Tuesday, April 25, 2006

my testimony...

I just typed this up for some application... wanted to post it. Here's my testimony. From me. The real deal.

my testimony...

My journey with God started when I was very young. I was 5 or 6 years old. At that time there was a lot I didn't understand. As I've grown my understanding has been enlarged... and enlightened. Over the yeares I have become more captivated with God and His Son, Jesus.

My dad was the one that led me into a relationship with Jesus, at least the building blocks of one when I was 5 or 6. At that time I asked Jesus into my heart and asked him to take away my sins... He is my Lord and Savior. I do believe he took away my sins on the cross and He gives me new life, He brought my soul to life. Only because of Jesus will I go to heaven. I believe that. That is my confession.

I have fallen and stumbled many times. But over and over I go to God and confess and he forgives me. He knows and understands everything, he knows why I get angry. Why I'm upset. He is not surprised by anything, I do or say. And he is willing to forgive everything and anything when I turn to him.

He walks besides me every day... sometimes I will sense the Holy Spirits guidance or blessing especially in the little things...

I am learning more about him. I want to have more of a perspective on who He really is. I want to give that love and more of the true reality of who God and His Son Jesus are to the world, to individuals I rub shoulders with. I want to share the gospel of life, in Jesus, with others. That when they die they can know where they are going and for this life, that there is someone who loves and enjoys them. Who created them to be what they are, and will become under His gentle loving hand. That He is there every step of the way. That He will never leave them abandon them, or throw them out.

This has been a journey of discovery. Discovering more of God... how He loves me. That he has a purpose and destiny, a great destiny for my life. It has also been a journey of discovering who I am... the sin in my life. The ugliness... that I am not perfect. That God wants and will make me more into who He made me to be... which will reflect Christ even more.

God is working on me. Leading me gently... even though at times it's very very hard.
Because of God, walking besides me and Jesus inside me, I know where I'll end up. I know my future is in God's hands. I know He is good, no matter what happens.

I want to walk with him into the GREAT destiny He has for me. I know He has more for me, than I even imagine or sometimes even believe.

God is my Rainbow maker. He is my promise keeper. He is the one that Holds my heart and my life. Sometimes the reality of that evades me... but sometimes it rings true in my heart. Whether I feel it or not that is the reality.

"...unveiling the mystery of a Woman's Soul"

A book I'm reading is, "Captivating-Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman's Soul." By John and Stasi Eldredge, John wrote "Wild at Heart." The book I'm reading is for women, the other's for men. It's really good. I'd recommend it for the girl's out there, if you haven't read it yet. THis is my 2nd time through it. I also read "Wild at Heart," which is also very good.

Guys if you want to understand females more and better you should read it. It helps to explain a woman's heart.

Here's some quotes from the book:

"Then the time came when the risk it took
To remain tight in a bud was more painful
Than the risk it took to blossom."
-Anais Nin
"Now can you see how the desires of a man's heart and the desires of a woman's heart were at least meant to fit beautifully together? A woman in the presence of a good man, a real man, loves being a woman. His strenghth allows her feminine heart to flourish. His pursuit draws out her beauty. And a man in the presence of a real woman loves being a man. Her beauty arouses him to play the man, it draws out his strength. She inspires him to be a hero. Would that we all were so fortunate."
"The whole story of the Bible is a love story between God and his people. He yearns for us. He cares. He has a tender heart."
"As Tozer says, "God waits to be wanted."
"...God yearns to share a life of beauty, intimacy, and adventure with us."
"The reason a woman wants a beauty to unveil, [the essence of who she is...not really "physical" beauty], the reason she asks, Do you delight in me? is simply that God does as well. God is captivating beauty....Can there be any doubt that God wants to be worshipped? That He wants to be seen, and for us to be captivated by what we see?"-(Wild at Heart)
"Every experience of beauty points to [eternity]."-Hans Urs von Balthasar
"...The Evil One ...hates Eve because she gives life. Women give birth, not men. Women nourish life. And they also bring life into the world soulfully, relationally, spiritually-in everything they touch." We were made to give life!
Talking about why we are attacked by the Evil One...
"It changes things to realize that, no, it is because you are glorious that these things happened. It is because you are a major threat to the kingdom of darkness. Because you uniquely carry the glory of God to the world.
You are hated because of your beauty and power."
This is good!:
"A woman in her glory, a woman of beauty, is a woman who is not striving to become beautiful or worthy enough. She knows in her quiet center where God dwells that he finds her beautiful, has deemed her worthy, and in him, she is enough. In fact the only thing getting in the way of our being fully captivating and enjoyed is our striving."
"A woman of true beauty offers others the grace to be and the room to become."
"This is what it is like to be with a beautiful woman. You are free to be you. It is one of life's greatest gifts...A woman who makes herself vulnerable and available for intimacy invites others to do the same...She says to the world...,You are wanted here. We want to know you. Come in. Share yourself. Be enjoyed. Enjoy me as I share myself....A woman who is unveiling her beauty is inviting others to life...She is not demanding, but she is hopeful."
"The gift of presence is a rare and beautiful gift. To come-unguarded, undistracted-and be fully present, fully engaged with whoever we are with at that moment. Have you noticed in reading the Gospels that people enjoyed being around Jesus? They wanted to be near him-to share a meal, take a walk, have a lingering conversation. It was the gift of his presence. When you were with him, you felt he was offering you his heart. When we offer our unguared presence, we live like Jesus. And we invite others to do the same."
This ones kinda hard to hear:
"Women who are stunningly beautiful are women who have had their hearts enlarged by suffering. By saying, "Yes" when the world says, "No." By paying the high price of loving truly and honestly without demanding that they be loved in return."
"...it is in the waiting that our hearts are enlarged."
"And so it is with a heart awakened to its sorrow. It is more aware, more present, and more alive, to all facets of life."
So ladies borrow, or buy the book. There's some really rich "soul-food" for the taking. It's blessed my heart already a number of times. It's not just a make you feel good book... it's deep and honest.
Remember ladies everyone of you is beautiful... it's deep inside of you, and if you know God sees you as beatiful, and you live in that truth your beauty will draw others to God. It really will.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

makes ya think...

Hmmm, how do I start. What do I start with?

I've subbed the last two days for the same teacher, high school English. It was fine. Enjoyed it some. Today in a coupla of the classes the story, "The Lottory" was read. In the last period we read it outloud. The ending's kinda surprising. Check it out. It's a short story. And it's pretty interesting.

This last weekend a tenth grader from the high school committed suicide. When I was asking some kids about it at first I was thinking it was a kid that I had tutored in room 37 awhile back. Room 37 is a type of special ed room. Special ed kids go there and others that need extra help. This kid I was thinking about was really big, bigger than me. To put him in a streotype he was a red neck. Blonde, very ruddy complexion. Big work boots. Jeans and a t-shirt. But I was impressed with this kid. I don't remember what his name was... anyways he didn't like it becuase another boy was bad mouthing a teacher. And this big guy didn't believe that kids should treat adults that way. That adults should be treated with respect. That blessed my heart and still does.

So when I was thinking that this big guy was the one that committed suicide I was effected. I worked with him one on one for awhile. We were the only ones in the room. And so looking back I was thinking about if I'd only said something about Jesus.... wondering if anything I said effected him toward God more.... and how maybe that time wasn't the most appropriate time to actually talk to him about Jesus. And how this kid was dead.... I was thinking about when I could possible cry after work. It upset me. It was like wow!

I only had one contact with this big lovely guy, and I thought he was gone. It effected me.

But come to find out the guy that killed himself and the guy I helped weren't the same guy. Phew...Part of me has wanted to see the guy I helped, to know for sure. The kid that took his own life I guess was smart, didn't seem like the type that had a reason to do that. He was big like the kid I worked with.

It's kinda a weird thought process to look back at an experience like that with someone you think is gone. To know you were that close and if you'd only known that he would take his life, that maybe you would've said some thing.

For the big ruddy kid still living, it would make for a good way to start talking to him about God... "Man, when I found out about that guy that killed himself, I thought he was you. It upset me. I was thinking about you going into eternity. I didn't know if you would be ready to die... I just want you to know that God loves you...." If I got a chance to talk to him I'm not sure what I'd say. It would be great to have a chance to talk to him. You could pray that I get that chance if you want... If I do that GOd will work out the details, because at school I have certain restrictions as a teacher, that makes it so I'm not allowed to talk about certaint things without the kids specifically bringing it up.

Man. When you think you know someone that took their own life it effects you... you NEVER know when someone will do that. And to think maybe you were in their life somehow, if only you had said something about God....it's enough to get you really serious, even scared... this life is really serious and the next one is so much MORE of a BIG deal. But just living regular day to day dulls the reality of that. I'd say I have alot of fear about talking to these kids about Jesus.... but if it came up in a conversation and just fit, that's how it'd be nice to talk to them about God and Jesus. When it happens naturally.

Our choices here aren't just little things that don't matter, sometimes what we choose is the difference between spiritual life and death for ourselves and others...

hmmm, such a serious subject... but this is what really matters.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Beauty for Ashes

Beauty for Ashes. Something God spoke to my heart recently. When we give him our broken dreams, the dreams that burned so strong, but now all they seem to be are ashes.... God can take that ash and turn it into beauty. Life can grow out of that deadness...that broken dream...that dream that blows away with the ashes of life. Ash is grey, lifeless, powder and dead.... it smells dry, like empty lifeless hope....that caved in under the crushing heel of reality. In our hands we hold the ash....it slips through our fingers, and blows away with the wind...

Look closely though at this burned out shell of a dream... There's something there? Some color...chills run up and down my spine and I realize His promises are sure.... new life comes out of our ashes. New life comes out of death..."the old has been made new", "unless a grain of wheat dies..." Life from death, life out of death. Beauty for ashes...beauty instead of ash. A flower for a lifeless and broken dream....hope....

Now to totally shift gears:)

Oooooh, I'm kinda tired. Been sick recently. Took Friday off to help out our churches fund raising effort. Had cold then. It really hit me that night. Actually ate a whole garlic clove with applesause. That was a chilling experience. Garlic is suppose to help fight colds. I've had a yucky cold not too long ago and I wasn't in the mood for another. (Wanted to fight it with some Garlic. I was thinking of taking 2 cloves, but decided I had had enough with the one.) But I got another.

The worst day of my cold was Saturday.... and I'm still getting over it, but I'm not sore like I was Sat. Sat. it was like a trackter trailer had run me over, okay a pick up truck....anyways enough on the metaphors, I was SORE, and ahhhh, not alot of energy.... read alot, took a nap ....my nose ran, my eyes even ran, when I was napping(gross huh)....I existed...

It's mostly in my head literally. And on top of that my wisdom tooth has been bugging me.... ahhhh, just cut my head off until everthings back to normal than put it back on. "Many are the afflictions of the righteous but the Lord delivers them out of them all..."

So you see I'm on spring break. Great way to start spring break...I've been wondering about when I should deal with my wisdom tooth. If there's any sort of infection they give antibiotics/wait it out until you don't have any. It's minor surgery....which I am NOT looking forward too. If any one has any stories to encourage me along the line of having a wisdom tooth pulled drop me a line. I was even reading about it when I was more sick, and it didn't make me feel very good. Enough "bawling" about the yuck stuff in life, lets talk about something more positive...

Tomorrow wil be one of my highlights of the week. I'm going with Seniors from our Youth Group to Baltimore. Just talked to my youth leader, at this point there will only be 4 of us. Two seniors and myself and the Brianna, the youth chic. In Baltimore we'll be going to the aquarium and on some cool water taxi... So today to get ready for that I should go on a walk. I've been practically "comatose" these past few days.... actually I've just been really lazy, haven't had alot of energy,taking it very easy. So that tomorrow I won't pass out in exhaustion I should build my body up with a nice walk. It will help my lymph nodes too.

Anyone who hates reading about eyes should not read the next paragraph.....

I called a guy from my church Paul, he and his wife Linda run a ministry called "Hopes and Helps." Anyways Paul's been sick too. Wasn't at chruch either. I was like "I feel your pain." But he has these little polyps in his sinuses etc... and will have to get surgery sometime for them. I think one's even pressing on his optic nerve.... poor guy... pray for Paul. He was like how are they gonna get in there, pull my eye out or something? He's had them for over 20 years. He probably just thought they were some sort of sinus problem.

He and his wife LInda are celebrating their 13th wedding anniversary today. SO if you know them drop them a line or call em... He told me to wish his wife a happy anniversary if I talked to her.

I hope you're not getting tired of all my pics I've been posting. I've been a mite trigger happy recently with my digital camera. They're cool! and fun to take and to see what I've taken.

Because of being sick I've finished 2 books and totally started and finished another. One was on grace, which was really good, by Philip Yancy...the book I read from start to finish, while sick, was "The Cross and the Swithchblade." Which is a neat story. It does deal witht some pretty hard core problems kids in gangs have...just to give you a heads up. I watched the movie before I read the book. The movie is moving. It also deals with some hard core stuff. It's an eye opener to what life is like in a gang...that was like 30 plus years ago so who knows what it's even like today. It also shows the powerful move of GOd in some of the kids lives. GOd moved powerfully in David Wilkerson's life, (a preacher comfy in his church in Penn.) it all started with him putting a fleece out to God to sell his TV. And if he did sell it withing 30 mins. of the morning paper coming out he'd dedicate the time he used to watch TV to praying. So that was like 2 hours everynight from midnight to 2 am. And because of these praying times GOd started to speak to him.... and eventually as He walked step by step in obedience there was a very powerful ministry started in NY called Teen Challenge. It's in other states too. This ministry reaches out to kids in gangs, and on the streets who have drug addictions, are part of gangs...etc...

So for Marie's book list, the recommended reading is "THe Cross and the Switchblade" and watching the movie...and again the book isnt' for the faint of heart.

Happy Easter celebration week! May you connect with the Creator and the Resurrected this week in a special and personal way! And remember what we see as ashes is the medium (an artist term) God uses to sculpt beauty into our lives. Remember Beauty for Ashes.

Monday, April 03, 2006

How's the Weather?

Welcome to Virginia. One of the most scenic states in the good ole U. S. of A. ....
Enough of that "brochure" talk. Krista and I went on a walk, and it was lovely. I kept taking pictures, she didn't always like that. When you take pictures you have to stop and t a k e it, you know;) When we were coming home, (look at the pic with the road that looks dark,) we were being chased by a storm cloud. It was huge, and gray. It started raining, and the timing was perfect for us to get inside before the rain started coming down too fast.

Come and visit please. We could go on a walk down this lane and see what you see in the pics, and the whole experience is defianetly better than the pictures. Because of couse you can see so much more, and if the weather's lovely you can feel the warm breeze, and hear the brook. It's just a celebration of life and spring that washes over you.

The weather today has been lovely. It was colder this morning. But I was outside alot, later, cause I subbed for P.E. and it was windy but it was a balmy windy... than when I came home Krista and I took a walk, I was in shorts and a fleece and got warm enough to break a small sweat.

But they've said we could get snow tomorrow. I hope not. There was a possibility of quite a storm, even heard something about a tornado, but than they said something to the effect that it dissapated. We just got a little rain and now it looks nice outside. Yeah!

Enough about the weather. Ya'll should come down and experience it for yourself, plus the view helps!

(P.S. I know there's 2 pics of one of my shoots. I had trouble trying to edit it. SO at this point I'm just going to leave it be..."scuse...)

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Flowers of Spring

I had trouble uploading all the pics I wanted to on the other blog so here's some more flowers. Aren't they beautiful. So fresh and alive and new!

The Winter has past and Spring has Sprung!

Here's some pictures I took today with my digatal camera. Enjoy! We're in the beginning of spring. You can tell that there is alot of "dead" stuff around but we're seeing the beginning of new life too in buds on trees, daffodils and tulips! The winter is past, hopefully, and spring has come ! We've had some 70-80 degree weather which has been lovely. Come visit!