Friday, December 10, 2010

When People are Big and God is Small...

...then you should watch these videos! Louie Giglio does a fantastic job of pointing out how creation declares the glory of God, and then bringing it down to a personal level. It really helps put things back into the right perspective. If you haven't seen this message before, I highly recommend it.

These first two are about creation, and it's pretty amazing. If you only have time for these two, it's enough to make you think. But then he switches gear...

Here are the links to the other three parts.

How great is our God.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Perspectives, or Faith and Hope and Where They Belong

Today I went to a Christmas brunch at my grandma's church. A woman named Nicole Johnson spoke, and I really wish I'd taken notes or something because what she said was really powerful and anything I say won't do it justice.
First she talked about how so often she feels like she's invisible - her kids and her husband ignore her and don't appreciate all the work she's doing for her family. Then her friend gave her a book on cathedrals, and as she read it she discovered that most of the great cathedrals of England have no builder's name attached to them. Men invested their entire lives in these beautiful structures that took more than 100 years to complete, knowing that they wouldn't be remembered for their work, because they did it unto the Lord, and not unto men. Nicole went on to talk about how spending your life building a monument for yourself is a waste of time. People will never appreciate us as much as we wish they would, unless we tell them and then they express their 'gratitude' out of obligation. What's worth it is building a monument to a God who deserves to be worshipped with our lives. We may not see the monument completed in our lifetimes, but we will have invested our time and effort in something that is so much greater than ourselves.
Then she talked about the story of Jesus healing a man's shriveled hand on the Sabbath. It was mostly speculation, but there was a lot of truth in what she said. She talked about how the Pharisees may have baited Jesus with the man, egging him on and hoping they could trap Him, and how He saw their hearts and asked them a pointed question: is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath, or ignore the man and essentially do evil by refusing him help when Jesus could heal him?
Then Jesus told the man to stretch out his hand - not the good one, because he knew how to use that one and what to do with it - but the withered one, the one the man was probably trying to hide and maybe had been ridiculed for. The cause of the defect was unknown - a wound? An injury? Had it been that way from birth? It didn't matter, Jesus could heal it. But first the man had to stretch out his hand - to offer up his imperfection, to display his shame to everyone - and demonstrate his faith in Jesus' power to heal him. "This stretching," Nicole said, "separates fear from faith...hurt from hope...shame from trust."
The man stretched out his hand and was healed, and the wounded went away whole and unashamed. The Pharisees, on the other hand, full of their whitewashed selves and convinced of their righteousness, were left with their shriveled hearts and their wounded pride. Why were their hearts withered and cold? Had they been wounded? Injured? Jesus could have healed them, but their pride stood in the way.
Nicole went on to apply this story to our lives. She told us about her tendency to try and control her life and everything and everyone in it. She talked about how in order to grow, we need to stretch and offer up not what's whole in our lives, but what's shriveled and useless. Often we want to hold so tightly to those areas, afraid that if we let go, everyhing will fall apart. "And you're probably right," Nicole said. "But it may be the best thing that's ever happened to you."
It reminded me of that week in youth group when Mark Driscoll talked about the different views of Jesus, particularly the one that says that Jesus isn't king enough to rule over every area of our lives. Until we learn to let go of everything and trust that His hands are more than big enough to hold it all for us, we'll be fighting Him for control every step of our journey.
As temporary residents of a physical world, it's tempting to place our hope in things or people - which are all 'appearances' that will fade away. Reality - the truth of the Gospel and the promise of heaven - are where we should place our hope. Nicole summed it up better than I could: "I tell God, 'please take my hope and put it way up high, so I can't reach it, because I know if I hold onto it I'll put it in the wrong places.'"

Thursday, December 2, 2010


The other day, I was thinking about color - how many different colors and shades of colors there are, how different colors evoke different moods and memories, and how nice it is that we don't live in a black and white world. How boring would that be??
But even though the range of colors that humans have recreated is astounding, how many more colors is God capable of creating? I bet the number is somewhere pretty close to infinity. If you hold up any number of leaves from different plants next to each other, I bet you couldn't find any two that were exactly the same shade of green. The sky's blue isn't the same every day. The number of different colors on flowers and animals is probably near uncountable. Why would God bother to paint our world in such wondrous hues? He could have left it black and white. Seems pretty clear to me that it's an expression of His love for us - and also evidence of His glory and praiseworthiness.
Thinking about color led me to think about eyes, how we perceive color, and how I would venture to guess that no two sets of irises are exactly alike. Eye color is amazing - it's no wonder eyes are fascinating when everyone's are different. Then there's the function of the eyeball. Our pupils widen and contract involuntarily depending on the amount of light they take in. We've all heard this a million times, but if you stop and think about it - it's incredible! Most of us don't understand much about a camera, except that it has a lens and it takes pictures. But even cameras, with all their high-tech settings and program capabilities, can't match the superior design of the eye. While the camera lens position has to be manually adjusted to zoom in or out and focus, the eye lens not only does this automatically, it does it by adjusting the SIZE of the lens.
I don't know about you, but I think that's really cool. And that's not even considering the fact that we see things UPSIDE DOWN, and then our brain takes the images that we're streaming to it for about 16 hours straight every day, and flips them around so fast that we never see anything upside down.
I have a question. How does anyone in their right minds possibly believe in evolution? How can matter that came from who knows where create life that has the capability to evolve into the complex, rational being that man is today? Man is more intelligent than matter, and still no one has been able to prove or figure out how this is possible. I respect people who are evolutionists, especially those who have well-reasoned arguments, but I don't understand.
This is not what I planned to blog on today, but it's probably better than whatever it was I thought I was going to say. I love trains of thought like this - they lead me to a deeper appreciation for God's creation and a deeper sense of humility as I realize, by His grace, that there is no way that I deserve to be loved by a God this great.
All glory, honor, power, and adoration be unto Him forever and ever!!

"For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well." - Psalm 139:13&14

Monday, November 15, 2010

Comic Relief Take 2, Part 2

Parts 2 and 3 of my failure of a storyboard...I imagine they will take some explaining, but I'll let you try and figure it out first. Haha.


(or, another scatterbrained attempt to convey how amazed by the Gospel I am - by God's grace, of course.)

In our culture today, it's all about the newest, best thing. Music artists are constantly putting out new catchier music. Movie producers are always releasing new edgier, scarier movies. Cell phone companies are competing to create the new fastest, slimmest, most poweful phone.
Why the constant change? I think it's because consumers get bored. We live in an age of ADD. If things aren't easy to understand or exciting enough to hold our attention, forget it. And when you see the same movie more than twice, read the same book more than once, use the same phone for more than six months, or listen to the same song more than three times, it starts becoming unbearably repetitive. Like a joke you already know the punch line of - predictable and totally anticlimactic. Consumers need something new to amaze them, shock them, repulse them, terrify them, enthrall them, or immerse them so that they keep buying into new things. There always has to be something better so that it can break through the ever-toughening shell of desensitization and boredom in order to interest us in itself.
But does the short attention span of our society apply in the Christian realm too? In my personal experience it does. If you hear a story told the exact same way enough times, it gets boring. It ceases to impact you or elicit any sort of response. "Preach the gospel to yourself daily" sounds like a good idea in theory, but after a while, when it becomes a simple, emotionless "Jesus died to save me," there isn't a whole lot of power in it. Which isn't the gospel's fault, but
mine. (Yeah, I'm talking about me now.)
Thankfully, unlike the culture, which seems to be running out of ideas, God is never at a loss for ways to bring us back to the cross and reconvict our hearts of the magnitude of the sacrifice it represents. I think that's one of the reasons there are so many books of the Bible that contain the Gospel, or at least references to it or prophesies about it - so we don't hear the exact same thing over and over again. Then there's music that contains the gospel message, different pastors who each present it in a different way, and people in our lives who have different (and often better) views on various areas of life than we do.
When I was stuck in a rut in terms of my appreciation for the gospel, God brought me back to a place of awe through worship, messages, and meaningful conversations with people.
But perhaps the main reason that the gospel never stays uninteresting long enough for the Christian belief system to die off is that by God's grace we are continuously changing! When you watch a movie, no matter how many times you watch the end, it will always be the same. But the ending of the lives of those who are saved already changed - we who were once condemned to death have now been brought back to life! While Christ's death is a finished work, the work that begins in our lives when we believe in Him never finishes this side of heaven. We can't stop being impacted by the gospel because the Holy Spirit will continue to change us as long as we allow Him to - not into people who are more calloused and immune to the message of redemption,
but into people who are more open and receptive to it.
All this ridiculously long confusing rambly post is to say, the gospel is and always will be way better than anything this culture has to offer. Even when it seems like we've grown bored of it, God is not so limited in His resources that He can't make it come alive to us again, even more vividly than before. I have experienced His grace in this way personally, and I am grateful beyond words that He cares enough to humble me and lead me back to a place of surrender time and again.
The end.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Comic Relief Take 2

Well, after the intense profundity of my last post, I needed to take a break from strenuous thinking.

That was a joke.

But I'm going to post something ridiculous anyway.

The pictures aren't the funny part, because the story is rather absurd. The comical part is the drawings themselves, and their clear representation of my total lack of artistic ability. I had to draw (or attempt, rather) a storyboard of 8 frames or more (I drew 12; these are only the first 4) for the story we just finished reading as an assignment for British Literature.

So, here.

Guess I've drawn severed heads now too...sort of.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Just a Thought

There are no "good" liars, only bad ones.

"Jesus said to him, 'Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.'" - Mark 10:18

Monday, September 20, 2010

Be All There

"Wherever you are, be all there. Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God."
-Jim Elliot

Lately it's been hard for me to be content with where I'm at. This has a lot to do with Heather and Whitney leaving this past week. It's much easier to wish that things were different than it is to trust that God has me right where I'm supposed to be. It's my natural inclination to grumble and ask Him why, when really I should be thankful for the incredible blessings He has so graciously showered on me.
This quote is a good reminder to be 100% focused on the tasks at hand when they are at hand. If we're always looking ahead to the next thing, we'll miss the joy that's found in living in every moment God has given us. If we don't stop to appreciate the present, then the future will never be good enough either. We'll take for granted so many blessings that are right in front of our faces. We'll get so caught up in not wasting time, in always moving forward, that all we'll do is waste our time. That's not a good place to be living in.
I pray that God will continually help me to treasure every day and understand that it is another opportunity that I did not earn to live, laugh, and spend time with those I love.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

How Marvelous

We are nothing.

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have set in place, what is man that You are mindful of him, the son of man that You care for him?
-Psalm 8:3&4

Show me, o Lord, my life's end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life. You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before You. Each man's life is but a breath.
-Psalm 39:4&5

All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field. The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the Lord blows on them. Surely the people are grass.
-Isaiah 40:6&7

Surely the nations are like a drop in a bucket; they are regarded as dust on the scales...Before Him all the nations are regarded as nothing; they are regarded by Him as worthless and less than nothing.
-Isaiah 40:15&17

He is everything.

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
-Genesis 1:1&2

He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and it's people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in. He brings princes to naught and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing. No sooner are they planted, no sooner are they sown, no sooner do they take root in the ground, than He blows on them and they wither, and a whirlwind sweeps them away like chaff. "To whom will you compare Me? Or who is my equal?" says the Holy One. "Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of His great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing."
-Isaiah 40:22-26

"For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways," declares the Lord. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts."
-Isaiah 55:8&9

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable His judgments, and His paths beyond tracing out! Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been His counselor? Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever! Amen.
-Romans 11:33-36

But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.
-2 Peter 3:8

And yet He cares for us.

For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise You because I am tearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.
-Psalm 139:13-16

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
-Jeremiah 29:11

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
-Matthew 10:29-31

Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
-Romans 5:7&8

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.
-1 Peter 2:9

Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.
-1 Peter 5:7

How great is our God.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Gratitude - or a Distinct Lack Thereof

Today, I was asking God for something yet again when suddenly I was stopped in my tracks. It occurred - or was revealed - to me that I'm so quick to ask for things I don't have, and to complain about the things I don't get. But how often do I take a minute to stop and be thankful - outside of church?
The answer's embarrassing. I rarely do that.
It got me thinking about everything I have to be thankful for, and how too often it takes something bad happening for me to be able to see all the good things that have happened. And even more often, I get so hung up on the bad that I completely ignore the good.
This afternoon, for instance. I wanted to drive my dad's car to someone's house, but it had instruments in it and he decided it would be best if he drove it home so the instruments didn't sit in the car in the sun. I was annoyed by this, as I so often am when I don't get what I want. Did I bother to think about yesterday, when I got to drive his car to Costa Mesa and back? Definitely not.
How bout the time the van wouldn't start, and I couldn't go to stables that morning? Did I think about all the times the car has worked fine and I've gotten to stables and home safely, without a problem? Nope.
Or the day my rollerblade got a rock stuck in it, and I had to walk home - did I remember all the hours I've logged on my rollerblades and they haven't gotten anything stuck in them, even though I've skated over pebbles and berries and leaves galore? Not for a second.
When I have an argument with a friend, do I thank God for all the good times we've had and all the memories we've made? Never crosses my mind.
When the weather's cruddy, do I think of all the beautiful days God has blessed me and everyone else in the area with? No way. I just complain about whatever it is - the heat, the wind, the cold.
The list goes on. And on. And on. My natural tendency is to ask for either something different than what I've been given, or for something I don't have. When I don't get what I want, I complain. Contentment isn't really in my vocabulary. Dissatisfaction certainly is. I am a complainer by nature. Nothing is good enough for me.
And yet... everything I have is something I don't deserve. The only thing I do deserve is eternal separation from God. I don't even deserve to know the difference between a good day and a bad day. I only deserve to know endless, miserable, agonizingly torturous days on end. FOREVER.
How do I forget that so easily? I never should have experienced anything good. I only should experience things that are infinitely, unfathomably worse than anything I've ever experienced. Even on the worst day imaginable, I am still blessed beyond belief.
I shouldn't know what a really sweet, ripe mango tastes like. I shouldn't know how good a cucumber tastes. I shouldn't know how majestic mountains and rivers and valleys and lakes and trees are. I shouldn't know what it feels like to accomplish something. I shouldn't know the feeling of joy, or hope, or peace. I shouldn't know what a hug from a good friend feels like. I shouldn't understand laughter or happiness or even grief. I shouldn't know what it feels like to be loved - to know I'm loved.
But I do. Because He loves me.
And still I get angry and upset when trivial things don't go my way. It's...sickening.
Change my heart, oh God. Open my eyes to Yours wonders anew, and enable me to see everything You've given to me that I could never deserve - even in the midst of difficult times. Help me to remember all the good times and things that I never should have experienced the next time I face a minor setback or inconvenience. Nothing in this life can possibly be as bad as the fate I should have known - and nothing in this life is as good as the future I know I have in Christ.
To Him be all thanks and praise.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Humility and Greatness

"I believe in the doctrine of election, because I am quite certain that, if God had not chosen me, I should never have chosen Him; and I am sure He chose me before I was born, or else He never would have chosen me afterwards; and He must have elected me for reasons unknown to me, for I never could find any reason in myself why He should have looked upon me with special love." -Charles Spurgeon

I've heard several meaningful quotes this week, but this one really stuck out. Not only is it a humble admission that man can't earn his own salvation, it came from a prominent pastor of the nineteenth century - one who preached to about 10,000,000 people in his lifetime and who is remembered as the "Prince of Preachers." If anyone could be called a good person, it was Charles Spurgeon. If anyone could justify pride in himself and his achievements to another man, it was he. And yet, he understood that even his greatest good work was nothing but filthy rags before the unfathomable holiness of God. He impacted the world and he remained humble, living out the truth he believed - that he was nothing without God.
And somehow I, Emily Macadam, an absolute unknown with no claim to greatness or fame, struggle with humility. As if I had any reason to be proud of myself and my insignificant accomplishments. Oh that God would continue to change my heart and conform me to the image of His Son, in order to glorify Himself in my life. I am nothing. He is everything. I did not save myself. There is nothing in me with which I could possibly commend myself to God. If I love Him, He must have chosen me, for I never would have chosen Him of my own accord. I pray that this truth would be more deeply impressed upon my heart daily and that, by the power of the Holy Spirit, I would live in a manner that indicates my belief in said truth, for His glory alone.

Friday, July 9, 2010

More Thoughts

I'm working on more conference post(s) but I was struck today with this train of thought, not unlike my previous one a while back.

How many times a day do I miss an opportunity to bless someone, be it with a simple smile or "hello" or compliment or encouragement? I come in contact with people every day, even if it's just my family. How often do I impact people negatively instead of positively, attacking instead of defending, criticizing when I should be uplifting? It's my natural tendency to be sarcastic and mean. It's much harder to be loving and supportive.

I think sometimes that I go out of my way NOT to say hello and ask someone how they're doing. It's a simple gesture but who knows what difference it could make if I did it, instead of just passing by? How many people would see the light of Christ in my life if only I was a friendlier person?

Not that I'm some great benefactress who would be loved and respected if only I bothered to recognize those below me. Of course not. What I am is a child of the Living God who is loved much more than I could ever imagine and certainly ever deserve, and I should extend love to those around me out of the abundance that I have been given rather than ignore them, as if I am above them, which I am most definitely not.

I pray that God would continue to soften my heart not only to Him but also to the people He has placed in my life, that He would give me His eyes to see them as He does, precious in His sight and just as in need of encouragement as I am.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Behold our God

So I just got home from Together 2010 literally like ten minutes ago, and I'm still the best way possible. Over the course of the past two and a half days I have spent over ten hours worshiping and listening to sessions on the greatness of God. It's evidence of God's grace right there that not only was I not opposed to sitting for that many hours, I WANTED to. Now it's a little hard to come back down to earth and come to grips with reality again. At the moment everything seems so...insignificant. All I want to do is worship. But for some reason it seems harder to do that on my own than in a room full of what, like eight hundred people? All raising their voices together to create what might possibly be one of the most beautiful sounds on earth. It's hard too to translate the principles and truths Dr. Ware taught on during the sessions into everyday life. It's easier to digest deep spiritual truths in an almost ethereal setting like the conference, where a body of believers from multiple churches and more than one state has come together to fellowship. It's harder when I get home and I have chores and mundane daily tasks and siblings to deal with. But God is the same God now as He was while I was in San Diego. He is still mercifully holy, self-sufficient, indescribably loving, and sovereign over all. And I can worship Him regardless of where I am. That in itself is amazing. I can worship - I can approach the King of kings and Lord of lords in my lowly state of less than nothingness. I can bring my requests and petitions before Him and He will ALWAYS extend His scepter to me, and never condemn me for daring to enter into His presence. He is always with me - us - and we have a promised inheritance as sons of God. And I - we - did absolutely NOTHING to deserve any of the blessings He has so lavishly showered upon us. It's tempting to think that I'm something sometimes, but just the briefest glimpse at my heart reveals how deeply sinful - how absolutely, utterly wretched I am and I see, not even to the fullest extent but at least somewhat, how very little I have to commend myself. I have nothing, in fact. And yet I have been CALLED. I have been CHOSEN. I was PREDESTINED to be a child of God, to be welcomed into the Most High's family as a daughter of the living God! How spectacular is that? I did nothing and I have gained everything. Where's the justice in that? Especially considering that God's only Son Jesus took all the wrath that I deserved and absorbed it in Himself so that I might have life. And have it to the fullest. How is it that this becomes so commonplace and trivial so easily? It's...tragic. I know that I lose my admiration and wonder for this, the greatest of all love stories, far too quickly. I need to be reminded so often - like every five minutes - and this conference was a powerful reminder that I pray will have a long-term impact on me.
There's so much more I could and want to say, and maybe I will eventually, but this is turning into a scatterbrained novel so I'm going to stop now. After this.

I once was lost in darkest night
Yet thought I knew the way
The sin that promised joy and life
Had led me to the grave

I had no hope that You would own a rebel to Your will
And if You had not loved me first
I would refuse You still

But as I ran my hell-bound race
Indifferent to the cross
You looked upon my helpless state
And led me to the cross
And I beheld God's love displayed
You suffered in my place
You bore the wrath reserved for me
Now all I know is grace

All I have is Christ
Jesus is my life

Now Lord I would be Yours alone
And live so all might see
The strength to follow Your commands
Could NEVER come from me

Oh Father use my ransomed life
In any way You choose
And let my song forever be
My only boast is You

All I have is Christ

PS: I still need better adjectives...but when it comes to God, no human terms, regardless of language, will ever be sufficient. I don't know if that's supposed to be an excuse or what but I wanted to say it. I'm really done now.

- Posted from my iPod :)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

I'm Not Graceful, But My Life is Grace-Full

"Yesterday is history; tomorrow is a mystery. But today is God's gift - that's why it's called the present."
Every day is a precious gift. Every moment spent alive enjoying God's creation is one we don't deserve. Every second is evidence of God's abundant grace and mercy. Somehow, it's so easy to forget that, especially when the going gets tough. But these past few days have been especially full of little but tangible reminders of how very, very great God's love is for me, in spite of my attitude or behavior. It's difficult to put into words, I'm so amazed by it. It's so humbling that He still bothers to allow good things to happen in my life even while I'm in a bad mood or feeling angry or selfish or prideful or stressed. If I wasn't a Christian, I might start thinking that I must be something special, since the things I hope for keep happening. But because I am a Christian, I understand - even though I often forget - that I did and can do absolutely nothing to merit this grace, love and mercy. It seems so backwards, but the realization that I am incredibly in debt is a peace-bringing realization. And I needed peace this week.
I am so incredibly blessed beyond words. Not just these past couple of days, but every single day, hour, minute, second of my life. And all two of you (or is it just one now?) who read my blog have been a part of this recent shower of grace. So thank you.
That's all. :)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

In The Land of the Deep But Not Profound

I found this poem today. I wrote it almost two years ago on my school's Surrendering camping trip while waiting to go for a hike. It's not very original, and it doesn't make much sense but that's kind of the point I think.
I got the idea from a game (called, as I'm sure you could have guessed, The Land of the Deep But Not Profound) that the seniors were taunting the freshmen with. It didn't last very long though, because it's pretty easy to figure out, as I'm sure you'll see.

In the land of the deep but not profound
There are giggles and sniffles but no sound.
Trees have no branches,
Breezes ruffle no leaves
There are beginnings but no ends
And you can't laugh but you can sneeze.
Feet without legs
Teeth without tongues
You may think you're puzzled now
But I have just begun.
Dollars and pennies, but no quarters or dimes
Milleniums and milliseconds, and yet there is no time.
Millions and billions, but no hundredths or tenths
Books with no libraries, and common without sense.
Letters and addresses, but no pens or stamps
Butterflies and beetles, but no spiders or ants.
Happiness without fun
Sadness without grief
There is a moon, without a sun,
And grass but not a leaf.
Things are not quite as they seem
When there is coffee without any beans.
Feet with no inches, miles, or yards
Millimeters without centimeters
Speed without cards.
There is full but no empty
All but not most
Eggs without bacon
Butter without toast.
Weeks without days, months, or years
School with no teachers
Terror without fears
Pillows and sleep without dreams or beds
All of this stuff is boggling my head.
It's odd, but mysteries do not abound
In the land of the deep but not profound.

- Posted from my iPod :)

Monday, March 22, 2010

He died for ME

Lately, I've been reading through my old journals. Unlike some people I could mention, I don't happen to think keeping a journal is wimpy. =P Actually, it's been really helpful to go back and see where I was at spiritually at different times in my life (I've been journaling somewhat consistently for four years) and be able to recognize which areas I've grown in and which areas still need a lot of work.
One of the biggest, frequently recurring issues was pride. I know I'm not alone in this particular struggle, but it was still difficult to read my own words and realize just how full of myself I truly was. And am. Not much has changed in that regard, unfortunately.
I can't make excuses for it, and I know that. Very well. But it is true that in today's culture, it's extremely easy to get lost in yourself. We're bombarded from every direction with messages that tell us we're special, we're unique, we deserve to be noticed and loved and appreciated and so on and so forth.
And when I say every direction, I do mean every direction. Even in the Christian world.
Take, for instance, the popular song "Above All."
"Like a rose, trampled on the ground,
You took the fall,
And thought of ME
Above all"
So...I was so special that Jesus thought of me above everything else when He died? That's what it sounds like. (The funny thing is that anyone who hears or sings this would get the same message, which means that He thought of everyone above everyone else and that just gets confusing. Anyway.)
Then you hear people say that if there were only one person who would be saved as a result of Jesus' death, He still would have died. So, even if I was that one person, Jesus would have died just for me! Wow, I feel special. I must be something great.
But no.
Jesus died for the sins of the world. Because we couldn't save ourselves He did it for us. We were poor and helpless, trapped in our sinful human nature. We were hopeless. He didn't die for us because we did anything to deserve it. He died for us because He loved us. Because He was (and is) so great that He cared about us little vapors, us blades of grass that are here today and gone before tomorrow, and He wanted to call us His own.
Jesus died because the magnitude of the sins of the world demanded sacrifice. A pure, holy sacrifice unlike any a human could possibly ever produce.
If I was the only person who would have been saved as a result of His sacrifice, and He still died for me, that means my sins - just mine - were enough to crack that whip across His back, put that crown of thorns upon His head, mock Him, scorn Him, beat Him, and ultimately nail Him to the cross. That means my sins alone are too great for me to ever make up for. So great that NOTHING I could do EVER could possibly make me any better, any closer to being holy and saving myself. That means my sins are enough to kill Jesus, the Spotless Lamb of God.
Suddenly, I don't feel so prideful anymore.

Friday, March 5, 2010

How Great is Our God

Today at lunch, some friends, my English teacher, and I were talking about vegetables. Yes, vegetables. Or, more specifically, how they don't ripen once they've been picked. "But tomatoes do," someone said, and someone replied that tomatoes are really classified as fruits. And fruits ripen after they've been picked. Someone mentioned cucumbers as an example of vegetables that ripen. But cucumbers are in the melon family, which means they're really fruits. (No wonder I like them so much.) Then what is a pumpkin? Are squash classified as fruits? What about beans? And peas?
Bear with me, there is a point in all of this.
If biologists had to create such a complex system for classifying fruits and vegetables, one that still isn't perfect and doesn't neatly sort everything into tidy little categories - if we can't even fit "edible vegetation" into a nice little box that makes total sense to any average Joe, what does that tell us about God? If we can't sort animals into an organized, structured, faultless system, because some mammals lay eggs instead of giving birth to live young, and some animals live where it isn't supposed to be possible for their phylum or class to live, and some recently discovered animals don't seem to fit anywhere, how much more creative must God be than we can imagine?
I mean, we're still discovering animals on the bottom of the ocean, and in remote corners of the world, that don't seem to us to serve any purpose whatsoever. I'd venture to guess, though, that they have a very unique purpose that it'll take us ages to come up with. That or God just enjoys keeping us guessing. We'll probably be discovering new animal species until the day the world ends, and since we never knew about them, who knows? Maybe God just created those animals for His own pleasure. That's certainly purpose enough.
We were given dominion over animals and plant life, and we still don't completely understand them. How, then, can we ever hope to wrap our minds completely around things like the mystery of the cross and predestination and free will and grace and imminence and transcendence and God in three persons?
I have nothing against those who search out answers to these questions in the Bible, because they're so much wiser than I am. But for my part, it seems the greater my factual biblical knowledge gets, the smaller God seems. When all I'm looking for is head knowledge, I stop focusing so much on the personal relationship side. And for that reason, I prefer to leave the debating to those who know so much more than I ever will and just marvel. Our God is so much bigger than anything I could ever imagine and even though I love having all the answers, I am learning to be content in knowing that He knows and I don't. Besides, if I could fit Him in a box, what kind of God would that make Him? Not one worth worshipping forever, that's for sure. Not one who could hold the universe in the palm of His hand and yet care enough about the inhabitants of earth to send His only Son to die for them. That He is so big, so great, so loving, is truly a mystery and I hope I will never lose the wonder, and never cease to glory in who He is, as revealed to us in the Bible, and what He has done for us - neither of which I will fully understand while I remain on this earth. And maybe not even in heaven - who knows?

*It's not like I'm anywhere near perfect, or like I have all the answers. Anyone who's so much as met me knows that. I'm not judging anyone for delving deep into incomprehensible mysteries. I imagine it's really edifying and spiritually strengthening to do so. It's just that personally I would struggle with gaining a lot of head knowledge in areas like that because I like having all the answers, so to step back and be content to let God know everything and me know...well, nothing really, is hard for me. But it's really reassuring that He is so much bigger than me. I love that - that no one ever truly will understand the mysteries of God in this lifetime. It reminds me that He is more than capable of taking care of me and all my worries. That's all. :)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

New Year's

All these holidays. I want to post a lot of other stuff but since they're here and then gone for another year I figure I'd better post what I want to say about holidays now and save my other ideas for when I don't have anything better to write about.
We're four days into a new year. A new decade, depending on who you ask. And New Year's always comes with a ton of hype about resolutions and fresh starts and all that good stuff. There happened to be a blue moon on the night of December 31st, 2009/early morning of January 1st, 2010, which according to some astrologist on, gives people more power to fulfill their resolutions and stay on course and be positive about their progress. I don't want to know what was in her coffee the morning she was interviewed. But regardless of moons, the beginning of a new year does seem to be a good time to set goals and decide what changes to make in the coming year. A clean slate, a new day with no mistakes in it.
So in the spirit of the new year, here's my resolution.

I was gonna spell it out
In detail but
I dropped the call
Before I spilled my guts
The floor stayed clean
Like my conscience would be
'Cause if you heard anything
You didn't hear it from me

I'm sweeping up the seconds
That tick off the clock
Save them up for later
When I'm too ticked to talk
And I need some time
To search my mind
To locate the words
That seem so hard to find

And sometimes I say things that
I wish that I could take back
The most crucial thing I lack is the thing called "tact"
And if you're always so intently listening
Then the smartest thing to say
Is to tell myself not to say a thing

Yeah I gotta keep quiet quiet
Don't let it all come undone
'Cause if I dare open my mouth
It'll just be to bite my tongue
To bit my tongue

I said I'm always close-minded
With an open mouth
And the worst of me
Seems to come right out
But I've never broken bones
With a stone or a stick
But I've conjured up a phrase
That can cut to the quick

And sometimes I say things that
I wish that I could take back
And the smartest thing to say
Is to tell myself to keep

Quiet quiet
Don't let it all come undone
'Cause if I dare open my mouth
It'll just be to bite my tongue
Yeah I gotta keep quiet quiet
Listen to Your voice
Because the power of Your words
Can repair all that I destroyed

And when I finally do
Let it come from You
The peace of understanding grips my soul
You're the reason I
Found meaning in this life
So I'll swallow all my pride
And give You control
I give it to You

And I gotta keep quiet quiet
Don't let it all come undone
'Cause if I dare open my mouth
It'll just be to bite my tongue
I gotta keep quiet quiet
Listen to Your voice
Because the power of Your words
Can repair all that I destroyed
And I gotta keep quiet quiet
Don't let it all come undone
'Cause if I dare open my mouth
It'll just be to bite my tongue
Bite my tongue

-"Bite My Tongue," Relient K

(side note: this is post number 20, for anyone who cares. that's something of a milestone for a negligent blogger, I think :P)

- Posted from my iPod :)