forever

your kindness leads me to repentance
your goodness draws me to your side
your mercy calls me to be like you
your favor is my delight
everyday I've awaken my praise and poured out a song from 
my heart

Friday, July 27, 2012

Some Good in You

July 27, 2012    **Friday. Starbucks. 7:54a**

2 Chronicles 19:1-3

When King Jehoshaphat of Judah arrived safely home in Jerusalem, Jehu son of Hanani the seer went out to meet him.  "Why should you help the wicked and love those who hate the Lord?"  he asked the king.  "Because of what you have done, the Lord is very angry with you.  Even so, there is some good in you, for you have removed the Asherah poles throughout the land, and you have committed yourself to seeking God."

Jehoshaphat was the Kingdom of Judah's fourth king, a descendant of David.  He was known to be one of the most successful and prosperous ruler because of his commitment to God.  He removed Asherah poles and demanded that his people also follow God.  His only fault or failure is in his choice of alliances.  He kept sketchy friends.  In these verses, his alliance was the king of Israel, King Ahab, who the led both their armies into war where he met his death.

Since the bible is a book of stories, this story teaches me a valuable lesson about wisely choosing your friends.  King Jehoshaphat did really well during his kingship but he chose the wrong set of friends.  In life we all have our various sets of friends that we associate with.  During my life, I know I've chosen the wrong ones and have kept one really good friend.  Those wrong friends and the choices I've made during our friendships have caused me to face consequences where at times they may have been minor but more often than not, they were life altering.  

Lord, Thank you for your book of stories that is alive and true.  Help me to recognize principles, truth, and correction in the words that are written.  There are so many times where I don't know what to do and I know that your instructions for living life are breathed into the very ink of this wonderful masterpiece.  I love you for giving us the Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth, our holy BIBLE.  Amen.

Just like King Jehoshaphat, there may be times where God is mad at us, but since there is some good in us, we are able to know, have, and experience God's GRACE.


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Not just in the Early Years

July 26, 2012   **Thursday. Starbucks. 10:05am**

2 Chronicles 17:3-6

The Lord was with Jehoshaphat because he followed the example of his father's early years and did not worship the images of Baal.  He sought his father's God and obeyed his commands instead of following the evil practices of the kingdom of Israel.  So the Lord established Jehoshaphat's control over the kingdom of Judah.  All the people of Judah brought gifts to Jehoshaphat, so he became very wealthy and highly esteemed.  He was deeply committed to the ways of the Lord.  He removed the pagan shrines and Asherah Poles from Judah.

Jehoshaphat was David's great-great-great grandson.  King Asa was his father. Asa followed God in the early years, but as success reached him, he became self-reliant and fell away from God. At the final years of his reign, it was prophesied that he was going to be continually in war with other and eventually died with a foot disease.  Jehoshaphat must have saw his father's history and learned from his mistakes.  This lesson made him a very successful and wise king.  

We should all learn these lessons, to follow God not just in the early years but throughout our lives.  I want to seek God and obey all the commands that He tells me.  I hope and pray that I will do just this, not just in the early years, the honeymoon stages of any relationship, but throughout all of my life.

Lord, please keep me aware of those early years.  The early years of goodness, the romance, the love, the salvation days when I first decided to follow you, the good ole days of yonder....When I forget or things get me distracted, I will give you permission NOW to do whatever it takes for me to look to you once again, but I PRAY that I will ALWAYS follow you.  Please teach and help me to not want or to become like the Israelite wanderers who circled the mountain so many times for 40 years!

I want to follow you, not just in the Early Years.


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Safe Travels

July 25, 2012                     **Wednesday. Starbucks. 7:51am**

 2 Chronicles 15:5-7

"During those dark times it was not safe to travel. Problems trouble the people of every land. Nation fought against nation, and city against city, for God was troubling them with every kind of problem. But for you, be strong and courageous, for your work will be rewarded."

 In these bible days, The king was King Asa who was Abijah's son, grandson of Rehoboam, great grandson of Solomon, and great great grandson of David. This above conversation was between King Asa and Azariah, son of Oded-a prophet of God. The prophet was telling King Aza stay with God. After Azariah informed the king of God's good news, he removed idols and repaired the altar of Lord. He became so passionate about not straying from God that he had his people killed if they did not seek the Lord and it didn't even matter if you were a man or woman, young or old. When his grandma had made an Asherah pole, he removed her from her royal position! The thing is, is that as I read on about King Asa, at this time of his kingship, he did follow God but something happened that he fell away from the ways of the Lord. In verses 7-9, Hanani, the seer, came up to the king and tried to refocus his eyes back to God. Verse 9 says, "For the eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to stregthen those whose heart are fully committed to him. What a fool you have been! From now on you will be at war." Wow, harsh.

 Throughout my "spiritual schooling" -- Horizon School of Evangelism and New Hope Christian College, when we approach the end of term or semester, we are advised to "Finish Well". I love that but what about "Keep Your Hand to the Plow"? Sure there will be ups and downs in life but sometimes when I do finish well I start to boast at veer off track -- into myself. I start to pat myself on the back, tend to look back at my accomplishment, and sometimes, I've taken my hands off the plow. These are the moments that I pray about -- the moments where I want to "learn how to jump after being on my knees". I think about the Bruce Lee moves as he's in a squat and all of a sudden he jumps, using his body strength to lift himself off into a standing position. I want to become "strong and courageous" and "keep on going" without loosing sight of what is truly important. I want to learn this Bruce Lee move. To remember that my Lord God is EVERYTHING.

Lord, Help me to keep my eyes on you, not to stray or become so distracted that it takes every effort to go back on the right track. Thank you for keeping your eyes on me. Teach me to have a FULLY COMMITTED heart to you.

 In these days, sometimes it is not safe to travel -- the things we see, hear, touch, and do can affect our lives. As long as I walk alongside of Jesus, he keeps my travels safe.


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Abandoning Ship

July 24, 2012  **Tuesday. Starbucks. 8:42am**

2 Chronicles 12:1

But when Rehoboam was firmly established and strong, he abandoned the Law of the Lord, and all Israel followed him in this sin.

Rehoboam was the king of the Kingdom of Judah.  Chapter 11 discusses all this road to kingship and his triumphs of the cities he took over.  Being the son of Solomon, grandson of David, he had a linage that followed God.  He was 41 years old when he became king and ruled for 17 more.  In verse 17, the bible says that, "he was an evil king, for he did not seek the Lord with all his heart."  For 58 years, King Rehoboam must have had the knowledge of how good God was, because he was successful in all he did, but I believe that because he did not follow God "with ALL his heart" evil was allowed in to his life.  Being in David's lineage and having the knowledge of God did not protect Rehoboam from evil.  Somewhere along the line of his life, he allowed things to slowly creep in and harden his heart against God.

I inherited my Christianity.  I was born into a Christian home.  Growing up, I attended church services regularly and was heavily involved in Sunday school.  This did not mean I was a Christ follower.  I was a fan of Church.  The difference between being a fan versus being a follower is that as a fan, a person watches from afar, where as a follower is right there in the mix of things, lives, breathes, and walks in step with what he or she is following.  A follower truly engulfs themselves in their passion, sometimes they begin to look like what or who they are following.  A follower of Christ truly begins to look like Christ in character, action, speech, and the way they treat others.  I hope to apply this fact to my life, for I want to follow Christ-whatever that looks like-I don't want to just be a fan and "like" Him.

Lord, thank you for being God.  You truly are amazing and awesome.  Help me to follow you, to be in step with you, to allow and give you permission to change, transform my life to imitate you.  I want others to see you, not me.  Show me my selfish ways, my ungrateful heart, my ugly side and mold my life to how you want it to be.  Thank you for the truth that NOTHING can separate you from us.  I can only do life with you by my side and I want to follow you not only be your fan.

Abandoning ship means to drown among with the fishes, but God walked on water and that's where I want to be...doing the impossible right along with Him.


Monday, July 23, 2012

Organized Life

July 23, 2012   **Monday. Starbucks. 9:50am**

2 Chronicles 8:14-16

In assigning the priests to their duties, Solomon followed the regulations of his father, David.  He also assigned the Levites to lead the people in praise and to assist the priests in their daily duties.  And he assigned the gatekeepers to their gates by their divisions, following the commands of David, the man of God.  Solomon did not deviate in any way from David's commands concerning the priests and Levites and the treasuries.  So Solomon made sure that all the work related to building the Temple of the Lord was carried out, from the day its foundation was laid to the day of its completion.

Solomon was a wise man.  His decisions to "not deviate in any way" in regards to the work of God's Temple is extremely important.  I don't know the details of what this enormous task involved because of how grand the temple was, but I do know that it must have been a very daunting task!  Imagine being in charge of the Temple of the Lord!  Just reading how much detail, how many rooms, the complexity of this building!  Not only is it just an amazingly piece of architecture, but God's Holy place!  The responsibility of managing this place is HUGE!!  Solomon must of been a really good manager.  I can imagine being a Levite working for this guy.  He was the original CEO, the OG Chief Executive Officer running God's first business.  He must have been tough but what a great leader he must of been!

I would love to be this kind of leader, who "goes by the book" and does not cut corners.  When I was following the path of a business degree, I've always wanted to be a CEO, but it never really mattered what company I worked for, just as long as I got my own parking space.  That was my goal in my career: to have my own personal parking space.  It's amazing to where God has brought me through in this journey for my own parking space.  I know that God has allowed me to become a successful CEO at Permanent Vacation and although my parking space may not be personalized it is personal, even though it changes spots on a daily basis.  I want to apply Solomon's character of being a good leader by not deviating from God's law and not to take corners.

Lord, You are good.  You are an amazing God.  Thank you for being God.  Help me to know your ways, to not deviate from your path, to go by the book, and not cut corners.  I know that as I organize and straighten my life, you will bring the success that you want for me, the fruits of my labor will not go in vain.  I know that with you by my side, with you as my teacher, my divine mentor; as you are strict and discipline me, I know that I will succeed in all that I do.

Organizing my life means to follow His rules, His laws, and His path.


Sunday, July 22, 2012

"Wait for Me" Rebecca St. James

Darling, did you know that I
I dream about you
Waiting for the look in your eyes
When we meet for the first time
And darling, did you know that I
I pray about you
Praying that you will hold on
And keep your loving eyes only for me

'Cause I am waiting for, praying for you darling
Wait for me too
Wait for me as I wait for you
'Cause I am waiting for, praying for you darling
Wait for me too
Wait for me as I wait for you
Darling wait

Darling did you know
I dream about life together
Knowing it will be forever
I'll be yours and you'll be mine
And darling when I say
" Til death do us part"
I mean it with all of my heart
Now and always faithful to you

Now I know you may have made mistakes
But there's forgiveness, and a second chance
So wait for me, darling wait for me
Wait for me
Darling wait for me


Be faithful

July 22, 2012   **Sunday. 8:03am. Starbucks**

2 Chronicles 7:17-18

As for you, if you faithfully follow me as David your father did, obeying all my commands, decrees, and regulations, then I will establish the throne of your dynasty.  For I made this covenant with your father, David, when I said, 'One of your descendants will always rule over Israel.'

Solomon had just finished building the Temple of the Lord and the royal palace.  During these verses, the Lord had appeared to Solomon and He told him that he was listening to him, that He, the Lord has heard his prayers.  Verse 14 is somewhat quite often used "Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land."  This is the main theme off the bible, to be reconciled with the Lord. Because of the original sin of Adam and Eve, we have become forever separated from Him.  The scripture states, "As for you, if you faithfully follow me..."  In this verse, it specifically asks for FAITHFULNESS.  Not what you can do, what you can say, or how awesome you are; but the Lord just wants us to be faithful to Him.

Being faithful can sometimes be a daunting task.  There are so many things, people, and ourselves that take away that faithfulness.  We cheat God so many times with so many idols in our lives.  In the bible days, they had the idols made of wood, gold, and statutes of different kinds of animals or gods.  These days we have other idols: tech-y ones-made of apple, toys that distract our minds, and people we love who takes our heart away from Him.  I am very guilty of these idols.  As I sit here, I have my iPad2, my laptop, my Starbucks mug, my Skullcandy in my ears, and I'm thinking about a relationship that has captured my heart.  Sometimes I think that back in those bible days, they had it easy...they worked HARD but they had less of the distractions as we have now.  But then again, I always think that the grass is always greener on the other side.  This is one thing that I consistently have to apply in my life: to be faithful.

Lord, help me to be faithful to only you.  This life distracts me so much that it's hard to even pay attention and keep my eyes on you.  You are the one that matters, not the tech-y stuff, not the toys, or even the relationships of the heart.  You are my everything, please help me to desire you, to want you, and to take the time off to "Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world." Psalms 46:10.

I will be faithful to you alone.


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Struggling with the flesh

July 21, 2012        **Saturday. Starbucks. 4:09p**

Romans 7:14-15

So the trouble is not with the law, for it is spiritual and good. The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin. I don't realy understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don't do it. Instead, I do what I hate. In this time of my life, I constanly struggle with the flesh. As Paul wrote in these verses that he totally understands and knows what the laws are but it is the struggle with the flesh that he is a slave to. Struggling with the flesh is somewhat uncomprehendable because I know what I should or shouldn't do, what is right and what is wrong, but the flesh makes us do it anyway.

Yesterday was the biggest example of my struggle with the flesh. I was in predicament where I had to choose right vs. wrong. I choose wrong because it was what I was used to, what my fleshly body knew. As I allowed my flesh to go down the wrong path, I struggled with knowing what was right and what I knew in my heart that what I was doing was wrong. I literally cried out to God to help me and He did come through. I'm not going to say that I was saved from this predicament that God carried me out of the dark path I was on, but He did allow me to see the light. That light that shines to let me know that there is a way out. I just have to follow the light and put my feet to the pavement. Applying this very truth that there will always be a constant struggle with the flesh allows me to be very wary of the paths and choices that I do make. I need to become aware of those boundary items, those rocks that trip me up, and especially those who walk alongside of me and sometimes place their foot under mine so they can watch me fall. I need to learn how to jump EVERY time I fall to my knees. 

Lord, I struggle with the flesh not only daily, but every moment I am not in step with you. Teach me to walk in your ways, to desire your path of righteousness, and have a heart to take the discipline you give me when I stray. Psalms 119:124-125 says, "I am your servant; deal with me in your unfailing love, and teach me your decrees. Give discernment to me, your servant; then I will understand your laws." 

 Struggling with the flesh is a constant battle, but I have a God that has eliminated the condemnation because I belong to Him! (Romans 8:1-2 NLT) 


Friday, July 20, 2012

What would you ask from God?

July 20, 2012    {Aloha Friday. 7:20 am. Sbux.}

2 Chronicles 1:11-12

God said to Solomon, "Because your greatest desire is to help your people, and you did not ask for wealth, riches, fame, or even the death of your enemies or a long life, but rather you asked for wisdom and knowledge to properly govern my people--I will certainly give you the wisdom and knowledge you requested. But I will also give you wealth, riches, and fame such as no other king has had before you or will ever have in the future!"

It was God who started this converstion, He loved Solomon so much that one night (vs 7) he asked Solomon what he wanted. Imagine God, who is God, who has everything, who could do all, were to ask you "What do you want?" My mind begins to fill with my every want and desires. But Solomon, the humble guy that he is, only asks for wisdom and knowledge to lead the people. What a humble heart! He knows that he is in a place to rule over God's people and out of everything that he could desire, he simply requests for the right mind to lead others. By applying this humble heart of Solomon to ask not for riches or fame, I can ask for the same. The mind to know how to connect with God's beloved, the heart that breaks for what His heart breaks for, the hands and feet to do something about it. It's not the riches or glory that I should ask for, because, in the end God gives it to Solomon anyway; but it's the clean heart to love God and to love others. 

Lord, give me a humble heart. Teach me wisdom and give me knowledge to walk alongside of you, to give me the eyes to see your broken hearted, ears to hear the pain of your loved ones, hands and feet to serve others as you would. Give me the desires of your heart, not mine.

 What would I ask from God? It would be to have a humble heart.