Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Distracted by God

This past week, I have been reminded once again about what really matters in life. As many of us grieved the loss of a young man, I have been unable to focus well on the tasks around me. I'm distracted by thoughts of a grieving family and the same prayers of comfort and peace again and again. I'm thankful for God who cares, who's arms are always open and ready to hold those who are hurting.

I sit down with a book, but my mind is somewhere else and I absorb little that I read. I pace around as I listen to soft music thinking and praying. I whisper comforting lyrics to myself and as a prayer to those who are hurting. I'm unable to concentrate on the work I have to do but rather find myself confused and unsure of what to do next. I wonder "What if it had happened to me, had been my brother?" My only word for how I feel is distracted.

An interesting thought came to me this morning. Distracted by God. This life has us distracted by so many things that we have very few moments in our day where we allow ourselves to focus on God, and even then, we're distracted by something else. What if we took just half our time that we generally spend focusing on other things and focused on God instead, spending time in prayer and communion with Him? How different wouldn't our lives be if we were rather distracted by God?

I've been reminded again of Clayton McDonald who went home to be with the Lord a year ago after being diagnosed with leukemia for the fourth time. His message is one that inspires, challenges and makes me cry every time I listen to it. If you haven't heard of him, I would strongly encourage to watch these videos:

Clayton McDonald

Clayton's Story

Look to God in times of trial. He gives strength to go on and comfort for the hurting.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Blessed Spring Life

Life during this month has been nothing short of interesting. It has been full of joyful delight and anticipation. However, it has also been accompanied by a cold/cough that doesn't want to go away and concerns about life. It seems to be much in tune with the weather; some days we enjoy radiant, warm sunshine while others bring to us cold winds and rain.

My life could at present be described as an array of loose puzzle pieces, waiting to be fit together into a beautiful masterpiece. (I feel that God does want to make a beautiful masterpiece of my life.) They just seem to be having a difficult time finding each other.

I'm excited about getting some more hours at my job. I'm looking forward to doing some extra stuff on the side, like improving my writing skills and hopefully planting some flowers and a vegetable garden soon. I'm excited about the prospect of being able to get out more, cleaning up the yard, going for walks, taking out my bike and just enjoying new life. Along with all that, a car has also been on my mind a lot lately and I've been looking around at many different possibilities. All in its own good time, I suppose.

As for my bookshelf, I've been able to enjoy some more reading lately. Last week, I read Wrestling Prayer by Eric and Leslie Ludy. If you feel as I do, strengthening your devotional and prayer life can be very difficult. This book is a great help to get motivated and serious about your prayer life. It takes time and work, but in the end I believe I will be able to say it's more than worth it and I will eagerly long for more. If you don't know about Eric and Leslie Ludy, I strongly encourage you to check them out here. I'm really blessed by their books and teaching. If you desire more in your Christian life than you currently have, they can help you grab a hold of it.

I'm also finishing up Life on the Edge: A Young Adult's Guide to a Meaningful Life by Dr. James Dobson. After that comes Alex and Brett Harris' newest book Start Here. I try to balance spiritual growth and fiction to get more variety, so I also started reading The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, which, believe it or not, I have never read before. And if you haven't noticed, I keep a book list on the side here which I regularly add to as I read stuff. If you have questions about anything, please just drop a comment.

I often can't help but wonder what will be next in my life, but I can only take it one day at a time and seek wisdom from God. I have to faithfully do the work I have in front of me and seek to make an impact right where I am.

Often as a young person, I'm filled with dreams of changing the world and making a difference. But you don't have to go to a different country or start some huge movement or anything to do that, although it's wonderful if you can. Sometimes, it's in the little things right where you are. Often just an encouraging word or smile can go a long way. My eyes were opened to this awhile ago when I watched the movie A Greater Yes, which tells the story of Amy Newhouse, also something I recommend. It will challenge you to reach out to those around you and make a difference right where you are. And yes, it's Rebelutionary.

These are just a few of the things on my mind lately. I hope that the things I write will be a blessing and encourage you in your walk with the Lord. Blessings!

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Kitchen Inspiration

If you're somebody who cooks a lot, you may very well know that often you're in terrible need of some inspiration. Sometimes you just get stuck. Even flipping through cookbooks doesn't help. So, today I will introduce you to something new. It's a wonderful website called Tammy'

What I really like about this site is the way recipes are organized and the fact that there are pictures, ratings and reviews of everything, and there's new items being added regularly. It also features a blog where she shares kitchen tips, menu planning, fun she has in the kitchen with her children and much more. I've been able to try some recipes and have been very pleased with a lot the results. It's definitely worth checking out.

I do apologize for my lack of blogging lately. I hope to get some more in depth posts up soon. Until then, God bless!

Monday, 8 March 2010

Being God's Watchmen

As I've been reading through Ezekiel, I see a recurring theme that shows what we as Christians are called to do. That is, to be a watchman, as Ezekiel was called to be a watchman for Israel. God speaks on this matter in both Ezekiel 3:16-21 and again in Ezekiel 33:1-9. Ezekiel was supposed to speak God's words to the people and warn the wicked of their iniquity. If he failed to warn them and they died in their iniquity, their blood was upon him. If he warned them and they continued in their iniquity and died in it, his soul was delivered.

So Ezekiel was the watchman for Israel. He would stand guard and give warning if there was danger. If he failed to do his job, the consequences were great.

How seriously do we as Christians take our jobs? Are we being watchmen for God? Are we warning people of their sin and sharing the Gospel with them? If we had the responsibility Ezekiel did and our failure came with the same consequences, how many deaths would we be responsible for?

I won't lie about it. I have a very difficult time sharing the Gospel with people. I lack the courage to approach people and speak to them of the condition of their souls. But if I took God seriously, I would have much more work to do.

In Ezekiel 34, God speaks against the shepherds of Israel. The shepherds fed themselves well, but they failed to feed to sheep. They weren't doing their jobs. Here's what God says in verses 4-6:

"The weak you have not strengthened, the sick you have not healed, the injured you have not bound up, the strayed you have not brought back, the lost you have not sought, and with force and harshness you have ruled them. So they were scattered, because there was no shepherd, and they became food for the wild beasts. My sheep were scattered; they wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. My sheep were scattered over all the face of the earth, with none to search or seek for them."

Would God have to say the same thing about us? Jesus commanded us to do the very things these shepherds failed to do, to strengthen the weak, heal the sick and seek out the lost. Very often however, we turn away. Or how often do we look down condemningly on others, even other Christians? We often exercise harshness more than gentleness and as a result many people are scattered and have become food for the wild beasts of the world.

Because the shepherds of Israel didn't seek out the lost sheep, God said He would do it and He established a covenant of peace. In Ezekiel 34:31 He said "And you are my sheep, human sheep of my pasture, and I am your God, declares the Lord GOD."

Are you being God's watchman?

Monday, 1 March 2010

Stand for Truth

The last few weeks have caused me to do a lot of thinking and a lot of praying about my life. I'm experiencing the Lord's cleansing in my life, and although it's a painful process, I know it's one that will result in growth. It has also caused me to look forward and pray that the Lord would give me a work to do, to have a meaningful life, that I would be able to make a difference with my life.

Yesterday, I heard yet again, a much needed message in my church. It showed me once again how far morality in our society has fallen. It's being overrun by the idea of "moral relativism" that says there is no absolute truth, nothing is black and white but rather gray, there's no real right or wrong, and people have to be tolerant of everything. It seeks to destroy all standards and the scary part is, the church is largely be sucked in by this deception.

We once lived in a society where leaders had a faith in God and upheld good moral principles. We once lived in a society that respected the sanctity of marriage and life. We once lived in a society where love was a choice and an action, not merely an emotion. We once lived in a society where men would boldly stand up for what was good and right and stand against evil.

What has it come to? We live in a land where homosexuality is accepted and the sanctity of marriage and the family has been destroyed. Babies are being killed everyday by the thousands. Men can boldly stand up and strategically plan and carry out great evil, despite the consequences, but are too cowardly to stand up for what is good, right and true for fear their reputation may be tainted. And sadly, many of us Christians are those cowards.

It has reminded me of a few books I would strongly recommend:
The Bravehearted Gospel by Eric Ludy
In His Steps by Charles Sheldon
Unfashionable: Making a Difference in the World by Being Different by Tullian Tchividjian

I am currently in the middle of reading In His Steps and it has challenged me to evaluate my Christian life. I have found myself to be very weak. How far am I willing to go? What am I willing to sacrifice? Am I willing to live in absolute obedience, no matter what the cost? These are difficult questions to answer but to be answered they must.

I'm very thankful for God's faithfulness and I know these are steps toward maturity in Christ. I know that He will provide the strength to stand up. May He ignite a passion in every one of us to live radical lives for the glory of God.