Tuesday, December 9, 2008

God's Word, Matthew Henry, Thomas Jefferson, Wendell Berry, et al.

The title reflects where I've been these past few days. I have no (or very little) motivation towards finishing these last few days of the quarter. I really would love nothing better than to curl up with the above and read and snuggle in my big bed. However, I am not completely irresponsible. I have been going to work, I have been tutoring, I have been working on revisions and such for the final portfolio due Thursday. Tonight, I'm skipping my tutoring session in favor of a study session in Sumas, (boonies!) for my math class. If I can pull off this quarter, I can pull off anything. I'm feeling rather ragged, but the end is in sight: Thursday at 5pm, I am done with this edition.

I'm reading Exodus right now, well, P and I are, each on our own and then talking about what we've read the following evening. Having Matthew Henry's Commentary is beneficial, and enlightening. I've been taking notes, and as always, marking in my books. I can't seem to stop myself, and I find that I absolutely love it, making God's Word a more real experience, a growing and evolving relationship. I used to believe that the Bible was to be kept sparkling clean. But one day, sitting in service, I looked to my left, and this young man had his Bible marked up, sticky-noted, and the overwhelming feeling I got from seeing that was: "Oh wow. He really reads his Bible."

Think about that for a minute. He really reads his Bible.

Wendell Berry, in an interview in July of 2008 (The Sun), states that "[r]eal reading, of course, is a kind of work. But it's lovely work. To read well, you have to respond actively to what the writer's saying. You can't just lie there on the couch and let it pour over you. You may have to read with a pencil in hand and underline passages and write notes in the margins. The poet John Milton understood that the best readers are rare. He prayed that he might 'a fit audience find, though few'".

I feel very strongly now, that I am finally READING my Bible. Establishing a deeper connection with God's Word, and listening to His Voice with more open ears. I honestly suggest it to anyone who does not currently mark up their Bible.

And, I have one last announcement, and prayer request. Several of my friends are pregnant, or have just had their babies, and I would ask that each of you please say a prayer of thanksgiving and for protection for these new lives. They are each and every one a blessing, and deserve the very best that God has for them. Also, two good friends of mine are having a spot of marital discord. I would ask that you pray for them, as well. I am of course not mentioning names, but I fully believe that God's on top of it all, and obviously knows who you're talking about. And finally, a wonderful person who comes to my coffee shop with his wonderful little dog is having open heart surgery on the 16th. Please pray that he has a safe and uneventful experience, and that he heals as God sees fit.

Thank you all! And have a wonderful God-Inspired Day!!!!!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Living Fearlessly...

This morning, in my email inbox, this little gem (!) was waiting for me. Granted, I didn't have time until almost eleven to take a peek, but I'm so very glad that I did. Some choice words that really struck me this morning:

"So the banks were fine after all. Just a little blip. Phew. But then something bigger hit me, much more troublesome. For one, I was ashamed how quickly I allowed myself to get freaked out over my own over-active imagination (though in this economic climate, it wasn’t that far-fetched to imagine!). For two—and this was the biggie—I realized that never in my worry had I prayed or sought God’s counsel or comfort. I ultimately found relief in my Blackberry.
This wasn’t the first time this sort of thing had happened. While I’m not necessarily a worrywart, I do have a tendency to let stress take hold, to let my mind go to the most extreme scenarios, and then, worst of all, to forget that indeed God is Lord of all. And that that same God—who is Lord of all—has told me not to be afraid, not to worry, and to take heart—because he has overcome this world of troubles.
And yet, how quickly I forget when things get scary, worrisome, and troubling. How quickly I turn to things like email alerts—and what other people are telling are telling me about situations—while forgetting to seek the Voice that really matters.
Even in times such as these, which seem awfully scary, I want to live fearlessly. But I need help. Any tips?"

What's amazing to me is that, on a regular basis, such thoughts and feelings are my life. That's what I experience. And it's only now and again that I truly realize, this is NOT what He intended.
I've had fits and starts of reading regularly in my Bible, and fits and starts of praying regularly, and fits and starts of this and that. But inevitably, those fits and starts never lead to what I want, a mature relationship with Christ as my Lord, and Savior. I like to tell myself that I'm getting better at it, this ephemerous-relationship-thing, but there's still a huge part of me that believes that you aren't truly "there" until it's PERFECT. Is that real? Or is that the Devil I'm listening to?
A lot of things are confusing, at times. But I do know, honestly, that if I ask, I shall receive, and the door shall be opened to me, if I knock. I guess old habits are hard to break, because knocking and asking are still pretty difficult for me. I am, however, getting better at it.