Saturday, February 28, 2009

Feb 28th - From the Journal

Day four, and I have already missed yesterday. It is amazing how I had a great free day, but failed to stop and write.

There are a few ways to react to this: I can get really frustrated with myself, say "I can't do it" and stop right there. I have found that I do this a lot with things in my life. If they are not easy and simple I quit, but other times I have pushed through and the reward has been great, like learning guitar.

Today I choose option two. I am going to push through, continuing through my failures into perseverance.

James 1:2-4
"Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed. not deficient in any way."

Learning guitar was something I really wanted and felt called to do. It was not something I could just pick up and do. I had to practice, fail, and hurt (My fingers), but I am so glad I persevered. I use music to relate to God. Without being able to share that, I would struggle, knowing I was "deficient."

Lord, teach me to persevere.

I am currently blessed with this great music room!

Feb 27th - From the Journal

Feb 26th - From the Journal and then some

I wrote this in my journal based on my last entry, but I wanted to add something more to it so here is the quote with an illistration

Feb 26th - From the Journal

"When one makes a commitment to God it is the greatest joy and hardest struggle. I find when I make a choice like this, almost anything becomes a huge block in the road.
The only way to push through is to seek God. From the biggest to smallest task and distraction, seek God. When we feel depressed or stuck, seek God. No matter Good/Bad, Hard/Easy, Joy/Pain...Seek God.
During this time, I must remember to

The Journal

I wanted to share what my journal looked like, simply because I really like it. I have find it hard to get a journal that it not frilly or girly. It is hard for me to be inspired by that. So here is the one I have, it is simple, but it speaks volumes.

Feb 25th - From my journal

"John 1:8 - 'He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.'

I think that one of the first things that we need to learn in following Christ is that we are not Christ. In fact we are not anything really but pointers. Here to point all we interact with to Christ through love.
The trick is that sometimes in pointing, our finger starts to turn to us. We begin to try to fix everything: we try to fix people, we try to fixe relationships, we try to fix ourselves. But it is not is that is the light that lights the darkest places, it is Christ. When we try to take it on ourselves we struggle, we fail, we get broken, we hurt others. When we try, we are missing the whole idea of Grace.
Grace is this first loved idea that God loves us before we do anything. This also means God is ready before we know we need anything.
If we go to God, and point others to Him, God will heal. We must start with ourselves; admitting we are not God and accepting the beautiful LOVE and GRACE and PEACE that comes with it.


So during the lent season this year, the 40 or so days leading up to Easter, a time set aside to grow, as Christians, in our relationship with God, I have decided that instead of giving something up this year, I feel lead to take something on. I am going to journal everyday of lent. This may seem easy to some and dumb to others, but for me it is what I need. To explain here is my first unedited journal entry on Ash Wednesday:

"Feb 25th
There is something about journaling that scares me. I think that some of it is that I want it to be good, so I should have a finalized thought first. Sometimes I think about starting, but then I do something else first and forget to come back to it.
I guess what I need to do is challenge myself, that no matter what, no matter how good or bad, no matter when or where, I am going to stop for long enough to think, pray, and journal.
I have had this journal for two weeks and until now I have not written even my name in it. There have been several times I have takes it out even with pen in hand and did not touch it.
Today, I challenge myself to write in this journal for everyday of lent. I want to use this as a way of slowing down long enough to listen deep within me, in my soul.
My prayer is God will use this to teach me about myself, good, bad, and ugly; that His Spirit would guide me to love more purely.
This is my challenge and prayer, now it is time to do it."

From here on, I am going to write in my journal everyday of lent, and hopefully beyond. When I have time beyond that I will post them to the blog dated so that it will flow better. Pray for me because this is really something that is not going to be easy.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Great Divorce - by C. S. Lewis

So I have always struggled with reading. It was probably because in school I had to read 5-8 books each summer, and it really made it more of a chore as opposed to a joy. So until about six months ago I had never enjoyed reading a book and have almost never finished one.

Now I have started getting into reading. I have found a few books so far that I have really enjoyed: Blue Like Jazz, A New Kind of Christian, Youth Ministry 3.0, and a few others.

I just finished a new one, The Great Divorce by C. S. Lewis. I have to say, I have read some of his works, but this was the first classic I have finished.

I really love the depth that C. S. Lewis writes from. It is refreshing from a usually more shallow world. Lewis has this unique ability to share this depth of thinking in a very creative and somewhat simplistic way.

This book is a story about Lewis’ view of Heaven and Hell. The title refers to his response to the book by William Blake’s The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. Lewis shares how he strongly feels that there must be a separation between Heaven and Hell.

Through His very clever story, he shares how he feels it might work in the afterlife. I must say that I had never seen it in this light before, but after reading it all the way through I can really agree with his views.

I would recommend it as a great read. If you are in a place where you want to think deeper about some or your beliefs, specifically afterlife beliefs, this is the book for you.

I think that I am going to read The Screwtape Letters next.