Saturday, June 23, 2007

I Drew a Comparison b/w driving a Motorcycle through a West Texas Storm and Living Life in Accordance with God's Will + Endurance Through Its Trials

Storms chased us throughout the afternoon. we barely missed several. then when we got into Texas we saw the most amazing lightning show i have ever seen! to the south, a storm was sending off at least 2 lightning bolts at a time (usually more) constantly!! It was gorgeous. It was after dark and the sky was just lit up! we got hammered by the storm for about 5 minutes only. that was scary- the wind was blowing so hard- i couldn't open my eyes and I had to hold my glasses onto my face. I don't know how dad drove. And I thought the raindrops would give me bruises they were hitting us so hard.
Driving between Dalhart and Amarillo, we could see that we were probably going to run into that storm. I saw one of the craziest things that i have ever seen- a huge thick dark cloud of smoke was on our left side. We had been watching this smoke for the past 20 miles and were wondering what could have happened to create so much smoke. The storm was moving towards us right up to the side of our road on the right side, like rain was falling heavily in the field next to us; and we could see that the windy front before the storm was pushing the smoke away. like the storm was like a normal concave cloud but the smoke was oddly convex with several yards of clear between it and the cloud. And looking straight ahead at our road, it was like we were in a tunnel between a wall of blue-black and one of brown-red all the way up from the ground to above our heads. That road was a straight as an arrow so dad and I compared it to "the straight and narrow path".
Riding a motorcycle is about as vulnerable as you can get. As we approached it we wanted to look to figure out what was causing the smoke and we also wanted to watch the lightning show on the otherside. But we needed to watch the road straight ahead because it was closing in on us! This is like temptation in life. Look at Proverbs 4:25-27. "25Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. 26Ponder[a] the path of your FEET; then all your ways will be sure. 27Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil." We want to look at this exciting or pleasurable looking thing on the side of our path, but you will be beaten by the wind and soaked by terrential rain OR choked by the smoke if you let yourself do that. 2 Corinthians 10:5. "Take every thought captive to obey Christ." And focus on the path ahead of you. (If you haven't already, read my post, from June 6, 07 "A Torch Would Go Out 13,000 ft. Under the Ocean Anyway" about faith. Especially the second half of it.) And if you have access, look at Geoff Moore's song "Great Lengths."
Sometimes, reguardless of our own choices or even because of our choice to follow God (because, as he tells us, being a christian does not make life easy or perfectly painless) we get caught in life's storms. He even tells us multiple times that we will suffer because we proclaim his name and we see that in martyrs or the New Testament, of Saints, and of Christians in intolerant countries now; as well as in persecution in everyday life. Then there's the death of a loved one, the loss of a job or inability to find a job, or a breakup, failure or whatnot. As Daddy and I endured that storm when we finally did hit it, we have to endure these struggles. I bet Steve won't mind we adding this- but look at his Facebook Note "New Dreams." Romans 5:3-4 says, "More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces characterm and chatacter produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame because God's love has been poured into our hearts."

Thursday, June 21, 2007


So I definitely bought a ticket to fly to Cheyenne, Wyoming yesterday evening and Callum drove me to Houston Bush Intercont. Airport at 6:00 AM this morning! I flew to Denver and connected on an 18 passenger plane to Cheyenne-one seat on each side of the isle; there were 6 people on it.
Dad and his two riding buddies drove their Harleys up to South Dakota this week and they swung by and picked me up on their way south. today we drove through an amazing mountain pass and threw snowballs (in tshirts). I hiked across a roling hill green meadow with wild flowers and i think that was bear poo- really. I've seen two eagles and many antelope already. we crossed the Continental Divide. Now I'm in Steamboat Springs Colorado. say wow. be back sunday night.
NEXT DAY: Today we drove from Steamboat Springs, Colorado through New Mexico and into Amarillo, TX. That's 650 miles in 14 hours. I saw some REALLY beautiful things! We drove through Winter Park and Breckenridge and very close to Beever Creek. They're interesting in the summertime. I saw a traditional steam engine train as we were winding down into a valley- black, barrel nosed and spitting out lots of white steam ChooChoo. I felt like I was in the old west. We drove along the continental divide again and passed Pikes Peak. When we first came over the hill and saw the peak- it was perfect- clouds cast shadows on everything except there was a perfect hole over the peak in the distance and it was bright white with snow! We came down into a valley with a lake in it- there was nothing on the lake except one sail boat. the water was like glass- it was absolutely perfect!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Creamy Wind On Cartop after more rain

Yesterday I was driving back from Humble. It was pretty much pouring in Houston; but as soon as I passed the last suburb, it subsided and the Sun was Bright! I turned off the music and started talking. It was sort of talking to myself and sortof talking to God but mostly just throwing out all these thoughts that are couped up in my mind. I talked till I was almost frustrated and getting a little loud even and decided I wanted to get off the highway for a few minutes. So I took the Prairie View A&M exit. I'd never been there so I looked around campus a bit- I really liked it- lots of pretty trees. There was an open gate to a hilly pasture behind the campus and a sort of a road/more like the grass that ppl obv drive on so I drove up in there a ways till i couldn't see the campus anymore. just a wooden fence and a barn and red cows in the distance and long bright grass on hilliness and a pond overflowing from the rainfall and one oak tree and ducks- wierd looking ducks- and butterflies and dragonflies. And crickets chirping and frogs that sounded big. And the Breeze was the Most Perfect breeze I have Ever felt! It was cool to the perfect degree, not too hot and not too cold and it felt creamy. like a soft water sideways shower (as opposed to hard water) but I didn't get wet and it smelled like summer rain. Rain is probably one of my favorite smells in the world. I had crawled out the sunroof and i was sitting on top of my jeep with my feet dangling. I noted all the things i saw and heard and felt and smelled- It was amazingly peaceful and peace-bringing. I Love it. I thought of that verse, "Be still and know that I am God." [If you have access to it, Listen to "Word of God Speak" 3:07 by MercyMe, Spoken For] In the song he talks about, "I'm finding myself at a loss for words and the funny thing is, it's okay. The last thing I need is to be heard... be still and know that your in this place..." Okay, well I didn't feel that way. I had a whole lot to say! I wanted to feel that way though. I prayed about that thing that I was praying about that I know is stressing me more than it ought to and I admitted that I was worried. He tells us not to worry- it's sort of like a command, "Don't Worry." -Matthew 6. But more like a comfort, "don't worry.." (italics kinda looks like a creamy breeze dont you think?) Matthew 6:33 says something like "Seek first my kingdom and everything else will fall into place." Simply Lovely. Okay thanks now let me install that. Geeze that is hard. I am supposed to walk by faith and rely on Him like the birds do (as talked about in ch. 6) AND I do Want To so badly. I believe he will do these things- heck I spoke a sermon about that very thing two weeks ago! Yet I still struggle to not try to look ahead and figure things out; and the fact that I Don't Know the answer sort of stresses me. But when I really think about it, I realize that I Am Really Glad that I dont Know. ANYWAY, So when I kept asking and asking the same question over and over, which is the same question I have been asking for months and I dont get the feeling I am going to have a direct anwser anytime soon, and i talked about all those things that i had to say. The response was "Stop. I'm not going to tell you. You dont even want to know. as in you want to not know right now. You will know when I want to show you and that is when you will want to know anyway. Right now, just worship me." "Seek first My Kingdom and eVERYTHING eLSE will fall into place." Okay. So I sat. quiet for a while. then i sang some songs and then i read psalm 51. i really like that one-like the middle portion. I stood up ontop of the jeep and read the verses loudly more than once. I really liked doing that. I'm not going to say that the whole thing is resolved in me. But at least I know what i am supposed to do, right? It was a dang good moment too.
I don't know how many people actually look at this- but go look at It's pretty much amazing.

Friday, June 15, 2007

How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count the Ways

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I see you there, an invisible face;
Your voice booms with silence unto my ear;
A life without you is my greatest fear.
Your loving embrace is felt not by nerve
But comforts my heart and fills me with verve.
My passion is yours; my spirit doth burst;
Now my will be last and your will be first.
Let my face b'your face in this world of hate;
My feet be your feet as they lead toward heav's gate.
While stumble I do as every man does,
Your grace fills my soul and that is because
You love me, oh Lord, in uncountable ways
Your goodness follows me all of my days.

I wrote that for a high school English class

I want to go here. Nancy Mitchell took these. She said it's Hanging Lake, Colorado. I want to go here.

What Was Going Through My Head While I Typed

I want to learn some more random skills. So I'm giving myself calligraphy lessons. I bought a book that walks me through it and a fancy complicated set of dip-pen nibs. There are several different widths of nibs and I fit them into the pen and slip a resevoir over it then use a brush to apply the ink to my nib; I've been doing alphabet exercises in Roman and Italic hand. I've been watercoloring alot too. I'm sitting with my laptop in the small clear area in the middle of my messy bedroom floor. Surrounding me are: watercolor set, my designated paint brush clensing coffee mug, some tubes of acrylic paint, sidewalk chalk (i used that on a earth picture), markers, crayons, colored pencils, sketching pencils and charcoal, calligraphy nibs, calligraphy dip inks, lots of paper, hobby lobby scrapbook paper, book about calligraphy, book about sketching, book about watercoloring, and here's my coffee mug. I've been listening to Shakespeare's Othello on tape while I do these things. I ordered my textbooks for England off They include 4 Shakespeare plays and le Morte Darthur and the Idylls of a King (books about King Arthur). Ya'll I am so excited about this trip. I'm excited about the classes and heck I'm freaking attending Cambridge University! I'm ecstatic! I was writing about this in my lovely journal with butterflies on it yesterday. I spent 3 hours in starbucks yesterday. I was in the best mood; it was like my chest was going to just burst with joy and I felt a freedom that I don't feel all that often. I guess a good word for it would be "passionate." I have felt pretty passionate alltogether lately. The Barista came around for a free tea tasting! He had a British refreshing tea with some sort of mint, a red African spicy tea, and something from Yemen that tasted like medicine. He gave me a whole refresh cup for free. Here's the random rext message I sent to Blake, "I'm in starbucks, midafternoon, it's raining outside and the sun is out. I'm drinking "refresh" tea with honey in it and listening to mello music. I am incredible happy today." This trip is exactly what I need at exactly the right time. I was talking to Nick Thorn about this. (He just got back from 5 months in St. Louis.) I want to go be somewhere totally different just by myself for a while. AND fortunately enought, in 20-something days I will be in a place I have never been, in a different culture (while not as dramatically different as wayne in india- but that is not what i'm looking for), more alone than I have ever been for a long enough time to have to get used to it. I think I'll just bloom there! This I didn't think of yesterday. This I thought of the night before- yes in starbucks by the big window viewing the street and it was pouring rain in sheets and the street lights had halos and the room was just full of life; the colors just looked more vibrant than normal and the dimensions just looked deeper and the music sounded so clear and the tracks were perfect with the mood and everybody was talking chatty. I wished I had a sweater on- not because I was cold but just becase it put me in the mood for a sweater. I want to be proposed to in the rain. But I'm not much into romance lately. My mind is everywhere else right now and I like it. I'm sure I will think about those things some other time and at that time, well it will be time for it but that is just not now.
I want knowledge. Usually I am all about book learning- little facts and theories, but I want to learn more about skills and such. crafts and music and food and cultures and God- I'm a different kind of curious lately than I usually am and I really like it. I've been experimenting alot with food lately. Not so much actually cooking other than eggs but like creative sandwiches and salads. I feel really healthy too. Today my lunch was this: Spinach, tomato wedge, avacado, cut-up string cheese, almonds, and chips of bacon. I'm tired of creamy ranch so i mixed some basil and olive oil and poured that on it. And palmagranite (spell?) juice. I've been doing coffee experiments too. Today I wore a skirt and an ankle bracelot with bells on it. I felt pretty snazzy. I dont think I am a fashion fiend but I have my own style and I enjoy playing with that. Sometimes I get pretty disgusted at myself and how much I care about clothes, but it is still true that when I am wearing a particularly creative outfit, I feel pretty all day. I like being told I'm pretty. I wish I could follow that with something deep about women and self-esteem but I think I'm tired. Yes. Goodnight.

Pine Cove Wranglers 2006. I love you guys!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

more on More on Faith

A quote my mom gave me, "God does say that he will meet us where we are, but He does not say that he expects us to stay there."

Look at Romans 5:1-11 & 5:20-6:2.

Friday, June 8, 2007

More on Faith

Read the previous post before reading this one. Before I bring up sin, I want you know that I am not one of those Christians who focuses on sin. I emphasize love and acceptance more; and it is true that God wants us to sin the least amount possible but it is important that we don't define our faith walk as "trying not to sin." I used to live my life from conviction to conviction, but that is silly and dissappointing. So continuing the faith talk from earlier, Romans 14:23"Everything that does not come from faith is sin." So what I talked about earlier was that we need to step out in faith when God commands us to go do something, but when we decide to go do something without Him being in it, we are sinning. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding." Proverb 3:5. Because we don't understand.

I just came upon something that really comforted me: Wayne and I were talking a while back about whether or not God punishes sinners. We know that he forgives sinners (everyone that is), but we know that there are consequences for sins. Like I dont think he necessarily says, Oh, you are a drunkard and I commanded you not to drink that much so now i will smite you... No. It is more like God commanded us not to be drunkards BECAUSE he knows that it will not bring us joy. Some think that God is just trying to suck the fun out life, but he is not. We are his creation and he knows us better than we know ourselves, so he tells us what to do to try to guide us to the joy that life can bring. Back to indirect consequences, People who give into excessive drunkeness ruin their families, hurt their health, and often lose themselves in it. People who sleep around may get STDs, have a child they aren't ready for, and they may have trouble being loyal to one partner in marriage. (not that the child can't turnout to be an amazing blessing) People who are hateful don't have good friendships. Anyway, here is the scripture I found. Job 8:3-7. "Does God pervert justice? Does the Almighty pervert what is right? When your children sinned against him, he gave them over to the penalty of their sin. But if you will look to God and plead with the Almighty, if you are pure and upright, even now he will rouse himself on your behalf and restore you to your rightful place. Your beginnings will seem humble, so prosperous will your future be."

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

A Torch Would Go Out 13,000 ft. Under the Ocean Anyway...

Psalm 119:105- “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.”

The Lord provides a lamp to our feet, not to 20 feet in front of us. By this I mean, we cannot see our future. Without His word, we have a Galveston Bay type view of our feet, but even with it, he probably wont provide a glass-bottom boat in Cozumel, Mexico type view.

SO we can either pretend that we can depend on ourselves and fail, or Proverbs 4:25-27.
25Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. 26Ponder[a] the path of your FEET; then all your ways will be sure. 27Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil

This takes Faith. Hebrews 11:1 translated directly from the Latin Bible defines faith as, “Est autem fides sperandarum substantia rerum, argumentum non apperentium.” Or as,
“the substance of things needing to be hoped for and the proof of things not able to be seen.”

SO when he gives you bits and pieces of your life at a time and sends you down a path of which you cannot see the end, walk the path by faith.

I’m going to tell you a Bible story. Joshua 3:7-17. The Israelites are about to cross the Jordan River and go into the Promised Land and God has them prove their faith to him before he gives them the blessings by commanding them to put their feet in the water before he parts it for them to cross. (This is the second of three times in the Bible that God parts water for someone to cross on dry ground.) Mind you, this was during the harvest and the waters were in flood stage, overflowing their banks, and were probably pretty tumultuous. And he says, “Put your feet in the water. I’m going to do something great.” He offers no proof that the waters are going to part for them, he says “do this.” Then when they do, he blesses them. It says that all the water around their feet was sucked away and all the impending water that was flowing toward them was piled up in a heap and kept there. 8And as for you, command the priests who bear the ark of the covenant, 'When you come to the brink of the waters of the Jordan, you shall stand still in the Jordan.'" 9And Joshua said to the people of Israel, "Come here and listen to the words of the LORD your God." 10And Joshua said, "Here is how you shall know that the living God is among you and that he will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Hivites, the Perizzites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, and the Jebusites. 11Behold, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth[
a] is passing over before you into the Jordan. 12Now therefore take twelve men from the tribes of Israel, from each tribe a man. 13And when the soles of the feet of the priests bearing the ark of the LORD, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan shall be cut off from flowing, and the waters coming down from above shall stand in one heap."
14So when the people set out from their tents to pass over the Jordan with the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people, 15and as soon as those bearing the ark had come as far as the Jordan, and the feet of the priests bearing the ark were dipped in the brink of the water (now the Jordan overflows all its banks throughout the time of harvest), 16the waters coming down from above stood and rose up in a heap very far away, at Adam, the city that is beside Zarethan, and those flowing down toward the Sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, were completely cut off. And the people passed over opposite Jericho. 17Now the priests bearing the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firmly on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan, and all Israel was passing over on dry ground until all the nation finished passing over the Jordan.
God does this in our lives. He says, “hey, I know this looks crazy, but GO! I'll take care of you.” “Volunteer to go on a mission trip when you haven’t evangelized before." Or "Help build or repair this house when you don’t know how to build." "Take a job as the Wesley foundation intern when there is nothing on the summer schedule yet." Or even "Get on the bus," "Approach that person," "Call this number.” In Acts 8:26-39, Philip, who had been one of Christ's disciples. "26Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, 'Rise and go toward the south[a] to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.' This is a DESERT place. 27And he rose and went." Next, "The Spirit said to Philip, 'Go over and join this chariot.' So Philip ran to him." Inside the chariot was a Eunuch who worked for the Queen of Ethiopia and he was reading a prophecy about the crucifixtion from Isaiah 52:7. He didn't understand what it was talking about. So then, this something I love, it says, "Then Philip opened his mouth and..." he told him about the good news of Christ. The Eunuch was converted and Philip baptized him in a nearby pond. Philip didn't sit and ponder his response on his own. He simply "opened his mouth and just as Jesus promised to his disciples in Matthew 10:19-20, "Do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, 20for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you." Philip obeyed God when he told him to walk out into a desert, he "ran" when God told him the next step without telling him what would be in the chariot, and he "opened his mouth" and God did something amazing. Philip is an excellent example of faith.
"And there was an Ethiopian, a eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure. He had come to Jerusalem to worship 28and was returning, seated in his chariot, and he was reading the prophet Isaiah. 29And the Spirit said to Philip, "Go over and join this chariot." 30So Philip ran to him and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and asked, "Do you understand what you are reading?" 31And he said, "How can I, unless someone guides me?" And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. 32Now the passage of the Scripture that he was reading was this:
(Isaiah 53:7)"Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter
and like a lamb before its shearer is silent,
so he opens not his mouth.
33In his humiliation justice was denied him.
Who can describe his generation?
For his life is taken away from the earth."

34And the eunuch said to Philip, "About whom, I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?" 35Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus. 36And as they were going along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, "See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?"[b] 38And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him. 39And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord carried Philip away, and the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing. 40But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he passed through he preached the gospel to all the towns until he came to Caesarea."

We have NO CLUE why he is telling us to do it and he does not reveal to us just how miraculous its going to be or how beautiful the outcome will be until after we take the initiative to step out in faith, out of our comfort zone, to walk into a desert place, climb into a shady chariot, open our mouths, or stick our feet in tumultuous water. "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” John 11:40 says, “Jesus said to her, ‘Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?’”

Okay here’s for a smooth transition from white rapids to the dark abyssal zone, 13,000-19,000 feet below sea level. It’s pitch black there. Most of the creatures down there are just blind because there is no point in them having eyes.

Fish like the Black Swallower and the Big Gulper Eel have mouths and stomachs so big that they can eat something 2-3x its size! They just open their mouths and swim aimlessly hoping to catch something to feed them without seeking. To make my spiritual comparison, these are men who mosey blindly through life taking what they can get and don’t seek after God’s “lamp” to guide their way to well, spiritual nourishment and life-purpose. That and their mouths are so pie holes are so big that they will accept any theory, philosophy, or religious view without picky discernment. (eating like that can make you sick.)
On the other hand, fish like the Anglerfish (the ones from the pictures with the scary teeth) have a bioluminescent fleshchunk on a string dangling in front of their face; or the Flashlight Fish who has bioluminescent eyeballs; or the Spotted Lantern Fish who has lighted punches along its body (same as lightning bugs). These guys really do have that “lamp unto their feet (aside from not having feet)” kind of life! They can’t even pretend or trick themselves into believing that they could figure it out on their own! They without option, rely completely on that light provided to guide their way to nourishment. Lucky! No, actually I like freewill. How else would we prove to God that we love him if we couldn’t choose whether or not we trusted him enough to rely solely (haha pun) on that light and put or feet in floodstage rivers?

Unlike the optionless fish, we can see “to the right and to the left (Prov. 4)” of the path and if we wanted to be like Bilbo Baggins in Mirkwood and step off of it, we can. When you are in such “dark places where there is no light Isaiah 50:10-11,” the temptation is there to try to light our own torch therefore guide our own way. Countless times in the Bible God says, James 5:14 Don’t boast about your future because you do not know what tomorrow will bring. Romans 9:16 and Proverb 19:21 say It doesn’t matter what plans you make or how hard you try, only God knows the future. Isaiah 50:10b-11 says this,
“Let him who walks in darkness and has no lighttrust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God. 11Behold, all you who kindle a fire, who equip yourselves with burning torches!Walk by the light of your fire, and by the torches that you have kindled!This you have from my hand: you shall lie down in torment.”

Do not try to light your own torch or equip yourself! Rely on the Lord, discern his will through prayer and Bible searching. This is faith. Faith proves love.

Another thought: Fish that live there can withstand extreme pressures of 11,000 lbs/ sq in. This is the environment that God placed them in and He equipped them to survive there. Likewise, he equipped us to live in the high pressures of this world! I don’t mean the weight of the atmosphere.
Amplified Bible 1 Corinthians 10:13
“For no temptation has overtaken you and laid hold on you that is not common to man [that is, no temptation or trial has come to you that is beyond human resistance and that is not [
a]adjusted and [b]adapted and belonging to human experience, and such as man can bear]. But God is faithful and He will not to let you be tempted and tried and assayed beyond your ability and strength of resistance and power to endure, but with the temptation He will always also provide the way out, that you may be capable and strong and powerful to bear up under it patiently.”

But this high pressure environment is also a place of continuous cold and lack of nutrients. This world is not our home. We will never be comfortable here, we do not belong here. Psalm 84:1-2. “How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD! My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the LORD!” And that my friend, takes faith.