Friday, October 13, 2017

Wisdom

What if you could have anything you wanted, right now? Anything. It's nice to think that we would ask for something like love, or peace, or wisdom.. but truly our desires are shown by our inward thoughts, silent prayers, and even actions right?

I think it's easy to focus on something temporary like a job or opportunity or even a person that I might want to get to know better or date- than to think about developing these character traits and spend so much time investing and praying for them until that trait is perfected.

Like wisdom? I don't know if I would think to ask for wisdom. But then after you read King Solomon you are like well wisdom was a great idea, just look at his temple and kingdom and the way he reigned with Godly knowledge.. that is until women polluted his mind and he became not so wise. Man you read so many crazy stories in the Bible about men that were devout, they seem foundationally grounded in Christ, and yet these same men get so destroyed by women and love or beauty. King David and Bathsheba, Samson and Delilah, and now King Solomon. I think it is so important who we choose to invest our time and relationships with, because who we marry will either bring us closer to Christ or take us further away.

But back to wisdom.. Solomon was given a wisdom that surpassed all other men. In 1 Kings 10:23 it says "the whole world sought audience with Solomon to heart the wisdom God had put in his heart." His wisdom was validated and respected by Christian men and non-Christians alike and even when he was tested by Queen Sheba, she came away praising the Lord God.

Where do we often look to obtain wisdom? Maybe we don't spend enough time looking in the right places or even seeking it? When I read Solomon, before and after he asks for wisdom, I notice that he is very humble. That his wisdom seems to bring a greater respect for God and a greater humility.
And this is often contrary to those who are wise in this day and time because they tend to get cocky.

When Solomon prays for wisdom, he tells God that he is like a little child not knowing how to carry out the reign as King. He also tells God that he is his servant, and that he longs for a discerning heart and to distinguish between right and wrong.

It says that God was pleased with Solomon and gave him a wise and discerning heart. In verse 5:29 it says "wisdom and very great insight, and a breadth of understanding, as measureles as the sand on the seashore. It says with his wisdom he was able to speak proverbs, and songs, and describe plant life, and teach about animals and birds, reptiles and fish. I think it's really cool to note these details because I always used to think about Solomon's wisdom just in the area of ruling and general knowledge but it shows that God values wisdom about His creation, that He values creativity, that Solomon was wise right-brained and left-brained and just learned to appreciate God's creation.

I think sometimes it's hard to find men or women of God who are wise. Solomon knew where He got his wisdom from and who his temple was for. That it was not by his own knowledge, his temple was not for himself to enjoy, but that it was a place for God to reign. And how can we obtain more wisdom in our life if we are looking anywhere but Christ? Truly we are foolish if we do not aknowledge our littleness and stupidity compared to the God of the Universe. And I think one amazing thing about the story of Solomon is I think God wants to teach us. He wants to make us more knowledgable. To give us wisdom to walk closer to Him, to understand life, to help relationships heal and not break. We just have to ask Him.

Sometimes it's difficult to know how to pray or what to ask God but I really like Solomon's prayer.

"Praise be to the Lord who has given rest to his people Israel just as he promised.
Not one word has failed of all the good promises he gave through his servant Moses.
May the Lord our God be with us as he was with our fathers
May he never leave us nor forsake us
May he turn our hearts to him
To walk in all his ways
And to keep the commands, decrees, and regulations he gave our fathers
And may these words of mine , which I have prayed before the Lord
Be near to the Lord our God day and night
That he may uphold the cause of his servant and the cause of his people of Israel
According to each day's need
So that all the people of this earth may know that the Lord is God and that there is no other
But your hearts must be fully committed to the Lord our God
To live by his decrees and obey his commands as as this time."

Monday, October 9, 2017

Numb

Exactly 4 years ago, I wrote this when I was in Peru as a student missionary. It was a terrible time in my year when I got a severe allergic reaction to lemons that made both of my hands swell, blister, and ache for 2 weeks. No doctor knew what was wrong and I almost had to be sent back to the states.  I read this post and think it's worth a re-read. I really miss Peru and can't wait til I can go back into the mission field. It's so easy to forget..

"Love is not free. People who love are vulnerable- they give a piece of themselves away to someone else. It's a worthy donation- but still painful at times. Love is always worth the sacrifice and the risk."

Luke 7:32 says "They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling out to each other: We played the flute for you and you did not dance; we sang a dirge and you did not cry.

I never before understood these verses. They confused me. But lately as I have been struggling through various sickness and ailments my heart has been inclined to an interesting thought about them: many people in our generation are numb..

The Bible warns us much about the End Times and how the people of the last days will be asleep (the Laodicean church).  The Laodiceans will be lukewarm- not passionately devoted to God yet still claiming to follow His ways. I believe that Jesus is coming soon and we are the Laodicean church- I believe that we are sleeping- and often numb to emotions and reality.

Many Americans no longer cry- it has become a feminine thing for men to cry and even many girls these days don't cry. Many Americans watch horror movies- and they have no affect on them. Movies full of violence, shooting, and suffering- yet we don't seem to care- because we've seen it before.
We see so many charities asking for different donations- yet to most of them we simply walk away- because we've seen so many statistics about children dying already, we've watched the movies and seen the pictures of hungry children in Africa, we've heard about all the third world problems too much already- and we're numb to it. We feel like we've seen it all, we feel like we know it.. and instead of living in it or trying to comprehend it.. we close our eyes.

We have a wound and we have many ailments today, yet many of us are choosing not to deal with it. We're choosing to close our eyes and not think about the people hurting around us and the needs facing most of the world. Our feelings have been numbed- so that things don't hurt us so much. Yet as well as our feelings have been shortened and depth of them stolen- our love for each other has been worn down. Our love has been shattered to a noncaring, comfortable complacency and the genuine care and emotion has far too often been abandoned on the sidelines. Often we no longer feel the need to do anything to help others hurting around us. We don't accept the responsibility to help others. We look away and often whisper in our hearts "I hope someone else helps them."

Serving as a missionary here in Pucallpa, this is what I've been learning. I've been learning that I created walls around my heart. Every time I was hurt, I received a wound and for every wound that was received I let most of my wounds scab- creating a protection from the outside harm and trying to protect myself from being hurt again. I'm learning that I am far too numb to sufferings and calamities that are a reality to millions daily.

I believe that we've all created walls similar to scabs around our hearts from things that have hurt us. Maybe a boyfriend or girlfriend that broke us, a family member that suffered an illness, a statistic that broke our heart, a child that made us cry.. There's nothing wrong with these wounds. Yet we cannot let them make us numb. Christ Jesus wants to expose all of our wounds to the light. He wants to open our hearts and destroy all of the scars this world has made in us. He wants to take them away- and that will be a painful process- but He wants to create in us beautiful, loving hearts like His own. Hearts that feel suffering as the one who suffers. Hearts that genuinely care and genuinely love, and are willing to risk themselves for others. Hearts that have true compassion and the desire to move and make the world better for someone else.

Here in Peru, God is opening and remaking my heart and I'm so thankful. Because of some of my sufferings here, I'm able to see what most of the world suffers through daily and often. Most of the world experiences hunger pains, diseases, illnesses, malaria, yellow fever, aids... yet most of my life I have been protected from these sicknesses (praise God). But here I've prayed that God open my eyes to the things He sees and breaks my heart for the things that break His.. and slowly God is doing that in me. I don't believe God wants me to be sick- and I have faith that He will be healing me very soon. Yet what I am grateful too is that this year God is giving me glimpses of what life is like for many people in third world countries and opening my eyes to some of their sufferings.

For me to be able to love like God, my heart has to be opened. The wound has to be an open flesh wound that is healed by Christ Jesus and Him alone. If I have walls I can't love as strongly.When I am vulnerable, that is when I can truly give and sacrifice my all to another being attempting to portray to them what Jesus Christ did for me in Calvary.

I want God to create in me a new and purified heart that sees others the way He sees them. I want God to love me so much so that I can show others a love that pierces to the inmost of their beings and shows them their worth in Christ. I want God to change me and destroy all my selfishness from within- remaking me into someone compassionate and self-sacrificing.

I pray that you desire the same from your God and that God opens your eyes so that you can see yourself in His image and others thru His eyes of love and compassion.


Heal the mind; help the body

Many people do not understand the connection between the mind and the body and how our beliefs and thoughts impact our actions and physical health.

When people go to hospitals, there are many people drawing labs, performing procedures, and researching their physical systems. But often little thought goes into the individuals' emotional health and spiritual health which play such a big part in healing and wellbeing.

Stress, even scientists understand, is a huge cause in disease. Unforgiveness, anger, emotional pain can all cause physical pain to the body. Ellen White writes that many of the diseases from which people suffer are a result of mental depression (White, p 243). Grief, anxiety, discontent, remorse, guilt, and distrust can all promote cellular destruction. Disease can also be worsened by the imagination and people's perspectives.

How then do we help protect our minds and heal others?

The simple answer is we guard ourselves with the Word of God. We protect our hearts by beholding what is good and beautiful (Christ's love) and we learn to put aside natural passions in order to grow closer to Jesus' loving spirit. Then we witness to the love and joy of following Christ to those around us.

Truly God alone is the only one  who can heal the mind and we have to have alot of Godly wisdom when trying to help others deal with diseases caused by the mind. Often we don't understand a persons' background and struggles. We don't know their character and personality, their coping mechanisms which will play a huge role in how their mind responds to stressors and even disease. We don't know where their spiritual walk is or if they ever met Jesus.

Someone who is discouraged emotionally needs tender sympathy. Friendship and love should be shown and the person should be gently led to the healing hands of Jesus. White writes that
"Sympathy and tact will often prove a greater benefit to the sick than will the most skillful treatment given in a cold, indifferent way."

It is important to remember that happiness for this life and even for heaven depends on fixing the mind on cheerful things- that are of God. "It is not wise to look to ourselves and study our emotions. If we do this the enemy will present difficulties and temptations that weaken faith and destroy courage. Closely to study our emotions and give way to our feelings is to entertain doubt and entangle ourselves in perplexity. We are to look away from self to Jesus. (MOH p. 251 ).

"Nothing tends more to promote health of body and of soul than does a spirit of gratitude and praise. (MOH) " We must thank God for the things in our life that are good which are from Him and we must let His peace rule in our hearts. Let us forget our difficulties and personal struggle and praise God for the opportunity to live for Him. As we bless others around us, we receive blessings of kindness.

Instead of groaning about our struggles and stressing over the obstacles or uncertainties of life, let us stop what we are doing and thank God for the opportunity to breathe. Thank Him for your health, thank him for the sun, thank Him for the people in your life that make you smile and laugh. And ask Him to help you heal your heart. He wants too and He loves too and as He heals our hearts and emotional health, we will find more energy and abundant life as well as reason and desire to encourage the people around us.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

You can have it all

I love this video "Have it All" by Brian Johnson where an artist sculpts a human heart and it's intricate design. It's honestly so amazing and really represents the work of sanctification and healing that God desires to do in us daily.

You see in this video, there are so many times I look at the artist and I'm like "what are you doing?"  The heart looked good to me the way it was, and now you're throwing on more white concrete. Their are stages of this video where if you stopped it, you might think the heart was even more broken then when it had begun. But at the end you see a masterpiece- redefined, recreated- by the Master Artist and it's nothing short of beautiful.

And I truly, truly believe that this is the work Christ loves. He loves changing hearts and he wants to start with ours. He is seeking us day by day and asking us "Will you let me have it all?" Will you give me your heart so I can change it into something totally different that represents my name and my glory?

It's so easy for us as Americans in a busy world that pushes productivity and making money, to start to create idols for ourselves and long for things that won't fulfill us. These idols can be anything from working out, to eating, to searching for love from guys or friends, to being caught up in how we look or our careers. And as we search for these things the devil wants to get us hooked on the material benefits and the temporary relief and pleasure these things provide.

But even when our minds are distracted and our hearts are broken from the world letting us down, Jesus sees. He sees us in our brokenness and he loves us and he tells us "Come to me and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28). "Come to me and I will give you water that will quench your desires" (John 4). Come to me, and let me have your heart. So I will take away your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. (Ezekiel 36:26).

The best decision I ever made was to choose to give Jesus everything. Jesus came into my life and literally changed everything I knew- my personality, my career, my desires. That doesn't mean my life is perfect- often I look at it and fall so short of where I feel I am supposed to be. But what I rejoice in, what I love about Jesus, is he never gives up on us! Never. It's never too late to go back to Jesus and let Him be the healer of your heart, soul, and mind. He promises us that He will always begin what He started if we let Him.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Tribute to the Gym

Here's a tribute to creative writing and the days when I'm working at the desk at the gym busting up laughing. Here's to you, the people who can't seem to get their act together on gym day, and the rest of us who try not laugh at you. Crazy things you may encounter at the gym:

1. Noises You hear so many straining and strange noises that you feel should be limited to the bedroom and you get totally cool with ignoring it.. until you hear "that guy" There's always one who needs a pep talk on proper weight limits.

2. Boyfriends and girlfriends. After a few sessions on couple leg stretching you watch patterns of guys try to teach their girlfriends to do pull ups and bench press.. to no avail.

3. Spotters. Your just chilling at the gym when some super buff dude of America asks you to spot him on his 200 lb chest press and your just like bro I can't hold that.

4. Future heart attack of Americas. These are people who you hear huffing and puffing 50 feet away from their treadmill and you have  to pray will survive their workout safely. I applaud you 565 pound man but please let's heart attack outside my fitness floor when I'm not on duty.

5. The confused. They take their time walking around the gym like a maze runner and occasionally ask questions about exercise machines that don't exist.

6. The Biceps Flexer. It never ceases to amaze me how proud men are of their biceps. They just can't seem to overcome the temptation to flex for a few seconds--minutes-- in the big weight room mirrors. Once in a while they even ask me for a measurement or to take a picture LOL.

7. Barbie. I applaud this girl for straightening her hair and having makeup on point even when she works out. How she leaves her hair down, and doesn't get sweaty, while doing her workout makes me want to give her beauty points on strategy.

8. The pounder. It's like once you put on the earphones, you don't realize that suddenly letting go of machinery can create loud noises. These people just enjoy tension- the push and pull- and bang bang seems to bring them joy.

So thanks guys, you are the best, because you make me laugh so hard watching you work out at the gym.

Generation gap

I work at the gym about 20 hours a week and one of my favorite parts of my job is talking and socializing with some of my gym friends. I'm finishing up college- and by gym friends- you may think that I meet alot of college people, maybe cute guys- what not. But you might be surprised that by far and large, the gym friends I am referring too are 80% older than my grandma. It's the old people who really make me laugh and smile during the day.

See, I don't know what happened between their culture and mine. Maybe old age just makes you a friendlier person... but I know almost every gym member over the age of 40 that comes in the gym. Most of them know my name, they know that I'm studying nursing, and they love to tell me about their grandkids or how old they are turning. It's just natural, that when they walk past the desk, they say "Good morning." They smile and they ask me how I'm doing. And it's great. It's not creepy, it's not forced, most of them don't try to talk for decades- I honestly really appreciate it and we begin to develop a relationship together.

Part of my job working at the gym is to be friendly. I'm supposed to represent positive customer service so I'm supposed to greet people as they come in the gym if they don't greet me first.

The funny thing is what happens when I try to greet college age students. If I know them, they are totally cool with it. But if I don't know them, and I say hi, I am given this totally "caught off guard" look. Some of them say hi back and are excited to be aknowledged. But many of them quickly switch from off guard to defensive and don't even say hi. They look at me like I'm crossing some social boundary by trying to tell them good morning or like maybe I'm hitting on them. Normally if I ignore them a couple times and then try to say hi later, they typically act less offended and rude on the second try. But still why so hard?

I'm not a super naturally friendly person, but I like to include people. So when I tell someone hello and they look at the ground- I normally want to write them off in my head- and never approach them again. But after a while, you start to realize that many of the people who aren't saying hi back or being super friendly, aren't that mean. They don't mind being a friend they just honestly don't know how to communicate well.

I definitely think is something young people need to work on in general: face to face communication. Put down the cellphone and social media, and let's actually talk to one another. If a girl talks to a guy it doesn't mean she's hitting on him and vice versa. Acknowledging another person and including them is just basic etiquette. It's also one of my goals in general, improve one on one and group communication and seek to be friendly to the people all around me.

Have you ever seen this generation gap? And if so what are some changes you think younger adults should be making to become more friendly?

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

I want to be a Christian nurse

This quote carries the responsibility of a nurse.  "Nowhere does so much depend upon faithfulness in little things on the part of the attendants. In cases of serious illness, a little neglect, a slight inattention to a patient's special needs or dangers, the manifestation of fear, excitement, or petulance, even a lack of sympathy, may turn the scale that is balancing life and death, and cause to go down to the grave a patient who otherwise might have recovered. (White, 1905, p 219).

I've been attending children's clinicals in the emergency room and learning so much. One of the hardest things I've been learning is IV's because they personally make me quite nervous. But I've also been following different nurses around and learning basic care. And one thing that stands out to me the most is the patient care that is provided and my desire to do more.

Nurses are so busy. They have to be one of the biggest multitasking jobs out there. There are so many expectations to meet the needs of others. Service is demanded- it's part of the job. Nurses are often taken advantage of and they spend so much time trying to meet others' needs often just to be criticized or taken for granted.

Because of the difficult job nurses hold, I've witnessed so many nurses who are burnt out and bitter. Nurses who provide quick care to their patients, who do the minimum and not the maximum, who don't take the time to truly listen. And I think seeing this has deepened my desire to be a Christian nurse.

For one of my nursing classes we've been reading "Ministry of Healing" by Ellen White and I really appreciate her instruction in nursing care. She emphasizes the unique opportunity to minister along with heavenly angels in helping a patient recover from pain or illness. She writes that a nurse should be able to draw the mind of the patient to the healer of the soul as well of the body and she instructs us to pray for our patients.

Ellen White has so much wisdom about healing, helping our patients, and even the importance of nutrition and rest. Reading her book has drawn me closer to God and deepens the desire to be changed so that I can be a Christian nurse- I can show sick people Jesus.