Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Annyeonghi gaseyo





Annyeonghi gaseyo means goodbye in Korean! kamsahamnida means thank you! It's time for more goodbyes AGAIN. I feel like that's all I ever do lately- "goodbye, thank you, have a good life." But that's ok! We are saying goodbye to all of the amazing teachers and friends we have been working with. Sometimes God brings people into your life for a short time to teach you something or to bring you temporary joy or comfort. These teachers have definitely been a blessing to me =)
We still have one more week in Korea before we fly back to the states on the 6th!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Forgiveness


Until you’ve been hurt bad enough- you don’t understand how hard forgiveness is. Forgiveness is done not just for the one who hurt you, but forgiveness gives God a chance to start healing your heart. Forgiveness is acknowledging that you are broken and choosing to let God put the pieces back together.

If you are hurt badly, you might not want to forgive because you feel if you forgive someone you are justifying their actions. You might believe that by forgiving someone you are giving up and saying what they did to you was ok, but that’s not what forgiveness is at all.

Whether we like it or not, it is not our job to decide what is right because we do not have a clue what true justice is. Life is not fair- it will never be. “Fairness” is an illusion because the universe is not run by “what people deserve” but by Christ’s mercy and justice that we will never understand. That is a blessing because if God chose “what people deserved” we would all perish in a fire.

Isaiah 43:25-26 "I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.  Review the past for me, let us argue the matter together; state the case for your innocence.

Christ is the only true judge and since he has offered us forgiveness, we have a duty to forgive each other. We have slaughtered Christ- sending him to death on a cross: one of the most imaginably painful and terrible forms of death. We have committed murder of the worst kind, how much more should we be willing to forgive our brothers for small sins against us no matter how much they hurt us.

Matthew 6:14,15 For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Here are 3 attitudes that help with forgiveness (taken from the book of “Inverted”)

1.       Be understanding. Seek to understand the offender and the reasoning behind what they did.

2.       Be obedient. Do not rely on feelings to help you forgive. Forgive because you know that Christ is calling you to forgive and that as a Christian you must forgive if you want forgiveness.

3.       Be prayerful. Realize that you cannot completely forgive someone on your own- but only with Christ’s help.

Korean Camp's Ending Fast!

We only have 2 more days of English teaching class! I can't believe how fast the summer camp has gone by. Tomorrow we are testing the kids to see how much they have learned. Wednesday we will be throwing them a party.

I am really going to miss all the students and especially the kind teachers we are working with. The teachers that are working at the summer camp are amazing! We have really bonded by dinners and fun outings over the past 8 days. Even though most of the other teachers are in their twenties to early thirties, they have been so helpful and friendly to us young Americans.

Tonight we went to Lotte World which is similar to Disney World but a little smaller. It was a ton of fun and we rode on some pretty scary rides that went really high in the air.

After camp is done, we have about 5 days to tour Korea in Seoul and Busan. We are taking KTX the bullet train to Busan on the 4th to stay with a different family of friends. I can't believe how fast Korea is going by and how well I am adjusting. Oh yes, I have finally mastered the art of chopsticks =) Korean food is still difficult to swallow sometimes but normally there is a selection of rice or noodles which are the safest options.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Ruth vs Jonah

Tonight I studied the books of Ruth and Jonah. To me both stories contrast to demonstrate that God's will is always perfect and will be done no matter what. If you run away and don't follow God, you will miss out on many of God's blessings- but still His will be done. If you obey even when situations seem ridiculous, unfair, or impossible- God will bless and His will be done.

Jonah tries to run away from God's calling to Him. He hears God's voice clearly- He knows what Christ wants from His life- but He does everything He can to avoid God, trying to escape on a boat to a far away land. It doesn't work. God does crazy things- and has a whale swallow him and eventually he ends up in Nineveh- the same place God was calling him from the very beginning.

Ruth has to be a devout Christ- follower to demonstrate such love and faith in God. She goes where Christ is calling her- to a foreign land to comfort Naomi. It does not make sense for her to go because she does not have a boyfriend or husband to be or money or family where she is going. Yet despite what seems stupid and horrible conditions, God provides a man for her life and safety, food, and comfort.

Both stories do not make a lot of sense and seem ridiculous if we really think about it. I mean Jonah- for one who runs away across the country just to escape "religion" or God's calling for their life? Does he really think going on vacation around the world is going to satisfy his conscience or the Holy Spirit? Second of all, a whale?? Why would God use a whale- why not just a thunderstorm or a flash of lightening? But maybe sometimes God does crazy things just to show us He is God and He can do whatever He likes. Maybe He wants to show us that not every story revolves around us and our own lives are not to be lived for our selfish ambitions- but His glory.

As for Ruth, even Naomi told her to go home. Naomi had NOTHING to provide for her and Ruth had no protection for herself. The possibilities of Ruth finding a guy in the foreign land were very small, and it was very dangerous for Ruth to go picking wheat in strange fields. She could get raped very easily. It would be illogical for Ruth to go with Naomi- it wasn't her duty- wasn't her mother and wasn't her problem.

What is Christ calling us to do that seems illogical, impossible, or uncomfortable?
What problems are God asking us to help with that aren't our problems??

David fighting a giant, Balaam talking to a donkey, Hosea married an unfaithful woman, Noah builds an ark when he'd never seen rain, Shadrach lived through fire- God called the people in the Bible to do crazy things all the time! The difference is: they did them! If we aren't feeling called by God to things we are uncomfortable doing, we have to ask ourselves if we are really listening to God at all?

If we are asking God for His will about something and earnestly praying about it- God will reveal His will to us.
Sometimes it may not be the thing we want or like, but His will be done not ours. We are just going to have to accept that life doesn't revolve around us, it revolves around God.

So will we be like Ruth and obey even when things don't seem to make sense? Or will we make things difficult and run like Jonah?

Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose.

Squirt guns and Christian dancing


Every day that you live-- is a chance to jump around, a chance to spin until you fall, and a chance to proclaim the love and joy of God to everyone you come in contact with. Some days will not seem beautiful, but every day is a gift.

I don't want to waste my life. We never know how many days we have- but God does.

Yesterday, on Saturday night, my Korean teacher friends and I went to a really pretty park and just sprayed each other with squirt guns. It was simple- but really fun! We ran around yelling like little kids and Tj actually got pushed in the pond.



Today at school, I was exhausted. I am so tired. But I smiled because today I got to teach six classes of adorable Korean kids how to juggle, and teaching juggling just feels like home to me. It reminds me of Gym Masters and everything I did all the time last year. Then at mission school, we got to sing and dance to these super fun Christian songs that just make me laugh and come on- they have to make you smile.




I love group Australia and all the kids I have been teaching! I've been having so much fun in Korea =)

Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Great Commission

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. Matthew 28:18-20

"I've lived my life a little too calmly. Don't let the Great Commission die within you"- Matthew
Ahn

Do we realize the responsibility that we have to preach to everyone we come in contact with that Christ is coming soon? Do we take our calling seriously?

My grandmother used to tell me never to forget to bow my head and close my eyes when I prayed before meals because it gave attention to Jesus. Honestly as a kid, and even sometimes now, that's the last thing I want to do. Am I embarrassed of Jesus or being a Christian? Not exactly. But then again, sometimes the last thing I want to do is make myself stand out from everyone else and be different. Yet like it or not, sometimes that's the exact thing Christ calls us to do: to stand up boldly from Him and set ourselves apart from the world.

Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.


Friday, July 26, 2013

Happy Sabbath from Korea

Everywhere we go, people stare at us and bow down. They treat us special because we are white. They give us forks at almost every restaurant and are quick to say hello. When we walk down the roads, cars look at us through their windows. We are strange- and it is almost like we are on display. It feels like everyone is watching us.

Today we went to Ocean World. It is a waterpark similar to Schlitterbahn in the US. It was fun and very nice although crowded with an unimaginable amount of people. We went in the wave pool that had waves 8 feet tall! 8 feet- it would literally knock us to the ground and into other people! It was crazy!

I like Korea- it is a great learning experience and chance to explore different cultures, but I am totally exhausted. I'm very thankful that tonight is Sabbath!

즐거운 휴일 되세요.
jeulgeoun hyuil doeseyo
Happy Sabbath =)




Thursday, July 25, 2013

Do something

I read this story on facebook today.

"Pastor Jeremiah Steepek (pictured below) transformed himself into a homeless person and went to the 10,000 member church that he was to be introduced as the hea...d pastor at that morning. He walked around his soon to be church for 30 minutes while it was filling with people for service....only 3 people out of the 7-10,000 people said hello to him. He asked people for change to buy food....NO ONE in the church gave him change. He went into the sanctuary to sit down in the front of the church and was asked by the ushers if he would please sit n the back. He greeted people to be greeted back with stares and dirty looks, with people looking down on him and judging him.



As he sat in the back of the church, he listened to the church announcements and such. When all that was done, the elders went up and were excited to introduce the new pastor of the church to the congregation........"We would like to introduce to you Pastor Jeremiah Steepek"....The congregation looked around clapping with joy and anticipation.....The homeless man sitting in the back stood up.....and started walking down the aisle.....the clapping stopped with ALL eyes on him....he walked up the altar and took the microphone from the elders (who were in on this) and paused for a moment....then he recited

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

After he recited this, he looked towards the congregation and told them all what he had experienced that morning...many began to cry and many heads were bowed in shame.... he then said....Today I see a gathering of people......not a church of Jesus Christ. The world has enough people, but not enough disciples...when will YOU decide to become disciples? He then dismissed service until next week.......Being a Christian is more than something you claim. It's something you live by and share with others."


When will we stop learning about Jesus and start truly acting like Him? When will we stop criticizing others- if we are the body of Christ? When will we unify and give money to anyone who needs it- willingly sharing as Christ gave to us? When will we change? What will it take for us to learn to give 100% to God and truly follow Him in His actions?

I find it is so hard to do this in America. I know it is possible- but sometimes it seems impossible with how selfish and "me-centered" our society constantly is. This is one of the reasons why I'm going to Peru: to help make it easier for myself to learn to be less selfish and act more like Christ.
But at some point in our lives, we will have to make the choice "me or them?" "Me or Jesus?" Following Jesus will not come naturally. Acting like Christ is the exact opposition of this world and everything it teaches us.

A really cool idea to help the homeless is to make "blessings bags". You could pray over them and then stick in things like snacks, deodorant, toothbrushes, ect to help a homeless person out.

 


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

In Korea..

Teaching vocabulary continues to be ALOT of fun. Yesterday we played Bingo with m & m's- to these kids chocolate is the greatest thing in the world! I love the Korean students! They are very cute and respectful. Teachers in Korea are rewarded and treated so much better than teachers in America. In America, teachers get spit balls thrown at them, yelled at, and little pay. In Korea, teachers are bowed down too, given a well respected name, and are paid pretty well.

In the past two days I have been able to practice my first-aid skills twice! I wrapped a boys toe that was bruised and cut, and yesterday I wrapped a boys knee that got hurt in "fun time". I was very excited to be useful!

Yesterday night after teaching we went to a special touristy place in Seoul. The restaurant we ate at was called Hollywood America. It was a very nice restaurant that served more American foods. Outside of the restaurant, there were tons of souvenir shops and fancy shops as well. They had tons of fans, postcards, dolls, bookmarks, and paintings. All of us American teachers had a lot of fun!


   This is a picture of all the teachers for the summer camp together. Our principal Ann treats all of us very well and takes us all out to dinner together almost every night.

Teacher Joselyn teaching English conversation to our students
My students wearing masks they made in world culture.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

another Korean day

Breakfast was not very good. It was good Korean food- but my head and stomach is sick of Korean food. I tried to eat my rice and added egg and tofu (even though I hate tofu it looked better than the other stuff). Our Korean mommy was nice like usual and made good table conversation that lasted about 45 minutes.

My first class teaching went very well. I made a slideshow with vocabulary words and a lot of pictures. My class is at “Australian” level which is a pretty basic level for English- even still their English level passes my Spanish speaking by far.
The kids in my class are very cute. At first they were very not shy and would not volunteer for activities or raise their hands in class. I started giving them chocolate for participation and that is changing very quickly!
I like being a teacher. Parts of the day when I just assist teacher Joselyn get boring though. I read a book during part of the class because I was about to fall asleep. Oh yes I got to use my first aid skills today with a boy who had a very swollen, bruised, and cut toe. I felt so proud.

After school, we got real American pizza. Kimmy and I were beyond ecstactic. I've almost digested enough Korean food as I can take and I know it' only been like 4 days here- but man it's bad! After the pizza, we went walking to the stores and "nightlife" just a mile away from our apartment. We got icecream as well because we decided to live it up.



 

Compassion

"Compassion is the sometimes fatal capactity for feeling what it is like to live inside somebody else's skin. It is the knowledge that there can never really be any peace and joy for me until there is peace and joy finally for you too." Frederick Buechner

What is compassion?

People are dying every day. There are homeless people in every big city; hospitals are full of hurting patients that never leave.. so when do we take the time to stop our own lives and do something about it? Do we need compassion even if it means risking hurting ourselves or risking rejection?

My friend Kaelibeth and I were talking one day about student missions and how we want to serve the world because there is so much need. She said that it frustrated her often because when sften she told peole her dreams, they said she shouldn't spend her time worrying about other people's problems and pain because they would always be there.

I understand that there is tons of brokenness and hurting in the world, but I also believe that one person can start a ripple effect of beautiful things that can make a difference and show Christ in a hurting world. If we want to live like Christ, we must develop unconditional compassion. Yes compassion takes sacrifice, sometimes by time and sometimes smiles. But Jesus sacrificed His life for us, so we should be willing to give our lives to help the people around us.

"Charity is more common than compassion. Charity is tax-deductable. Compassion is time consuming."

The Good Samaritan story has been revised and replayed countless times in modern society. Often the news shows tragic stories about accidents where there is a man or woman hurt on the side of the road and they end up dying because nobody stops to help at all. The funny thing is in other situations, all it takes is one person to jump in and help- then suddenly there is a huge crowd willing to do anything to help the hurting person.

These stories were someone is injured on the side of the road and nobody helps- those baffle me. Why should it make a difference if we are the first person to see the person hurting and do something or the last? Do people have compassion and just fear rejection? Or do people lack compassion and only join in because of peer pressure, obligation, or in order to impress their neighbors.

Whatever the reason, we must stop our excuses, and develop Christ-like compassion that is true. When people see the difference in us, that we care and will do something to help, they will come to know Christ sooner and learn His true character. If we decide that we will demonstrate compassion no matter what the cost or the sacrifice, Christ will bless us and use our kindness to do amazing things.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Korean School

In Korea, education is worth much sacrifice. Students study long hours every day at school and do many hours of homework on their own. If students don't pass the test to enter college, they get very depressed and tragically, many even attempt suicide. The Korean summer is only one month long! I'm so glad I don't live here since summer is definitely my favorite part of the year!

The camp I am teaching at is called the Sahmyook English Summer Camp at Sahmyook middle school. I am an assistant teacher for a lady named Joselyn who speaks Korean but lived in Australia. I assist her with teaching English conversation, and I teach vocabulary every morning.

Today was orientation. The students took entrance exams to see which level of study they will be put in. We are trying to make the camp fun for the kids since it is their summer time, but they still take it very seriously. The top ten kids at the camp get rewarded with free entrance to the school year round.

So far, I like teaching. The kids are very sweet and adorable. Today I sang the "Baby shark song" with them and they loved it. I have to plan for our vocabulary class tomorrow and see what we can do. I hope it goes well!

P.S. Why are Adventists so unorganized? I thought it would be different here in Korea but nope, we still had no idea what we were doing and were running around like madmen!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Korean Food

Korean food is a lot of fish, noodles, rice, and kimchee. I like the noodles and rice part- I try to avoid the fishy smelling things.

For the past 2 days we have not been given dinner here. They do eat dinner in Korea, my cousin, Tj, and I have just not had the privilege of joining them for it. (Our host family keeps forgetting to give us some.) Luckily we brought a few granola bars and snacks from the US to survive on.

Our host family cooks us breakfast every morning and it is actually pretty delicious. We have rice and then some kind of egg food that is similar to an omelet and then a Korean fruit. She also cooks seaweed and kimchi and fried fish for breakfast. She wakes up about two hours in advance and starts cooking everything by hand very early in the morning. I asked her how she learned to cook and she said it just happened once she got married. Hope that cooking magic happens to me too haha.

Oh yes they have cold noodles here quite a lot in Korea. They are like they sound- cold! I do not like them a lot but they are not as terrible as I had imagined because they are seasoned very well. Often there is seaweed mixed in with the noodles and kimchee on the side.

There are lots of markets and fresh produce for sale on the sides of the roads. There are eels, fish, octopus, kimchi, fruits, and all kinds other Korean foods. Here are some pictures.





Generosity

My mother is one of the most generous woman I have ever met. To be honest, sometimes it frustrates me how generous and giving she is. She is always bringing my friends food and presents. She is always spending money on other people. She is always thinking about others and what they would like instead of her and sometimes even instead of us.

The gift of generosity is beautiful because if you are generous you are not only blessed by God Himself, but you will be loved by many people, and experience true joy. Generosity is the secret to true happiness as well as wealth.

Christ demonstrates true generosity in His parable about the vineyard in Matthew 20:1-16.
The landowner started hiring workers at about 6am in the morning to work harvest. The landowner returned back at his field later at 9 am, 3 pm, and again at 5 pm to hire more workers to finish the job. Finally at the end of the day, about 6pm, the landowner returned to pay his workers. He gave all the workers one denarius starting with the workers that came in last.

The workers did not understand. The workers hired last who only worked an hour or three hours were jumping up and down with happiness and thanksgiving. The workers hired first were complaining. They said "These men who were hired last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of work and the heat of the day."

The landowner replied:  "I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? 14 Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. 15 Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?16 “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

The last will be first and the first will be last- what does this mean? This story turns everything we often think about and know upside down.

The vineyard in this parable represents the world and the workers are us. No matter what time we choose to follow Jesus in His work and enter His kingdom, we are equal. If we choose God while we are in a hospital bed before we die, we are equal to the pastor who was born a Christian and has been serving God his entire life.

The most important lesson about the vineyard is that God is a generous God and He wants us to be generous also. Because God is God He can do whatever He wants. He can bless people as much as He chooses and be as generous as He would like.

Here are some of my ideas other than the idea that God is generous why I was thinking God says let the first be last and the last first:

* so the first people don't get cocky
* to show that God's ways are not like our own
* to teach us not to be selfish or greedy
* to eliminate the fighting to be first
* to teach us to love others more than ourself
* to show that His kingdom is not about our pleasure but about God Himself

True generosity comes from realizing that we are all poor until Christ blesses us and He blesses us so that we can share His love with others. "The knowledge of our own poverty brings us to the moral frontier where Jesus Christ works."

So may we be generous because Christ is generous. May we love until we think we would run out, only to realize that we have experienced the never-ending agape love of Jesus. May we give until we rely on Christ alone for everything. May we help others so much that people ask us "What is different about you?"


Peruvian Nightmares

Goodmorning- it's 5:42 am in Korea and I'm exhausted. I didn't sleep very well at all because I had a bad dream about Peru. In my dream, I got on the plane for Peru and as soon as I arrived the student missionaries all started fighting. Then after that I read a note my mom wrote me and just started crying. I might of even cried in my sleep because I was crying so hard in my dream.

When I woke up, I prayed to God and I realized a few things. Peru will not be easy, not like Korea where I have a nice host family to take care of me and my best friend by my side- but that is ok. I'm not going to Peru because I want to have fun. I'm not going to Peru to learn Spanish. I'm not going to Peru to make friends. I'm going because God called me to go there.

I'm going to Peru because there are people around the world less privileged than I who don't know about Jesus' love. I want to show them that they are valued by God. I want to be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ.

I know that at times Peru will be hard and uncomfortable, but I know that because the Lord is leading me He will take care of me. He will watch over me and He will be my rock.

Psalms 23:3,4   He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Proverbs 18:10 The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.

Matthew 28:18-20 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

I will not be afraid of going to Peru because I know that God will protect me.

Korea: the city

Everywhere you look there are stores, towers, and people. This place is crazy busy. People run right into the streets with traffic that you would think is rush hour in Dallas. It's crazy. 10 million people live in Seoul. In all of Oklahoma there's only 4 million people!

$1 US equals 1,120 in Korean money. Kim, Tj, and I cannot wait til Monday when the bank will open so we can exchange our money and go shopping.

We got to see the Korean Adventist University: the second biggest Adventist University in the world. It was nice with huge sports arenas and a bowling place. Yup we went bowling our first night in Korea. We also drove past the Olympic Training Center for Koreans. I would love to check that out more. Here are some more pictures of us in Korea and the city.




Welcome to Korea

Annywonghaseyo and welcome to Korea.

Kimberly, Tj, and I flew into Seoul July 19th. It was a fourteen hour flight from Dallas Texas and we are crazy jet lagged. So far the Koreans are very friendly, nice, and helpful as well as busy. Kimberly and I are staying with a nice host family that lives close to the school where we will be teaching. The father is a pastor with two daughters who are in fifth and seventh grade. The family cooks us breakfast and takes us around town.

Koreans live in tall apartments instead of houses; often in restaurants you eat on the floor with mats; you take off your shoes before entering special places or houses; and the weather is crazy humid with really hot rain.

The food here is interesting. It's definitely totally different from what we are used too- and sometimes hard to digest. I try to avoid the fishy foods and eat the rice and noodles. Tj and I decided that we would not get hungry in Korea because we would choose not to think about eating. This has worked successfully so far as yesterday our host family forgot to feed us dinner.

Today our host family took us to see the Chang Deok Gung Palace. It was huge and beautiful and we got to enter the Secret Gardens. To travel to the palace, we took a subway and busses. Here are some pictures of the palace.










Like a child

Mark 10:15 and Luke 18:15

Many people love children: their smiles, happy giggles, playful spirits, genuine trust, and eager acceptance of love. Children don't have many enemies. If they make someone mad they are quick to forgive.
I can regretfully say many people don't love Seventh Day Adventists. They are known to worry a lot, complain a lot, judge a lot, hard to please, and few of them smile or laugh often. Sometimes when we have to explain what an SDA is it seems so complicated: don't do this, do that only when this.. so many rules.
What if following Christ was as simple as accepting our role as a child of God? Have we been missing out on the blessings of being part of Christ's family with God as our heavenly Father by worrying about many meaningless things?

Unless you feel you need God, and are as dependent to God as a child is to their parents' care, you will not enter the kingdom of God.

Children are..
-needy
-trusting
-submitting
-obedient
-honest
-sincere
-simple
- non-judgemental
- caring
-accepting

Like a child, we should have a relationship with God and trust Him fully; we should be so eager to search God's word, pray to Him, and spend time with Him like a child wants to know and be like his parents; we should be as honest as a child to God and the people around us.

Father God, please accept us as your children and teach us to follow you and trust you like a child.


Prayer


At Wewoka Woods this summer, staff would perform a different prayer skit every night during campfire, teaching the campers how or how not to pray. As I reflect on the skits I watched time and time again, I realize how important prayer is in my life and the lives of all believers and how far away my prayer life is from where it needs to be.
In the skits of “how not to pray” prayers were short giving God no time to talk, selfish asking for things they didn’t need and treating God like Santa Clause, impersonal failing to address heart to heart subjects with God and simply going through the motions, or given at night when no attention was really being given to God because of sleepiness. As I think about these skits, I realize that I have done all these things far too often. How often do I wait to pray til I desperately need God and only choose to use Him as a Santa Clause or wish giver? How often do I run around throughout my day ignoring Christ until bedtime when I mumble a few holy words then shut Christ up and go to sleep?

In the final prayer skit on Friday night, prayer was personal and conversational. God had a relationship with the girl and she would listen to God give her advice about every part of her day: from the guy she liked to her mom nagging at her sister. Christ wants to talk to me like that. He wants to talk to you like that. If we only realized, how much prayer could transform our lives and make us totally different people. Christ wants to live in us. More importantly He wants us to get to know Him.

Ephesians 4:22-24 “Put off your old self which is being corrupted of its evil desires, to be made new in the attitudes of your minds, and live and put on the new self; created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”

Jones writes that less than ten percent of all Christians spend time with God other than during church services. This is tragic because it shows that less than ten percent of all self-proclaimed Christians actually know who God is. Hearing about Him from others will never be the same, we have to know Him for ourself.

We have power beyond what we imagine when we live in Christ and when we pray. We must learn to pray continuously. I want to live and breathe Jesus Christ, his plans, and His thoughts all throughout my day.I know that is the only way, I will be able to survive in Peru next year as a student missionary

So if praying changes our lives and gives us power why do we hate is so much?? I don’t know about you but honestly I just don’t feel like praying a lot of the time. Mike Jones writes that “the reason you and I often don’t feel like praying is because it’s in our DNA not to feel like praying. Human nature seeths with the things of God like Bible study and prayer.”

Long distance is hard- it can be said that being far apart for a time either makes or breaks the relationship. Yet imagine a long distance relationship with no communication- that’s no relationship. No relationship at all because if you can’t see a person’s face and look into their eyes, you need to be able to talk to them, and if you can’t talk to them and learn about them you really don’t know them. If we hate praying right now it’s ok. If we think it’s boring that’s fine. But we have to change that if we want to know Christ. Because without prayer, we will never have a close relationship with Him.

In Matthew it talks about judgment times and when Jesus will separate the sheep from the goats. He writes that many people will say “But what about I Jesus?” And Jesus will respond “I never knew you.” Sure, we hear about God. We go to tons of church services, sing tons of songs, and even listen to a bunch of prayers with pastors or other people. But if you want to get serious about someone you have to invest time in them and them alone. You have to spend alone time talking to them.

How do we learn to pray? First we die to our selfish desires and realize that prayer will be difficult because Satan is doing everything in his power to keep us from praying. Second, we become intentional and focused, setting ourselves up for success making sure that we follow through with our communication with Christ.

If we truly want Jesus we have to die. We have to choose God before what we want to do and what interests us, our hobbies, our passions, our relationships, and our time. We must decide that we will die to anything that separates us from Christ It’s going to be hard but it takes a conscience choice to surrender our own will day after day and just do it: fall on your knees and pray. It will get easier if you start doing it, but if you don’t start now, your relationship with God is not going to simply fall in place. If you want to know God, stop right now and tell him that.

 

 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Goodbyes

I hate goodbyes. In the past, I tend to run and hide and avoid them altogether. But this year I'm not just saying goodbye for a little while. I'm saying goodbye to many close friends and family for an entire schoolyear. PERU PERU PERU is echoing in my mind right now like hard core even though I'm flying to KOREA today, in just 20 minutes.

God is good and has blessed me with wonderful parents, a crazy brother who I love to death, supportive friends, and good opportunities. He is providing the money that I need to go to Peru. He is doing everything.

As for goodbyes, I won't forget. You don't have to forget. I will smile because God is so good to me. I have had an amazing summer and I have the best friends and family ever. My dreams are all coming true quickly. I want to travel the world and I'm so excited to begin my journey! So Korea ya- I can't wait- bring it on; first stop: Seoul.

Remember me and smile, for it's better to forget than to remember me and cry.”  - Dr. Seuss

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Persecution

"To the saint personal insult becomes the occasion of revealing the incredible sweetness of the Lord Jesus."- Chambers

I love this quote. It's so beautifully true. When someone persecutes you or insults you, the worst comes out. Character is not only who you are when nobody is looking but also who you are when someone is yelling at your face.

This week, since I am the lake director (yay me) and nominated myself crowd control coordinator (yay me again) =p I have learned that I am not as great at handling yelling and criticism as I thought I was. Both yesterday and today I acted quite defensive when people began to complain and yell at me and the end was not so good. I would love to see Jesus when He talked to the Pharisees and even the crowd condemning Him at the cross. I can only imagine the love and genuine concern in His eyes in contrast to the sarcasm and hatred in mine. I know that as lake director I have a reason to defend myself and my workers. But Jesus never felt the need to defend His ways sarcastically or angrily to his followers. He knew that His work was justified before God and God alone.

There is a quote that Oswald Chambers writes in his devotional it says "Every time I insist upon my right, I hurt the son of God; whereas I can prevent Jesus from being hurt if I take the blame myself."This quote stuns me. I want to protest and be like "No people are just going to walk all over me, use me, and take advantage of me- that's not even fair. I'll be misrepresented." But then if you think about it- that's just like Jesus! If being like Jesus is our goal, we will need to learn to stop defending ourself and start accepting criticism and persecution.

Matthew 5:39 ,"But I say unto you, That ye shall not resist evil.; but whoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also."

Falling


My goal is God Himself, not joy nor peace. Not even blessing, but Himself, my God.”

“The spiritual saint never believes circumstances to be haphazard, or thinks of his life as secular and sacred, he sees everything he is dumped down in as the means of securing the knowledge of Jesus Christ. There is a reckless abandonment about him. The Holy Spirit is determined that we shall realize Jesus Christ in every domain of life, and He will bring us back to the same point again and again until we do.

In whatever we do we must take the initiative to look for Jesus.

Honestly right now that quote slaps me in the face because I feel like I need Jesus more than ever right now yet I feel so far away from Him.

I’m freaking out right now. Everything is hitting me like a hailstorm, making me gasp for air like the tuber I knocked off yesterday. I have one more day of camp with all my friends, then three weeks teaching English in Korea, a week and a half to tell my family and friends goodbye, and then a plane ride across the world to Peru where I will serve and be a doctor for 8 months!!! 8 months that seems so long- and Peru seems so unimaginable. I mean yes this has been my dream for a long time. I can’t explain how excited I am, but at the same time, I am scared.

God has definitely done the whole Peru thing for me. He made the decision that I was going—he gave me all the right signs. I definitely trust Him and I have no second guesses about my decision to go for a year, even when leaving some pretty amazing friends here. But even though I know Peru is where God wants me, I’m nervous. I really want to reach the people there. I really want to make a difference. I want to learn medical things- so I can heal the people. I really want my life to change- but I really desperately want people to see Jesus through me. I don’t want to go there and stay the same. Honestly, I don’t know how I will be able to come back to selfish America? Ok I’m sorry but we are just so selfish here. I’m tired of living life so much about myself. I know that’s bad and I know people are all like “Well you don’t need to go around the world to love other people and not care about yourself and you don’t need to go be a missionary to find God and get serious.” And I know they are right, you don’t have too. But also that verse in the Bible where it says it’s better to cut off your arm then send your whole body to hell.. I kinda get from that that we need to take initiative to put ourselves in the best positions to seek God’s face and find Him. Because in the end that’s all that matters- our relationship with Him!

It’s really hard for me- my walk with God-especially right now I’m really struggling with it. I mean it’s easy to be nice, I know I’m not nice all the time, but I mean I can be nice enough, I can even suck up. And it’s easy to follow the ten commandments by “law” but it’s harder to love like Jesus Christ and live out the fruit of the spirit. Even harder for me then demonstrating Christ’s love, is the actual relationship. I just find so many distractions in my day, and I want to spend quality time with God. But time and time again I deny Him and I put Him off until I’m way too tired and I fall asleep. This really frustrates me! It makes me so mad!! Sometimes I feel like if I can’t have a steady walk with Christ how can I take any other relationship seriously? I really do need God. But sometimes if I’m distracted it’s harder to see how much I need him. I really do love God so much but it’s definitely still hard to make time for that relationship.

Today I’ve come to that point where I know without a doubt that I can’t do this without God. Sometimes it takes a fall to make you look up and realize you have a Savior that is waiting for you to grab his hand. Today was a really rough day at the lake and a really hard day in my brain. Thinking about everything happening just doesn’t make sense to me. I got really mad today at really small things and honestly I would like to just run away from everything. But I won’t. I can’t. Because I know with Christ’s strength and His help only I can do the seemingly impossible things.

Isaiah 50:4-7 is a paragraph I memorized when I was a little kid and I love verse 7. It says “For the Lord God will help me. Therefore I will not be disgraced; Therefore I have set my face like flint and I know I will not be put to shame.”

Psalm 55:22 “Cast your burden on the Lord and He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.”

Philippians 4:6,7 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

Goodbyes will be extremely hard. I will get homesick. There will be cultural shock. Things will change quickly. Life will move on. But in the end it will be ok because God is there. He has a plan and He knows everything from the beginning to the end. I pray that you trust God with every part of your life as well and realize how crazy He is about you.

"There are times, says Jesus, when God cannot lift the darkness from you, but trust Him. God will appear like an unkind friend, but He is not; He will appear like an unnatural father, but He is not. He will appear like an unjust judge, but He is not. Keep the notion of the mind of God on all things strong and growing. Nothing happens in any particular order unless God's will is behind it, therefore you can rest in perfect confidence with Him."- Chambers

Saturday, July 6, 2013

the Wedding

"Every vision will be made real if we will have patience. Think of the enormous leisure of God! He is never in a hurry. The vision is not a castle in the air but a vision of what God wants you to be. Let Him put you on his wheel and twirl you exactly as He likes and as sure as God is and you are you, you will turn out exactly in accordance with His vision. If you have ever had the vision of God you may try as you like to be satisfied on a lower level, but God will never let you."

Revelation 19:7-9 Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure”— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.”

Revelation 21:2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

A wedding begins with a dream or a vision, a hope for a passionate life with one lover that will last until death. God has a vision and a dream for a marriage with each one of us. He pursues us day by day, minute by minute, waiting for us to realize how crazy in love with us He is. As we begin to accept His love, we begin to trust Him more and finally we begin to commit our lives to Him.

A wedding is designed as a ceremony of purity and holiness to join two people who are committed together for life that they may never be unbound. To prepare for a wedding, two people spend a long time together learning all about each other and serving each other in love. They do everything they can to learn about their partner in the goal of setting themselves up for the best marriage and married life as possible.

God wants to be our bride. He wants us to submit to Him and He wants to live with us in purity and holiness. We cannot be married to Christ if we are sinful because He is a God whose purity radiates fire which would destroy us, the sinner, immediately. If we want to be married to Christ, we must make the decision to take our relationship with Christ  seriously and abolish all sins and idols in our lives.

Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,

John 14:1-3 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.

Christ loves us more than we can ever imagine. He has a plan for us that is bigger and better than our craziest dreams. He has a home for us that lasts for eternity. Sometimes thinking about all that God has done for us seems too good to be true, and it is. But God's love for us is real and His gift of eternal life and peace is true. What do we have to do? We have to prepare for the wedding. We have to seek God passionately and purposefully so that we learn His character and He transforms our evil hearts to pure. Christ will continually pursue us, but we must pursue Him as well. We must purify our lives.

Revelation 14:1-20 Then I looked, and behold, on Mount Zion stood the Lamb, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father's name written on their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven like the roar of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder. The voice I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps, and they were singing a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and before the elders. No one could learn that song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. It is these who have not defiled themselves with women, for they are virgins. It is these who follow the Lamb wherever he goes. These have been redeemed from mankind as firstfruits for God and the Lamb, and in their mouth no lie was found, for they are blameless. ...