Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Psalm 51

"Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin...Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me...The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise." Psalm 51

This was written by a guy named David shortly after he was confronted by a friend for committing adultery with another man's wife, a man he later murdered to cover up the mess he got himself into. David's name means "a man after God's own heart." A man after God's own heart?? How did he earn THAT name??? He didn't earn it and it wasn't by mistake that he got the name. God had chosen to use David to do mighty things, and he DID, even amidst his failings. He was a king, a father, an heir to Jesus. One of the things that set David apart from other men of his time that participated in the same sins was his repentant and teachable heart. He WAS a man after God's heart and he sought hard after God. He sought forgiveness.

My old college roommate (graphic art minor) painted this picture to portray the meaning of this chapter and the healing that takes place when, after messing up, we PRAY to be made new, steadfast, washed, cleansed from our sin. More than anything else the God who created us longs to have a right relationship with us, to extend his grace, mercy and forgiveness.

Going through life by far it has been the times when I've messed up, been broken and embarrassed by the sin in my life that God has been most glorified. It's been in those times and moments when He used my human-ness to be an encouragement to someone else or a testimony of His provision and healing. What a beautiful portrayal of this passage. A man being made new with a steadfast spirit, given a new heart that is even bigger than before not inspite of having sin but through the healing and forgiveness from sin that comes when we ask. God doesn't need "perfect" people to do good works for him. He IS perfect and has that piece under control. He needs people who are broken, made humble and teachable. As a dear friend said recently to me, "I don't need a God who will protect me, love me, do good things for me (although those are nice and God DOES do those things). I need a SAVIOR. Someone who loves me enough to save me from the sin in my life." It is by GRACE we have been saved, not by works lest any man boast. Where would we be without grace? Praise you Lord for your abundant GRACE!

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Hummer Time!

Last night we had a senior youth girl sleepover at my place. It was a smaller group b/c of holiday plans, activities, sports but we had a blast. Food was plentiful and constant, socks were exchanged (new ones) in a Chinese auction, games were played and chick flicks ran into the wee morning hours. I introduced them to "Bohnanza" an addictive card game my old college roommate sent me a couple Christmases ago, thanks Kari! Ella, we played it this summer when I was down. It's comparative in some ways to slow motion version of "Pit." By 2 a.m. it was getting hysterical! Inhibitions are significantly decreasing by that time and manifest themselves very differently in different girls. Mayerly for instance reminded me of Dori from "Finding Nemo," not a clue what was going on when her turn came around, Elizabeth Golter on the other hand was in prime lawyer negotiation mode and a bit on the aggressive side, myself...totally calm and rational! HA, right!!

A funny ending, May and Natalie left to go home (just a mile down the road) and ended up high centered in the ditch and stuck for a good while waiting for assistance. Natalie's dad came to the rescue but to no avail, May's blazer was STUCK! But lo, just as all seemed lost, a neighbor drove by in his hummer. The true test of a hummer's stellar ability was put to the test and yes he succeeded in getting her out...after a couple tries. Impressive to see a Hummer actually put to the test. As they worked at getting the vehicle unstuck, I stood by ready with my camera to get some good shots for our senior slide show coming up this spring. Thanks for being a good sport Mayerly!

I'll add more pics later when my computer can process faster!

St. Louis

Imagine yourself in a football stadium with 22,000 other people from all 50 states and over 120 foreign countries singing songs in unison, dancing, and cheering in the new year...that was how I celebrated New Years this year, an unforgettable experience! In my last post I mentioned going to a missions conference in St. Louis, MO. In a nut shell, it is a FULL 4.5 days of speakers, seminars, bible study, worship, and prayer.

It's tough to summarize in a short blog post so I'll share a couple personal highlights. During the seminars (I chose most of mine from the "missions 101" track focusing on going overseas) something God confirmed or affirmed to me was to move forward with pursuing seminary. I don't know that God will take me overseas full time to work with a specific people group at this point but I am going to press forward in the direction until/unless he clearly closes that door. A few years ago I went on a trip overseas and God impressed the need I have personally to get solid Bible training before moving forward long term. One of the speakers at a seminar iterated the importance (criticalness) of this as well.

Long story short, Lord willing I will be going to seminary this coming fall either in Illinios or South Carolina to get a Masters in Biblical Studies. My first choice/desire for school would be at Moody Bible in Chicago, but we'll see how everything shakes out here in the next couple months as I apply. I don't have all the long term details worked out...finances being a biggie to me, but that also is something I need to lay before God and have faith that He will provide. Having just paid off all my loans this summer from grad school I don't want to jump back in to a debt situation. There are a lot of options I'm checking into to keep from having that again...working part time as an SLP being one. Wouldn't that be a change of pace, small school in Wasilla to an inner city school in Chicago?? The country mouse goes metro.

Another awesome blessing that week was my roommates. I shared a hotel room with 3 phenomenal women all in their late 20s early 30s, career stage life. We bonded immediately and had a BLAST together!! That is, when we saw each night for our prayer and debriefing times and for a short morning session. Once our days started we'd all split and go to various sessions and not usually see each other again until we got back (via bus shuttle) to our hotel. Karen is a psychiatrist in New York City, Mari lives in Toronto doing administrative work for a medical clinic and Misty is a mechanic in South Dakota! I loved sharing and praying with you all! Blessings on your future decisions!