Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving and Praise


A few mornings a week, I read a prayer out of The Valley of Vision which is a collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions. I read this one earlier this week and it really blessed me.

PRAISE AND THANKSGIVING

Oh my God,
Thou fairest, greatest, first of all objects,
my heart admires, adores, loves thee,
for my little vessel is as full as it can be,
and I would pour out all that fullness before thee in ceaseless flow.

When I think upon and converse with thee
-ten thousand delightful thoughts spring up,
-ten thousand sources of pleasure are unsealed,
-ten thousand refreshing joys spread over my heart,
crowding into every moment of happiness.

I bless thee for the soul thou hast created,
--for adorning it, sanctifying it, though it is fixed in barren soil;
--for the body thou hast given me,
--for preserving its strength and vigour,
--for providing senses to enjoy delights,
--for the ease and freedom of my limbs,
--for hands, eyes, ears that do thy bidding;
--for thy royal bounty providing my daily support,
--for a full table and overflowing cup,
--for appetite, taste, sweetness,
--for social joys of relatives and friends,
--for ability to serve others,
--for a heart that feels sorrows and necessities,
--for a mind to care for my fellow-men,
--for opportunities of spreading happiness around,
--for loved ones in the joys of heaven,
--for my own expectation of seeing thee clearly.

I love thee above the powers of language to express,
for what thous art to thy creatures.

Increase my love, O my God, through time and eternity.

--Valley of Vision, pg 15

I love that they thank God for their senses. That they thank God for appetite, taste and sweetness. Who ever thinks to thank God for that. That they thank God for their soul. Up until I read this, I never even thought to thank God for my soul and the blessings he bestows upon it. What wisdom and passion for Christ. May today be one filled with this kind of thanksgiving and wonder.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving


Well, I think everything is almost ready for tomorrow. I cleaned a lot today...which as some of you know is a big thing for me. :) My dad was kinda shocked. No...I scrubbed the bathroom and cleaned my room. Washed the floors and all that fun stuff. Bought stuff for my classroom to make it Christmasy. And--my favorite of the day--arranged flowers and decorated the house. Soooo much fun!!!!!!! My sis the budding photographer (pardon the pun) took pictures of my flowers for me as you can see.

Yesterday and the day before were really good too. I went to the ACSI conference in Anaheim. That stands for Association of Christian Schools International. I went to a class on Monday about making connections between the subject matter I am teaching and Biblical truths that apply to it. I am really looking forward to incorporating that in my classroom. The teacher kept saying that if we haven't done anything that is illegal in the classroom in a day, then we need to try to the next day. We have such an amazing opportunity as Christian school teachers because we have no spiritual limitations.

Then yesterday, first I heard Guy Doud speak. That was incredible. He was the 1986 Teacher of the Year. A very inspirational speaker--very encouraging. Then I walked the part of the conference with all the booths and stuff. I got some good info for my school and bought some stuff. Then on the way to my next session I ran into a friend of mine, Hao Tiet. It was really good to see him...a total surprise. He was going to the same session I was, so we were able to spend some time together and catch up.

That session was about having a Christian Philosophy of Education. It was so interesting and a bit depressing to see how far away I've come from the thinking and ideology I had when I started teaching. I have forgotten how much Christ is the center of all things. He is truth and anything that is against Him is not truth. We were created perfect and now we have moved so far from Him and sin has tainted us so badly that we are not even working to our potential anymore. And yet the evolutionists say we are developing and getting better all the time. Such a difference in everything. There is such a wide chasm between Christian ed and public ed. And I really am glad to be able to be doing what I'm doing.

So it was a very encouraging few days. I keep wanting to call it a weekend...haha. But it was really fun and good.

(The bottom one is my favorite :D )

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

This week...

This week is looking good! Yesterday and today, I'm at a conference for Christian school teachers. I learned a lot yesterday. I'll write more about it later when I have more time. Some thought provoking stuff!

So that is yesterday and today. Then tomorrow I have off of school. Thursday is Thanksgiving and then Friday is shopping day!!!

I'll let you know how it all goes.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Jesus Rejected at Nazareth

This morning I read Matthew 13:53-58. The section title is "Jesus Rejected at Nazareth." That always amazed me. How could the people He grew up with and who knew Him so well reject Him. Of all the people He knew, you would think THEY would be the ones to accept Him and support Him.

And then I began thinking about myself. Hmmm... I grew up knowing Him. He has been some part of my life since the day I was conceived. My parents have been showering me with prayer since they knew I was formed. Then I was born and my mom and dad prayed for me all the time as did countless other people. I had Psalm 1 memorized word for word by the time I was 2. I asked Jesus in my heart when i was 3 1/2. I've been in church more than I've been most other places. I grew up with Him. I know many many other young people just like me.

And then I realized that many of those young people have rejected him--totally walked away from Him. I have struggled in the past with doubt and unbelief. You see, Jesus never came into my life with a big bang. He's always been there. There has been no drastic change from pagan sinner to sanctified saint in my life. And many times I have wondered about Him, doubted who He is and what He has done.

As I think about that, I realize how easy it was for the people of Nazareth to reject Jesus. He had always been there. Even His own family rejected Him. He was just one of the kids. Albeit a very strange kid....but just one of the kids. Their relationship with Him was never really deep. He was Mary's son....the carpenter's kid from down the street. They didn't take the time to know Him.

As for those of us growing up in church, Jesus has always been that guy that died on the cross. That guy that did all those miracles and told those weird stories. As I write this, I am ashamed of what I know I've said to myself so many times over the last 25 years. I am ashamed of doubting and not believing who He really is. Because like the people of Nazareth should have been the people who really knew who He was, I should really know who He is. I've been with Him my whole life. I've seen what He's done in my family. I've seen what He's done in my church. I've seen what He's done in my life.

So I think to my verse I've been meditating on this week..."Be still and know that I am GOD." Ps 43:10 What does this have to do with Jesus, doubt and unbelief? My doubt and unbelief--especially in the last 8 years--has stemmed from my NOT being still and letting God be God. Why didn't I get to go the the college I want to? Why did Mike die? Why did I not get my dream job? Can Jesus really care about me? Does He know what He is doing???

Of course He does. He is God. And I should know that without a doubt because I've seen it in my life so many times. Hundreds upon hundreds of times. I don't know why I didn't get to go the the college I wanted---why Mike died---why I didn't get that job. But I do know that God is faithful. I do know that God is true. I do know that Jesus has been there. I've seen it my whole life.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Stillness


Hmmmm...since Friday, the Lord has given me this verse at least 3 if not 4 times.

"Be still, and know that I am God" (Psalm 46:10).

Maybe God wants me to be still. That may have something to do with my previous post. :)

I found out earlier this morning that a friend of mine is having an extremely hard week (and it's only Tuesday!!!) My mind immediately went to all the ways that I could possible do something to help her. Maybe i should take off work and go see her. Does she need something? Should I call other people to tell them to go see her? Questions, questions, questions... And then I read my e-mail and was given this verse again.

BE STILL. Just be still. I don't have to do anything. I don't need to do anything. Why???

KNOW THAT I AM GOD. He is God. He is GOD. HE is God. I am not. He is the ruler of the universe. He knew what would happen long before He created me or my friend or my school or anything. HE IS GOD. I need not do anything. Nothing. Nada. Just be still.

Lord, may I be still before You in Your presence today and let YOU be God.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Freaking Out


You know in the last week, there have been several things that have come up unexpectedly. My plans for Saturday totally blew up in my face. My Sunday was pretty busy. I just found out my car registration was due on Friday...and I still hadn't paid it. AND i'm due for a smog test on my car.

Unfortunately I have NOT handled things very well. I've kinda melted down almost every time. And it's kinda embarrassing. I used to pride myself on handling the unexpected in a very cool sophisticated way. Well you know that fall that comes along with the pride??? It has come. With a vengeance. The Lord still has some major work to do in me. Why totally freak out? It does no good at all. It does not bring honor to Him. And I feel like an idiot when it's all over (as I sit here red-faced typing away). May the Lord help me to lean on Him....and take whatever He throws my way with a good attitude and a smile on my face. Most of the time, things are my fault. So I just need to suck it up and deal with it. :P

But doesn't that picture of the rose make everyone feel so much better? I just have to relax and remember that the God who is all powerful---full of strength---He wants to share his strength with me each and every day. Why me? I have no clue! But He does. And He is good. And I need to work on just trusting Him and the promise that all things are meant for my good. Even the surprise registration........ ahhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

God's Grace

This morning I was reading in Matthew 12, and a quote from Isaiah really stood out to me.

Behold, my servant whom I have chosen, my beloved with whom my soul is well pleased. I will put my Spirit upon him, and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles.
He will not quarrel or cry aloud, nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets; a bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not quench, until he brings justice to victory.
and in his name the Gentiles will hope.
Matthew 12:18-21
It is amazing that God would open up the riches of heaven to us as Gentiles. We are not His chosen people, but He still has mercy on us and offers salvation. What a way to start the day!