Tuesday, March 19, 2013

wise about what is good, innocent about what is evil.

one out of three of my executive bosses, who also happens to be a lawyer, is a huge stickler with words. whenever i speak with him i try to be extra cautious of whatever comes out of my mouth. i refrain from using slang (today i told him alec baldwin's wife is "preggers" and he seemed perplexed), exaggerations, or the word "like" as often as i'm used to. with the added effort that it takes to communicate with him on a daily basis, i have actually grown to appreciate the awareness this inadvertently brings to my speech, hopefully without being too particular b/c that can get annoying.
until recently, i rarely acknowledged how much words affect me, both negatively and positively. being the age that i am and having gone on quite a few dates, i've heard plenty of smooth lines, tons of flattery and empty promises. i was confiding in a girlfriend, semi-lamenting that i'm so used to & over this game of sweet talk, when she pointed out that no, i'm actually not. it still affects me because i still believe it. this is true. regardless of all the hot air that i've heard combined with good intentions, the multiple times i was disappointed when someone didn't follow through, or lofty compliments & praise that fell flat on the ground, i can't help but hold onto the benefit of the doubt and trust that this time, this person means it. (after all, it just takes one to make it all worth it.) the stark difference is that now i don't eat it all up like candy and get sucked into the delusion that words so often have the power to bring.
maybe i have a special kind of selective amnesia for certain messed up experiences that i've gone through or maybe it's just that i have a supernatural faith in love and goodness. given all the poor decisions, made in the name of "love" by the way, that led to unfavorable circumstances i should be a ton more jaded and discontented. perhaps it's naivety, resilience or seeing the world through rose-colored glasses, but more than any of these i believe it's evidence that God is protecting my heart and keeping it safe and tender for Himself. He must have glorious and redemptive plans for me :)
whatever the case, now i hold closer to and admire those who keep their word. as shameful as this sounds, i never really valued truth. i mean, who genuinely stops to reflect on this regularly? subconsciously i started thinking about this because i saw the passion of the Christ twice last week and this particular dialogue struck me-
  1. Pontius Pilate: What is truth, Claudia? Do you hear it, recognize it when it is spoken?
  2. Claudia Procles: Yes, I do. Don't you?
  3. Pontius Pilate: How? Can you tell me?
  4. Claudia Procles: If you will not hear the truth, no one can tell you.
so what is truth? better yet, who is truth? in the NT, Jesus prefaced almost 80 of His documented claims with "i tell you the truth..." you would think He was trying to make a point or something. if we believe that in His very words there is life (wow) i think it begs to be investigated and longed after.

63 The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life. John 6

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Matthew 4

i think it's pretty evident that there's something in each of our souls that crave and seek truth. those profound, sometimes daunting, questions that we all face demand sufficient answers- what's the meaning of life? what's my purpose? is there a God? He's been trying to speak to us since the OT but we haven't always had the discipline to deafen our ears to the senseless noise that surrounds us. in the past, i confess i placed a disproportionate amount of weight on anything that sounded pleasing at the time. but through years of asking for more wisdom, making lots of mistakes along the way and taking conscious steps toward obedience, He's increasing my desire for truth instead of flattery and bringing revelation to discern hearing what is good vs. evil.
my ears have heard of You. i can't wait to see You.

18 For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people. 19 Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I rejoice because of you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil. Romans 16.

32 With flattery he will corrupt those who have violated the covenant, but the people who know their God will firmly resist him. Daniel 11

say what you mean and mean what you say.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

i was made for loving You.

God is up to something and i can hardly believe i get to be a part of it. it's too good. although for a moment my limited perspective and lack of faith may have impeded my rational thoughts from dreaming so big, my heart's desire knows entirely different. deep down in my gut i feel this rushing wind and fiery flame and i begin to realize that this is way beyond me and my realm of comprehension. this is a God-sized mission and i've never been more on board for something i feel so unequipped and unqualified for, but then again maybe that's why He's calling me. the dreams, the prophecies, the years of prayer, the confirmations from wise counsel, the people He's placed in my life at this exact time, & even all the NOs along the way- they're all pointing in the same direction.
i kinda wish i knew what all of this meant- where am i going, who am i going with, when will i go? i'm not being ambiguous or mysterious on purpose. there are no 100% guarantees for safety, comfort or prosperity...but there is glory. there is falling wildly in love with Jesus and following wherever He leads. there is more adventure than we ever dared to imagine and actually living out the life we were always meant to live.
i can't play it safe anymore. i've seen too much of His radiance to stop now. i've experienced too much of His ridiculous joy and extravagant love to ever be satisfied with anything less. i am sold.
is it crazy that i believe i can make the God of the universe laugh? b/c i am so convinced. as strange as this sounds, i honestly felt like God telling me last sunday that i fill His heart with such intense joy that He genuinely belly laughs at me. He thinks i'm hilarious. whenever i think about this it makes me so happy...and i crack up, too. c'mon that is so funny. ALL my delight is in You.
this next statement might come off as somewhat self-centered but i'll share anyways b/c that is absolutely not my intention. i was on my way to the gym this evening and began to contemplate what my best qualities might be. haha. i was blasting "come as close as You want" by misty edwards and i smiled when i concluded that my best quality by far is that i love Jesus well. He consumes my heart and overwhelms me. i get lost in Jesus because when i close my eyes i see eternity with Him and nothing else matters. that is my most favorite part of me, that He made me to love Him.

claiming this passage for the journey He's calling me to :)

He said: “Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s. Tomorrow march down against them. They will be climbing up by the Pass of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the gorge in the Desert of Jeruel. You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.’”

Jehoshaphat bowed down with his face to the ground, and all the people of Judah and Jerusalem fell down in worship before the Lord. Then some Levites from the Kohathites and Korahites stood up and praised the Lord, the God of Israel, with a very loud voice.

Early in the morning they left for the Desert of Tekoa. As they set out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Listen to me, Judah and people of Jerusalem! Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful.” After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying:

“Give thanks to the Lord,
    for his love endures forever.”
As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated. The Ammonitesand Moabites rose up against the men from Mount Seir to destroy and annihilate them. After they finished slaughtering the men from Seir, they helped to destroy one another.

When the men of Judah came to the place that overlooks the desert and looked toward the vast army, they saw only dead bodies lying on the ground; no one had escaped. So Jehoshaphat and his men went to carry off their plunder, and they found among them a great amount of equipment and clothing and also articles of value—more than they could take away. There was so much plunder that it took three days to collect it. On the fourth day they assembled in the Valley of Berakah, where they praised the Lord. This is why it is called the Valley of Berakah to this day.

Then, led by Jehoshaphat, all the men of Judah and Jerusalem returned joyfully to Jerusalem, for the Lord had given them cause to rejoice over their enemies. They entered Jerusalem and went to the temple of the Lord with harps and lyres and trumpets.

The fear of God came on all the surrounding kingdoms when they heard how the Lord had fought against the enemies of Israel. And the kingdom of Jehoshaphat was at peace, for his God had given him rest on every side.

2 Chronicles 20: 15-29

take my heart
Misty Edwards

For a long time, I’ve been waiting for You
You have won my heart, and I am following
For a long time, I’ve been crying out for You
Tears make my heart soft
And I am ready for the return of the Lover

Fashioned from the very fabric of God
At the start of time, set free to decide
I will love You, ’cause You’re the One who loved me first
Just one look from Your eyes
I’m captivated by the eyes of the Lover

Take my heart, my mind and strength too
I was made for loving You
I will wait, and I’ll be faithful
I was made for loving You

Bowing low in the presence of the One
At the end of time, I’ll hear the bells chime for our wedding
It will wait no longer now
Oh how I love You
I’ll finally fall into the arms of the Lover

With all my heart
With all my soul
With all my strength
And all I know

I was made for loving You