Monday, August 27, 2007

when i don't have the answers...

i hate when i don't have the answers...when i have nothing to give to someone!! today, a woman came in (i work at a christian bookstore) wanting to find a book for her 11 year old daugther whose father had just died. i search and search, trying to find just the "right" book. as the woman and i are looking through some books, she goes on to tell me that her daughter's dad had killed himself. i mean, what kind of book do you give to an 11 year old girl whose father commited suicide?? what kind of book do you hand to a little girl and say "here, this book will fix everything. this book will heal your wounds and mend your broken heart". there is no book, there is no "magic" words to say. all i could do is unsuccessfully try to find a book for her. it's not the first time. we get it alot, a customer looking for a book for someone who's lost a parent, a child, a spouse. i always look. trying to find the right thing for them. how inadquate is that?? how lacking. but it's all i have to offer to them. a book. i just wish there was something more i could give...

Thursday, August 23, 2007

"they have left their God to play the whore"

I love the book of Hosea. i love it because it's a beautiful picture of God's undying, unfailing, unconditional love for his children. before i get into that though, here's a little background info. (If time-lines and history bore you, skip the next paragraph. but since the OT isn't actually in chronological order, i find it helpful and interesting to figure out when things are happening in comparison to other events!!)

Before Israel split into two kingdoms, all the Israelites would travel to Jerusalem to worship. The people up north got tired of this travel, and decided to make their own place of worship. They built an idol in Ephraim (one of the 12 tribes), and decided they would worship their own god, instead of going to Jerusalem to worship. We now have the two kingdoms. Israel, being 10 tribes in the northern part, and Judah, being 2 tribes in the southern. Hosea was a prophet to the northern kingdom during Jeroboam II reign, which was from 793-753BC. The Israelites continued worshipping false gods, and were finally taken captive by the Assyrians in 722-721BC. When you read of Ephraim in Hosea, it is not referring to that one tribe, but all of Israel. (For it was there Israels corruption began.) okay moving on...

Hosea was commanded by God to marry a whore. This was to give Israel a picture of their relationship w/ God. They have left their God to worship objects made by man. This is to give us a picture of our relationship w/ God. We are constantly leaving our God to chase other lovers.

"For she said, 'I will go after my lovers, who give me my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, my oil and my drink.'...she shall pursue her lovers but not overtake them, and she shall seek them but shall not find them. Then she will say, 'i will go and return to my first husband, for it was better for me then than now.' And she did not know that it was I who gave her the grain, the wine, the oil, and who lavished on her silver and gold, which they used for Baal." (hosea 2:5-8)

We have all we need in Christ. And yet, why are we always wanting something more?? We are always looking, trying to find satisfation in something else. "For the spirit of whoredom has led them astray, and they have left their God to play the whore." (4:12) i hope that verse grieves you as it does me. the God who gives us life, the God who sustains us, the God who gave the sacrifice of his Son so that we might be saved, that is the God we have looked in the face and said to him "what you've done is great, but i think i'm going to go see what else there is". a quote by Matthew Henry in his commentary on Hosea: "What an odious thing would it be for the prophet, a holy man, to have a whorish wife and children whorish like her! What an exericise would it be of his patience, and, if she persisted in it, what could be expected but that he should give her a bill of divorce! And is it not much more offensive to the holy God to have such a people as this to be called by his name and have a place in his house? How great is his patience with them! And how justly may he cast them off!" and yet, read chapter 11, v 8. "How can I give you up, O Ephraim? How can I hand you over, O Israel? How can i make you like Admah? How can i treat you like Zeboiim? My heart recoils within me; my compassion grows warm and tender." the NKJV says it like this "My heart churns within Me; My sympathy is stirred." how beautiful is that?? the love of our God is so uncomprehendable!

"So you, by the help of your God, return, hold fast to love and justice, and wait continually for your God." (12:6)

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Evan Almighty & Todd Agnew

I went to see this movie when it first came out, if you haven't seen it yet, i recommend you do. It was a good movie, and it actually gave me a few things to think about. Or if you prefer, you can skip watching it, and just read what i got out of it.

I've grown up hearing the story of Noah. But i think a "modern-day Noah" makes the story more real. Someone building an ark isn't really something you see everyday, even in Noahs day. in fact, at this point in time, it hadn't even ever rained before. and yet, noah is told by God that water is going to fall from the sky and flood the earth. Noah had faith and was obedient. i would have probably deemed noah "the crazy guy" and mocked him. which brings me to Todd Agnew. I hadn't ever really listened to Todd much...but i must say i'm now a huge fan of his new CD "Better Questions". (he's got a really deep voice, it kinda scared me at first, but keep listening you'll get used to it) i love the honesty in his lyrics. check out this song.

If You Wanted Me

I’ll admit I’m glad we’re not disciples
Out on a lake paralyzed with fright
‘Cause I’m afraid I might have laughed at Peter
Until he stepped into that stormy night

If you wanted me to walk on water
Why’d You make the solid ground seem so right?

I’ll admit I’m glad I’m not King David
Ruling over everything I see
‘Cause I think I’ve fallen for more than Bathsheba
Your creation’s a temptation for me

If you wanted me to love you only
Why’d you make the moonlight sparkle in her eyes?

I’ll admit I’m glad I’m not John the Baptist
In a jail cell waiting for my day to die
‘Cause at least down here I know what we’re chasing
And it’s hard to trust Your dreams are so much better than mine

If you wanted me to die to myself
Why’d you make me fall so deeply in love with life?

If You wanted me to surrender
Why’d You make these hands able to hold on so tight?

And if You wanted me to be like You
Why’d You make me like me?

Now for my second "Evan Almighty" point. in the movie, after the ark is complete, Noah shouts a warning to the people. He urges them to come onto the boat to save their lives. He tells them of God's message to him. But the people simply continued to mock and ridacule him. They refused to get on the boat, because they couldn't believe that God had spoke to Noah, they couldn't simply walk by faith and believe something that seemed so unbelievable. the people wouldn't budge, but the animals started walking on. Now unless Noah was an professional animal trainer, or fluent in communication w/ every species, neither of which are mentioned in the bible, i'd say there was something else that caused them to walk on the boat. God commended them to get on the boat, and they did. i realize that animals and people aren't the same, animals don't think the way we do. but in a way, that might be a good thing. i think we think too much. in some ways, our thinking causes our disobedience. a dog will run to you when you call it. he doesn't stand there and think "well, what will you give me if i come? is there something in it for me? would i be better off staying here where i'm at?" let us take a lesson from the rest of God's creation and simply obey Him!! here's another Todd Agnew song for you:


It’s funny how a big ol’ fish can hear Your voice
Find one man in the whole ocean and swallow him whole
Because You said so
It’s funny how a little plant can hear Your voice
And grow as big as a tent to give that man a home
Because You said so

And You speak to me all the time
And I can’t obey You to save my life

Well, I can but I don’t, and I want to but I won’t
And I don’t do what I want to
I do what I don’t mean to
And I’m confused
It’s funny how a fish can obey You but I can’t

It’s funny how the bright ol’ sun can hear Your voice along its way
Stop in the middle of the sky for an entire day
Because You said so
It’s funny how a donkey can hear Your voice
And talk instead of bray to set Your child on His way
Because You said so

And You speak to me all the time
Lighting my path with Your words of life
But I can’t obey You no matter how hard I try

It’s funny how a fish can obey You
How a plant can obey You
How the sun can obey You
How a donkey can obey You
Seems like everything can obey You, but I can’t

more todd lyrics

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

court, jury duty, and haiti

the week before haiti was a hectic one! i thought i would be busy enough working almost 50 hours, getting things ready for my absence at work, picking up the last-minute things for my trip and packing. i then find out, after several attempts of trying to pay a speeding ticket online, that i can't simply pay the ticket, i have to go to court monday evening to take care of it. it ended up not being too horrible, though i would still say a complete waste of my time!

the fun is not over yet. i get a dreaded letter in the mail- i'm a prospective for jury duty on Wednesday. as i complain to everyone about jury duty, they all tell me not to worry about it, there's a 9 out of 10 chance there won't even be a trial. so i relax a bit. until tuesday night when i call and find out there is a trial. i call a couple of times, just to make sure. no mistaking it, i have to be at the courthouse the next morning. (yeah, i got really comfortable with the courthouse that week...) so i'm pretty bitter about having jury duty, there's so much i need to get done at work before i leave!! but when i get to the courthouse, and am sitting amoungst the other prosective jurers, i decide that this could turn out to be kinda cool. and hey, who cares what doesn't get done at work?? i should totally embrace the opportunity to miss a few hours of work. i didn't figure i would actually get picked to be on the jury. but guess what?? yes, yes i did. and i loved it!! i loved jury duty! and i got to miss more than a few hours of work, i was at the courthouse for about 8-9 hours wednesday...and the trial continued on to thursday for a good 8 hours! i didn't want jury duty at first because it was new to me, something i'd never done before, and it was disrupting my schedule. but now, i'd make a career out of jury duty if i could.

i thoght about why i liked it, and here's what i came up with: i love to decide for myself what i believe and then try and convince others why they should believe the same. i don't ride the fence or sit in grey. i like to know what i believe is true. it's either black or it's white. it's true or it's not. and once i learn and study and am able to rationally decide what is truth, i'm ready to debate with those who disagree!!

friday, i still have to work, but i get off earlier than usual. so now it's time to get ready for Haiti!!

I had a great time in Haiti, i could have stayed there much longer than a week!! which is why i'm hoping to go back sometime soon. if only money grew on trees... i think i might quit my job and put all my effort into trying to grow a money tree. i think that would be a much better investment of my time. anyway, i don't really know what to say about my trip, except that i had a great time. and i already said that. so here's some pics for you to enjoy. a picture is worth a thousand words!!