Monday, August 15, 2011
Friday, June 3, 2011
This weeks devotionals were really fantastic. Coming off a weekend like memorial day its difficult not to be filled with excitement and maybe even be too distracted with preparing to really dive into the importance of a consistency of spiritual life. So having this devotional on this week was just a great combination of challenging and encouraging. I’m not going to lie, this blogging process is really intimidating for me because I never have perfectly organized thoughts and writing (knowing other people may read it) is scary, but I completely understand the significance of this blog for our relationships so bear with me as I attempt to articulate thoughts I have been processing this week.
Daily communication with God- this is something I truly understand the significance of. Especially when I was younger and my Sunday school teachers would say- “how can you and your best friend be close if you never talk”- I was like duh! That really clicked for me but lately I have been examining flaws in my relationship with God and I’m wondering if maybe I treat God too much like a human. I make him less of a big deal by talking to Him about my day or whatever I feel is important rather than sitting in silence and listening for Him. I won’t deny that the silence scares me- I am intimidated by His glory- I should be. I think its all about balance- I need to acknowledge how much His everlasting love and glory overwhelms me daily but still press on to enter into relationship with Him- to let him transform me. Because lets face it, I can’t contain God. I don’t control the way he affects my life, my decisions, His power allows me to acknowledge that I am nothing without Him, literally nothing. My recognition of this need for balance is just the beginning, I need to wrestle with God over this spiritual insecurities, and acknowledge His power. Its not like He doesn’t already know. God continues to help me balance myself, and place him at the center of my life. It’s not like I have the ability to find my problems and fix them- I do not have to power to act outside of God- and I wouldn’t want to. Once again, God confronts me- and I love it! It is so humbling and inspiring to witness God’s daily plea for our love.
Another thought- this week has ignited further my desire to be an empty vessel to be filled with God. I want my life to demonstrate God’s power. I want my actions to make it clear that God does the heavy lifting- that God is in control, that I am nothing but His child. I want a life that encourages others to trust not in me but in God.
I need to cut myself off from writing.
Pruning (verb): Trim (a tree, shrub, or bush) by cutting away dead or overgrown branches or stems, esp. to increase fruitfulness and growth.
This past weekend at training I have come to realize that I am like one of the apple trees from the Wizard of Oz. Dorothy gets hungry and is excited to find apple trees. As she picks an apple, the tree slaps her hand and grouchily says, "What do you think you're doing?!...How would you like to have someone come along and pick something off of you?!".
Thursday, June 2, 2011
1. Fear is NOT from the Lord. Ever. It's not of his character (reverent fear is different...) and it therefore is not something that we, as image-bearers, are to reflect. Question its source any and every time it plagues you. Call it out for what it is, and then claim victory over it (I am an overcomer by the blood of the Lamb and the word of my testimony - Rev 12:11)!
2. Read and re-read and re-read again 1 John 4. Let the love of the Father envelop all that you are and let the truth of his love redirect your focus as you take on great risks and dwell on the threshold of the incredible call God has put on your life: to love Yahweh your God with all your heart, mind, and strength!
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Wednesdays devotional brought my mind back to a tough place that I was at with God last year. I struggled, and still struggle, with the fear of making a mistakes. I dont want to say something "wrong" or do something "wrong".
To put a picture on it, ill relate this to my soccer playing days, which I love to do. In my first game ever playing on the varsity squad, I was called up mid-season from JV. I was nervous. Like I couldnt walk straight kind of nervous. Overall it went well though, we tied the eventual CIF champions. But after the game, when my dad came over to me and asked me how it felt, the first thing I said was, "I didnt get much action on the ball, but at least I didnt make any mistakes." Confused, he replied, "well then you didnt really play did you?". He was half joking, but I remembered the moment. I didnt put 100% of myself into that game, because of the fear that I would look silly, and they would know that I was too young and too inexperienced to be on the field.
Gotta be honest, I played one of the worst games of my life the very next game. I was demoted back to JV, and had to wait a long time to get another chance. But I largely credit that failure of a game for building me up to being a starting player down the road.
So ya, I still do sometimes fear failure. But it's not about me. It in no way has ever been about me. God has the summer written out. God isn't saying, "oh if Tyler has a rough week then campers wont come to know me." Christ has won, it's over. The description of imagining myself as a lifeless body cuts me out of the picture, and strongly glorifies God. I want to make myself less, so that God can be everything. Everything to me, and everything to the churches that come.
Man, I am so excited to meet and love on campers. Just saying.
(2 Corinthians 12:9-10)
 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
This verse sustained me through last summer. If God gave us a task that we could accomplish without him, we would be far more likely to take credit ourselves. But when we know that we are to weak, our strength, our knowledge, and our wisdom are too meager to accomplish what we set out to do, God takes the glory. Through constant prayer and doing all things through Christ's strength rather than our own we consistently glorify God! We are a part of the vine, and it is only through the vine (Christ) that we the branches can produce fruit.
Jacob's encounter with God changed him permanently. Likewise, when we meet Jesus, and ask him to be a part of our lives, our lives should be utterly unrecognizable from our former selves, because When we allow Christ to change us, and work in us, when we allow the Holy Spirit to dwell in us, our life is different, down to the core of who we are. We are no longer required to define ourselves by our possessions, or our abilities, but are instead defined in Him who died on the cross for us; we are defined as the vassel's of God's love, and the messengers of his glory. We are refined daily by the fire of his justice and mercy, and healed through the waters of his love. I have no desire to live the life of the Kira who once walked a wide and easy path alone. I have no desire for the things she desired because I have been changed by the Spirit of God until I was unrecognizable. I celebrate that that Kira has died, and in her stead is me, the daughter of God, creator of the universe who loved so wholly and sacrificially that his own Son died for my sake. Pray daily that God would continue to empty me of everything that isn't Him for it isn't by my own power that I am changed.
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Today I began reading through my journal. It's something I do frequently with large gaps in-between. (AKA- I journal every day for two weeks and then take a few months off). In an attempt to reach some sort of humble catharsis, I started going through and crossing out everything I wrote about other people. My pride allowed me to, in my time spent with Jesus, point out and "pray for" faults in others rather than focusing on what God was trying to do in my own life. The ironic (though not at all ironic) fact is that every time I focused a significant amount of space on other people, it was almost always preceded by a significant lapse in disciplined quiet time. Spending time with the Lord, consistently, allows me to engage in conversation rather than attribute sporadic bits of wisdom to other people.
Friday, May 27, 2011
Thursday, May 26, 2011
And also during worship last night God totally gave me another Spirit moment, telling me the same thing. He said "Do you believe my grace is sufficient for you? Do you really, truly believe it?" I thought about it for a while, and then read the verse that we were studying that night: ephesians 2:8-9. "By grace you have been saved, through faith, not of works so that no man may boast...." And man, I gotta say, I was humbled. It hit me like a train wreck. Sometimes we try so hard to play God in our lives. We make following Jesus a checklist and think that by doing everything on it, we are good with God. Well, God totally showed me that I was doing just that, and He gave me a big ol' slap in the face. When I was at the point of doubting God, he was there and in control, and he was trying to get me to look to Him. Satan was fooling me into thinking that what I was doing was right. While it looked right, God was there all along saying, "you're never going to be satisfied anywhere else but me." Its about Him working through us and changing us, and the Spirit living in us. We have a good God. Amen?
See you all tomorrow!