Living Sacrifice

Wednesday, March 31, 2004

I have to post this before I forget....I went in to China One to get some chow, and of course, my friend Tian was working (she and her husband own it). Well, as usual, we had some casual conversation, and as I was telling her about my plans for school (which I don't really have any yet) she asked me if I was getting a "master card" (as opposed to getting my "Masters"). Oh, it was awesome. I didn't say anything, but inside I was cracking up. I love that lady.

Not really sure why this jumped out at me today....but it did, and it's got me thinking. I was in my philosophy class, and one of my classmates has a child whom she brings to class once in a while when she has no other options. Anyway, our philosophy teacher was on a role, and she almost said the "B" word when she suddenly stopped herself and alluded to the fact that there was a young person in the room and instead replaced her "B" word with "Bad person."

I guess the thing about it prof is not a Christian, and we were just discussing Nietzsche (a philosopher) and how we need to choose our own values and be our own individuals apart from what society tells us to be. question is.....if my prof thinks it's ok to cuss (because she does it when there aren't children in the room), why did she stop herself around the child? I never really thought about this before, but it seems that everyone does this. People who drink and cuss often times will limit these habits in front of children. Why? So the children won't get the idea that it's ok? But it must be ok if we are doing it ourselves......? If we want to limit these actions around children, doesn’t that say something about our moral consciousness?

It just got me thinking.....why this sudden change of beliefs in my prof when she suddenly remembered there was a child in the room? Maybe children have the ability to make us see our flaws....I think they cause us to have some sort of sense of guilt about our sinfulness....maybe because they are still innocent and we see something in them (maybe the spirit of God?) that we desire....innocence and freedom. Or maybe I'm totally off and this is all just based on a social norm. But, I thought it was rather interesting.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Well, today I got to see Vir at the Green Tea Day thingy in Shriver, where she had her aromatherapy on display (and I also got free Green Tea and a stress ball). hehe I also just got back from shopping in Colerain with Ellen. Seems like we can't do anything but laugh when we get together. :) It's awesome. I'm really looking forward to this summer, too........Ellen will be moving in with Christi and I for a couple months. Lots of stories will be developed from this summer I am sure.......maybe some quality pictures, too, and many quotes to add to Ellen's quote book. It's going to be grand. *grin*

Monday, March 29, 2004

My life was full of color today. :) I was surprised first by receiving a beautiful bouquet of flowers, and then about 7:15pm, I saw the most amazing rainbow I have ever seen in my entire life while glancing out the glass windows of the Princess. It was a complete rainbow, not just partial, and it was very distinct. I couldn't quit looking at it. I mean, really, it was almost overwhelming how perfect it was. I don't think I will ever see a rainbow like that again.

I remember when I was little......I was at softball practice, and my best friend threw a really high-arching ball into the air to get it across the field. Our coach called those "rainbows," and so he told my best friend not to throw anymore "rainbows," to which she replied, "But I like's God's promise." lol I'll never forget that. It was great. So is God's promise and the beauty he displays all around us. Wow. :)

Saturday, March 27, 2004

Seems like spring has finally made it. Ahhhhhhhhh. Feels good. I went for a jog/walk today, and as I passed some neighborhood houses, I saw a couple boys outside getting prepared for a water gun fight. haha It reminded me of the good ol days in the Birch house of hose verses squirt gun fights, water balloons, dumping water on heads from second story windows, and playing "hot box" on the slip and slide. *grin* It feels good to have memories that make me smile. I need to dwell on those more often, and on the good things in my life, as I was reminded by certain someone. :)

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things." -Philippians 4:8

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

I was online this morning.....just getting ready to do a little homework and then head to the CPA to practice for my steel band test today, when Mark IMed me. Little did I know how broken I was feeling inside....just how much I've been hiding. He asked a simple question: "Are you ok?" and all of a sudden I'm practically sobbing at my computer.

Brokenness. What is it?

Healing. How do we get it?

I'm tired......weak......Lord, break me more if that's what it takes. Am I really ready? Only You know.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Wish I had Spen's personal taxi service every day of the week.....Man, it even beats the Metro! :) I had the privilage of riding home tonight from my steel band class with my big fro-ed little bro. I've found a good job for him next year......that's why he's coming to MU, didn't you know? te he he *grin*

Monday, March 22, 2004

Some thoughts going on today:

When I sin, when I turn from God, when I choose not to listen, when I choose to do my own thing, when I listen to my own desires.........I not only let myself down and my God down, but I let the people that need me down, too. I let down the people I should/am called to pray for, I let down friends that want to spend time with me, I let down people whom I am called to encourage, I fail to bring God's love and message to people who are counting on me to deliver it to them (but they just don't know it yet). Today, I had the privilage to go to
  • Ginghamsburg church
  • , and though it was really really hard for me not to be judgmental, I did try not to be (and I won’t get into some things about the church that kind of upset me….trying to focus on the good things), and the pastor had some really awesome truths to bring to me. One had to do with temptation and sin…..he said “there is no personal sin,” basically meaning that no matter what sin you commit, it affects your life, and therefore affects everyone around you, even people you haven’t met yet. I never really thought about it this way, but God has a perfect plan into which we all fit, and so if I sin, in some way or another, I’m letting other people down, whether that be non-believers for whom I should be praying, or believers who need my support, encouragement, and prayers. It sheds a whole new light on the area of sin for me. People need me…and I need them…..and I’m messing things up when I don’t follow God’s will for my life. Hmmm Hmmm. It also seems to fit perfectly into the scripture that says
  • we are not our own
  • …….we are God’s and at his command….we are now
  • slaves to righteousness.
  • Most of the time, I don’t feel like a slave to His righteousness, but I desire it. As Jason once said in a song: “press on.” I must keep facing the day, pressing on, trying to reach this goal…and become a slave more and more every day to His will so He can use me for His plan. That’s exciting, isn’t it? At least…it should be.

    Thursday, March 18, 2004

    Wish I could chill every night at a coffee house with my little bro studyin' the Bible. Awesome. It's been great just being here with Spen and having someone to talk to about scriptures...someone who's genuinely excited about what God is doing. I think when someone gets excited about Christ, it just radiates from them, and it becomes kind of contagious. I wanna be like that.

    Yesterday, Spencer also said something significant to me. We were talking about struggles with temptation, and Spencer told me how whenever he is tempted, all he has to do is call on Jesus and the temptation just kind of dissolves away. He made it sound so easy…and I guess, well…I should be. Isn’t that what Jesus offers? God always provides a way out for us. I suppose this was significant to me because no one had told it to me that plain and simple before. Spencer couldn’t understand why people had to make it so hard…why we always have to fight to try to do it on our own and then always end of failing. That’s the story of my life….never calling on God because I always think I can handle it myself and then failing every time.

    Spen’s right. It should be simple, and because God is not restrained by time, he sees beginning and end, and in the end, the battle over satan is already won, and so….there really is no battle. We call on the name of Christ, and He shows us that we have already defeated satan, even in the midst of temptation. Wow….God is awesome!

    "He said to me: "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son." -Revelation 21:6-7

    Tuesday, March 16, 2004

    Didn’t really imagine I was going to get to go sledding again this year, but it just so happens I was able to go this afternoon. I took Little Lace and her friend Meredith to the monsterous hill in Lincoln Park in good ol M-town. We had a lot of fun, though it was certainly muddy; the best side of the hill had become more of a mudslide rather than a snowy hill by the time we arrived. But we made the best of the non-dominant hill sides and had a small snow fight at the end. It feels good to spend time with members of the fam, especially my sibs. Spencer has been continuously showing me his new-founded dance moves, but beyond that, we’ve also had some time to discuss Bible verses and faith issues. It’s been good. The one thing about being home that I don’t like, though, is that it seems my struggles are always multiplied. It’s hard for me to be here….and God knows I struggle. Someday I hope to get to the root of it, and I trust that God will show me in His time. For now, though, I’m trying to enjoy God’s blessings through a loving family, and I’m certainly feeling the warmth that comes from being so close to someone that they feel comfortable sharing their faith and struggles, joys and sorrows and to whom I feel I can do the same.......Thanks, God.

    Saturday, March 13, 2004

    Wow, went to the See Spot Rock concert last night. It had great potential, and the bands delivered, but I must admit (and I hate to be at all pessimistic, because it was a great concert) that I was a little disappointed. The sound for Skillet and Pillar seemed to be kind of off, and it just wasn't quite the same as some of the other concerts I've been to. This was my first real concert to actually kind of stand on the outskirts rather than jump in the heart of the crowd, which could have had something to do with it. But I think I've figured out the real reason: I just can't quite rock the same without my little bro rockin' right beside me. lol Next concert, you'll find me in the mosh pit with him, gettin' sweaty beyond belief, and worshiping our Lord and Savior by goin' crazy. Oh, and I got to see my first official rap group on stage (besides a few I've seen just randomly here and there at Cornerstone). It was different....a totally different culture up there on stage, but my body was movin' to their stuff, too. I think I liked it. They certainly had a lot of energy, and I feel like, besides the little blurb from Skillet, they pointed to God more than any of the bands.

    That's something else I was kind of thinking about last night. Compared to other concerts I've been to, it was harder to worship at this one. I felt like the main focus was more on the music than it has been at a lot of the concerts I've been to. The introduction dude made such a big deal that these bands were on (ohhhh!) MTV!!! and stuff like that. So, that bothered me a little....just kind of lifting up those bands on a pedistal as if they should be worshiped or at least regarded as better than the rest of us....because man, common, they were "mainstream" and on MTV!! MTV!!! lol I also think that this concert was supposed to be a hard-core rock set, which is cool....but as far as the desires of my heart, I really wanted to worship more than we did. But, it was still cool, and the whole thing definitely set my ears ringing. haha Don't worry, they're better today.

    So, in conclusion: the best concert I've ever been to? No. Worth the $? Definitely. It was a great concert, worth the ticket $, outrageous gas $, and getting back to my apartment at 2:45am in the morning (and no, I don't know why I am already up. It's not even 7am yet). Would I do it again? Undoubtedly. God speed to the rockin' tour, and I hope that God uses those bands to really reach into the hearts of lost rockers everywhere.

    Wednesday, March 10, 2004

    I wake this morning at 5:15am with a different kind of feeling. I feel kind of sick to my stomach, but not because of the flu or anything. Just because I feel mixed up emotionally. I have feelings of regret, feelings of sorrow, feelings of loneliness. But I also wake this morning to hope as I open my email account and find a note of encouragement from my little bro. Sometimes, when we feel like things are turned upsidedown, it takes a brother or sister in Christ to help us see that things aren't as backwards as they might seem. God has certainly blessed me in the family area, and I am so thankful for all of them. I hope I can be an encourager to them as Mr. Neal Spencer has been to me this morning.

    Tuesday, March 09, 2004

    I just got finished practicing steel drums. Woooo! I never really thought about what it must be like for a music major here at Miami, but man, being in that little room with barely enough space for me to move for more than 30-60 minutes seems like craziness to me. And I know the people who play instruments spend hours in those rooms practicing. Whew.....that's beyond me. I could never do it.

    But anyway, most of the rooms also contain a piano, so sometimes when I get tired of banging on my trashcans, I switch to the piano. Today, I remembered that I had a few chords and stuff in the same folder as my steel drum music that I had typed up a while ago, so I flipped through the pages to see what I could find. I happened to run across "You are my Hope" by Skillet. I've felt really depressed the past couple days....felt really alone and own issues I guess. But it felt so good to sit there in that teeny tiny practice room and play and sing a song about hope.

    "You are my Hope,
    You are my Strength,
    You're everything, everything I need.
    You are my Hope,
    You are my Life,
    You are my Hope."

    These are words that I need to hear. Jesus is everything I need, I just often forget it. I think I need other people, material things, possessions, certain grades, certain looks.....but all of that means nothing to my Father, and He is all that I need. I'm still depressed for whatever reason, but at the same time, I feel refreshed, being reminded that I still have hope in both this life and in my eternity which will be spent with my Father, Lover, and Friend.

    And, as a side note, it helped that the song was by Skillet, you know.....since I'll be seeing them in concert this Friday. :) Maybe they'll play this song for me. Spen, wanna make the request? You seem to be good at yelling things to the band. hehe

    Sunday, March 07, 2004

    My paradox: Sometimes, when I am around a lot of people, I feel the most alone. Kind of felt that way tonight.

    Friday, March 05, 2004

    Ah.....warm weather. The blazing sunshine and warm breezes....AND one beautiful day is all it takes for Miami girls to take it all off and show any inch of their skin they can get away with. Arg. Can you tell I'm bitter about objectification? Women do it to themselves. Grrrrr. Maybe it's just my own issues with my own insecurities about my body. But girls need to wear stuff that covers next-to-nothing?

    On a different note, I'm reminded this afternoon how refreshing and spiritually fulfilling it is to fellowship with other believers. I was able to meet Susie today at the Cappuccino Depo in Millville, and it was a real blessing. We got to share our lives with one another, discuss the future, and encourage one another (although I felt she did much more encouraging than I did!) As far as Christian communion with one another, I think God designed us that way. We desire human companionship, and when that companionship shares a common faith, something really powerful presents itself....something fulfilling and meaningful. Praise God for fellow believers: ones in Oxford, ones in Marion, ones in Minster, ones in Waldo, and ones in places I haven't even been yet that only God knows I will be connected to in the future. There is great strength in the encouragement and wisdom of fellowshipping in the name of Christ.

    And, switching gears once more, I've been coffeeless and popless for, well, I think over 3 weeks now, and it's really starting to get to me. Tea is fine and all, but there's just nothing quite like all those carbonated chemicals bubbling down your throat and into your tummy, along with that caffeine blast. Man, I could use a Dew right about now.

    Wednesday, March 03, 2004

    Also, some dude pulled up beside me tonight on the way home from Middletown and acted like he wanted to race. We kind of looked at each other, and then light was funny. He killed me at the first light, and I killed him at the second one. Maybe he wasn't really wanting to race, but I got a good laugh out of it. You know...turned up my music really loud and put the pedal to the metal! hehehe I'm such a rebel.

    I was informed by my boss on Saturday night that The Passion of the Christ has made 3rd on the list of top money-making movies in the first 5 days, right behind Lord of the Rings: Return of the King and Star Wars. I’m still not sure how to feel about all the hype. It seems like I hear about it everywhere. I even heard a lady talking to a grocery stocker today about Jesus and the movie! I mean, that’s awesome! I think it’s great that all this discussion is being aroused by the movie.

    A trend that I have noticed about myself, though, when discussing whether this movie is a good thing, the implications behind it, etc etc…..I’ve found that I say “I think” “I think” “I think” a lot, rather than “well, God says…..” and “the Bible says…..” I need to start thinking about where my opinions are coming from. Why do I have the opinions that I do? Why do I get stirred up about certain things? Sometimes there’s even anger…..where does that come from? Is it justified? Most of the time, I think my opinions are just that…..MY opinions, and not necessarily what God would approve or find righteous and pleasing to Him. So, I guess my point is that I need to start seeking out answers in His Word and through prayer more than I do now. I bet I could even find something in the Bible about what God thinks about movies…..I mean, granted, it won’t be DIRECTLY stated, but indirectly, I feel like God gives us answers to everything. We just have to be willing to search for them.

    Monday, March 01, 2004

    I still haven’t decided where I will be living next year….or whether I will graduate early…..two pretty big decisions that need to be made within the next couple weeks. The more I think about it, the more I really want to graduate early because I don’t know how much longer I can sit in a classroom and study stuff in which I’m really not very interested. It’s too hard to sit still anymore….and school just isn’t what I want to spend my life doing. I kind of feel like a bird in a bird cage. I feel confined and restricted, and I almost feel like studying is just a waste of time. What am I doing it for anyway? I’d rather be getting excited about reading God’s Word and doing things to further His Kingdom instead focusing on me and my future “success.” I used to want to be someone big….you know, be famous in some way or another…make myself into something…. ”be” someone great. And though I still desire that sometimes, I usually only have that desire in my spiritually weak moments as I seek for something to fulfill me. I don’t think fame and fortune is what I really want from my life. In fact, I believe God is most pleased when we become nothing….because then HE makes us something, but only in Him and when we give Him the glory. Paul was an awesome dude, but he always gave the glory to God…never boasted in anyone but Christ….and God did incredible things through him because he was willing to give up his entire life for the sake of the gospel. I want to be like that. As the band Jonah33 says, “I want a faith like that.”

    I will continue to strive toward that goal. Where school fits in….I don’t really know. School gets me a job somewhere…but it’s not really the job that’s important, anyway. The world would tell me otherwise, but I’m not to be of this world anyway, so why should I listen? As long as I am following His will, I should trust that I will be “successful” in the way that Jesus defines success, whatever that looks like for my life. If God wants me here in Oxford another 2 semesters, then things won’t work out for me to graduate early. Though I desire to leave in December, I pray for His will to be done and not my own.