Saturday, August 28, 2010

FLASHDEVO - Closer to the end of a legacy

You have witnessed the rises of many great kings in the past 2 months, through the books of 1st/2nd Samuel, and 1st Kings, now I am in 2nd Kings, and getting so very close to finishing this part of the story. It is inspiring to me to keep going with this blog because tonight I was reading "Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life" by Donald Whitney, and read Chapter 11 on journaling and I feel like I have to keep up with all of my writing abilities; things like poetry, thoughts on scripture, anything...

FLASHDEVO - 2nd Kings 15/16/17

Sin is a dominating factor in the life of the people of Israel. It isn't just the people living in Israel, the north kingdom either, you also hear about Judah too. Judah has for the most part been out of the picture, because the writer of 2nd Kings has been focusing on Israel, and its wickedness, and as it seems to the people reading scripture, that Judah has been in the clear and that there really isn't much sin to be speaking of, and that simply isn't the case here. ISRAEL IS WICKED. ALL OF ISRAEL IS WICKED. Chapter 17 talks of a major battle fighting enemies from other nations, but it makes mention of the kings in Judah and the sins and things that were done and not done. God is at work in the chapters of the pages of history, and Scripture is readable because God really wants us to see what he has taught people time and time again. There are consequences for sin.

Be blessed this weekend.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

I have reached a little more than a week now...

It's official. My life as a Southwesterner is taking off. I have spent just about a full week of being in classes, getting used to the swing of things here, and I am proud to say, I am in a routine. I was waiting for that to happen for the longest time. I was happy with a bunch of experiences I had today, I will have to list them out for you.

#1) My missionary moment (Psalms class)

My teacher Dr. Klein, asks all of the students to pray for a specific missionary, and today was my turn to share, so I mention my own parents during class, and there ministry with Chosen People Ministries. Dr. Klein speaks up and mentions that he knows someone from our ministry that I have known since I was 2 years old. That is encouraging to realize that I have come to a place where I have more connections than I possibly realize.

#2) The Wall of Honor (in the hall way)

I am fascinated by history, and while I was walking up a flight of stairs after class, I come across a huge wooden plaque with the names of students that served in the military during World War II. I felt it an extreme honor and a privelage to have seen that plaque. Knowing that people served our country and because of their efforts uncovered the truth of the horrors of war. I am honored to be in the same school where veterans have walked, served our country, and grew in the ministry.

#3 Missiology class

Another connection moment, I have to stop and think to myself, God why are you being so good to me, and bringing all of these random connections to me. We had a guest speaker in my class, he was serving as a missionary in Southeast Asia, and I found out from him that his son was on a missions trip in Tokyo the summer I served there. I cannot believe what God is doing, he is connecting me with all of these people, most of whom I have never met in my life, all for the reason of seeing how very not alone I am.

Rejoice for the little things you experience in the day to day.


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Needing my Jehovah Jireh now!!!!

Today is a day where I just wanted to pull back and scream. I have to keep being positive, keep being positive, I say to myself over and over again. I am in school, and to be frank, it is amazing. A professor said a few days ago that we have the blessing and privilege to come to this institution and learn about the Gospel, learn about theology, learn about what God’s will is for each and every one of us, and there are people in the world who cannot afford this blessing. I put myself in my place very quickly. Yes, I don’t have a job yet, and my expectations about what would happen in the first few weeks of seminary weren’t what I wanted it to be, but reality is: WHO CARES? Life is an unexpected adventure and we have to take things as they come. Yes, I am frustrated beyond all compare right now. I don’t have a job. To be technical, I have not “worked” since November of 2008. But I have had everything I need. Right now, I feel that I am being oppressed because all I can see is negative. Okay, to be frank, I am for the most part a pessimistic person because instead of seeing the God-Given good, I immediately want to see the bad in things. This is pure demonic thinking. Because even though I may not have a job; I have a roof over my head, I have Salvation in Jesus and I have a working car. Lord, I pray for your sustaining grace to be put into my life reminding me of the things that I do have, and I pray for you to provide the things that I don’t have this day.

Remember me in your prayers today, I can really use them.

Monday, August 23, 2010

FLASHDEVO 2nd Kings 13 and 14

Today has been good for me so far. I actually managed to get into the library and find a quiet place to study. I went through 10 more Psalms for my Psalms class (trying to set a pace of 10 a day, will still have to read 10 more tonight), and I also started reading chapters out of my missiology book (which should be like review for me) This was great for me because I had a chance to get to a quiet place where I could focus on God's word for a little bit...

2nd Kings 13

I did my reading yesterday, I got halfway through the chapter, and then put it down. I hadn't had the chance to finish the reading for chapter 13 until today, but the reality is, I don't feel as if anyone is missing anything. The story still stays the same. Someone else from another family has become the king of Israel (the Northern kingdom) and they are still doing what is wicked in God's eyes. I am a little frustrated that in all of this ruling over what God has ordained, people still fail to see that their wickedness is what is causing their turmoil. Both of the books of Kings are nothing but heartache and despair, and believe me when I say, I pray that as I read the experiences of others in history (as a means to dwell on what can be done to correct oneself from sin). In the meantime, people are hearing about this prophet of God, Elisha, and he dies finally. The details of Elisha's death are what sort of thrill me. When I was younger, I loved Robin Hood (the disney version with all the animals) and it later led me to learn more about Robin Hood. In the legends, Robin dies and when he is dying, he shoots an arrow out the window and declares that he should be buried by wherever that arrow lands. In this chapter, Elisha says to Jehoash, the king of Israel to shoot an arrow out the east window where he was dying. The arrow landed at Aphek, and he told Jehoash that the people of Israel would have victory over the Arameans there. Again, in the midst of all of this wickedness (CF Verses 22-23) God does not banish the people from Israel because of their sins, he remembers his covenant and stays with them, DESPITE of their sins against God.

Chapter 14

Now a shift is being made to Judah, where Jerusalem is located. The people in Judah follow closely after what God wants for them to do and you see Amaziah. He is about my age (25) when he reigns as king over Judah. His father had been murdered in previous chapters and when he establishes his reign, he has the people who murdered him executed.
All of the events of his life and the other kings have been recorded in these extra-biblical books "THE ANNALS OF THE KINGS OF ISRAEL". Oh what I would do to be able to read those books and see them with my own eyes.

I hope that this encourages you today.


Saturday, August 21, 2010

The 365 Project - Day 221

The time for seeing great things in pictures is now. As I am well into the 200s at this point, and I feel that there is no more room for internet pictures, so today, I went out with a friend from the dorms, to the Hulen Mall in Fort Worth. This weekend is a tax-free weekend in Texas and because of that we were able to go around to buy clothes and stuff without tax. I got a tee-shirt out of the deal. Anyway, while waiting for my friend Logan I go inside the pet store (probably for the first time in 6 years) and see these beautiful parrots. Lovebirds actually. I just have to take the time to marvel at God's creation.

Flashdevo (2nd Kings 11 + 12)

2nd Kings 11

In this chapter, you see that the kingdom of Israel has lived a life of perpetual wickedness and now finally, the kingdom has turned around and has decided to expel the temple of Ba'al, and they turn back to the ways of the Lord. This is all because a 7-year old boy is sitting on the throne. The northern part of the country had lived out of the covenant with God for 100 years. Joash is the king who has turned the country around.

2nd Kings 12

Here is a jump in topic, and I have discovered a system that has originated in the Old Testament, probably well before the book of Kings. In this chapter, you encounter Joash who had become the King of Israel, and now there was a commission to collect money to repair the temple, well in this case, the temple was rebuilt, but at the same time: Joash was assassinated and there was still wickedness throughout Israel.

I really don't comprehend how things work in the Old Testament because at first people can have this really great era of living for God and following in his ways, and suddenly that all goes down the drain as people decide that they have to live in perpetual wickedness. A lot to consider, even though we as believers can live in sin too, but still be obedient to what God wants. Funny how the world works.


The 365 Project - Day 220

There has come a point in this journey, now that my whole mindset has shifted from an old way of life into the new life, that I had to make my explorations happen. I took my camera before, during, and after class with the hopes of finding some great pictures to have to show in this blog, and I thought to myself, what better place to take a picture than the rotunda. In all respects, this part of the seminary reminds me in so many ways of the Pantheon in Rome, and I have never been to Rome in my life. (Someday though). But everyday, whenever I have a class, I walk through this room, gazing up at the brilliant design, the structure, the history surrounding this place. I am grateful for where I am. This is a circumstance where I am praising God for his provision and his blessing. This seminary is exactly what I have needed in my life, and today's picture reflects my feeling on what it is like right now to get an education.

I am refusing to let my life become what it was leading up to my heart attack back in April. I do not want to be overly stressed out about anything, I want to always look forward to life, live in joy, not fear. I am beyond blessed today to have the experience of going into the Fort Worth neighborhood with one of my professors to do some evangelism.

Dr. Matt Queen sat down with me the other day, after I had explained my personal fears of being in this neighborhood. On Wednesday night, I went to go get dinner for myself at a Subway off of Seminary Drive (here in Fort Worth). This subway is past I-35 and over some railroad tracks. This is after blatantly ignoring my dad's instructions not to go in that direction on Seminary drive, it is a very rough area. I went in to get my food, looking at the bars on the windows and front door of the restaurant, thinking how bad it had to be for the people who worked there. I ordered my food and bolted for my car and drove back to Southwestern. Believe me when I said I had wanted to stop and talk to the 2 women working in that restaurant. I could feel that the spirit was telling me to talk to these women, and out of my own fears, I ignored this and walked off. I felt foolish about this and sought out some help. Dr. Queen explained to me that he would be willing to go out with me to do some witnessing and today after my class, that's exactly what we did. I went with him and we went door to door talking with people in the neighborhood. We did meet 3 people, 1 of which (from what he said) was a believer. We were able to express the love of Jesus by just being real with these people and telling them that someone cared about them, and that truly is a huge thing in the sense of God's glory and eternity. I pray that more opportunities like that will arise.

AVATAR: A new perspective...

Today I was able to show my roommate Avatar for the first time, and it got me thinking about the possibilities of what it would have been like a little differently. Like, what if the mining company had decided to move hometree instead of blowing it up?
Plots in movies are there for a reason, and when they change, sometimes it won't always work out the right way. Still one of the best movies of all time in my opinion, despite the fact that it is beyond predictable.

FLASHDEVO (2 Kings 7-10)

As the story of Israel moves on, Elisha keeps on being who God had called him to be. A faithful servant and prophet with whom god was pleased. You see how wickedness had totally corrupted several kings, and how prophesies of their demise actually come true. There would come a time (this is in Chapter 10) that Jezebel (the evil queen who orders many prophets of God to be killed) where she would die, and dogs would devour the body. The only thing that was left of this wicked woman was her bones, and even then, no one would recognize her. God's power and God's word speak the truth, and to deny the fact that God cannot do great things is pure foolishness. I cannot begin to stress this enough. If you think that God doesn't deal with sin harshly, then read scripture. Read the Old Testament and see how people would disobey God, somehow still be right with him, and then have to suffer consequences for their actions in which they had to confess sins and an innocent animal had to die. Remember, God's word will always prevail over any weapon that man could create, and people who served God faithfully would be protected. Elisha is an example of a life in tune with God, because he would serve God with all his heart, and he would be rewarded for what he had done.

I pray that as you read that "FLASHDEVO" post, you expect more from me. I am sorry, I truly am, because I have to devote attention to God's word, and the method by which I do my quiet time is in this blog (reviewing what I have read) and I must read God's word. Please forgive my lacking abilities.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Bridging the Gap

Officially this, is the first post on my blog from my dorm room at Southwestern. This will be the first of many this week, as I prepare myself for classes and for a multitude of tasks that are to come. First off, after the hectic week of being in Austin, I am happy that things are somewhat slowing down. I can definitely breathe a lot easier. I have to get a group of pictures together for people back at Boyce of the seminary grounds so they can see what things are like around here.

Thursday is my first day of classes and things will be beyond hectic that day. 3 classes in 1 day. I do have some breaks in between those classes, but things will be beyond stressful. I pray that God will remind me of where my peace comes from and how he has my life under control no matter what. May you all be richly blessed.


Saturday, August 14, 2010

Updates from the homefront (365 Day 214)

It has been 3 days since I have arrived here in this strange new world that America calls Texas. I am loving every minute of this. i have spent a great deal of time with my family and am enjoying everything about it. Austin is a great place to hang out, I love the feel of this city. Today I was at a BBQ joint with my older brother, who has been living in Austin since March, so things have been fun having him around and spending time with him. Unfortunately, I cannot have access to the internet 24/7, so I will have to figure things out once I get settled into school.

The other pictures are on Facebook, so please check there for my most recent photos.


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A much needed flashdevo (2nd Kings 3-6)

I have had too long of a break to leave the Word of God out in the dust. Truth be told, this is what happenes to us when we don't focus on God, we tend to wander off and have to re-focus. God doesn't move, we all move away or move closer to God, and he still stays put.

You want to talk about someone amazing? Read through 2nd Kings and read on Elisha. After Elijah goes up to heaven, he begins his ministry to the people and performs miracles. It is easy to see how people in Scripture could think of Elisha as God because of his miracles but the reality is that God is God and no one else is.

From a woman having enough oil to buy herself and her son food and to pay off her debts

to the ravens feeding Elijah and then Elijah going up to heaven on a chariot of fire, God moves and teaches those who don't trust him to trust him.

Sorry this isn't a little bit more thorough, but I am using Wi-Fi through a sprint phone and it needs to be switched off.


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Update from the Road - 365 Day 210

This was a picture taken 2 weeks ago, but it was just added to facebook tonight, so that's why this is considered Day 210 for the 365 Project. Again, this is just consideration. It wasn't until I realized that I had basically the perfect picture for today. While on the road to Texas, I am traveling along the Florida Turnpike, I-75, and then I-10. We did encounter some rain along the way, and produced this absolutely incredible rainbow. My phone has truly turned into my camera as it is the serious picture taker for the majority of my blog.

We will be along the road to Texas for at least another 7 hours. I am writing from the car in Louisiana in I-12. My brother and his amazing gadgets make it possible, so I think it's funny that I only saved the post last night and now I am finishing it today. More will come later as I get into Austin. Check my facebook for the status updates.


Monday, August 9, 2010

365 Pictures 205-208

Just another typical round of pictures, including my avatar for Mad Men. I am praying for some phenominal picture opportunities once I arrive in Austin on Wednesday, so stay tuned for those shots, and along the way to Texas, I will try to take some with my phone as I am able.

Blessings (to my Boyce readers, I am praying for the first few days of your semester, may them be richly blessed by our Jesus)


Roadtrip Preparations (365 Project Day 209)

Tonight is my last night of life in Florida for a while. I am in the midst of absolute chaos at the moment (referring to my room of course) but nonetheless, I shall have the job done in due time. It feels like we will be traveling to California tomorrow, I mean it might as well be California, but we are heading to Austin, Texas. Why you ask? Well, officially speaking, I am going to seminary!!!!!

I will be spending the week with family before actually arriving on campus (a week from today) so for those of you that want to reach me, message me on facebook or leave blog comments, I will be around. Since we won't have internet for obvious reasons on the almost 22 hour car ride, I will just have to type out the blog entries until I get to internet access. I will read books, play video games, Hopefully finish 2nd Kings and read a few other good parts of the Old Testament...

Be on the alert. LOOK OUT TEXAS HERE I COME!


Friday, August 6, 2010

Blog Update - Remembering Hiroshima

You know, I have the routine down to a science when it comes to my expect to see the pictures and then the posts and flashdevos on whatever chapter of Scripture I am in, but then there are just times where I want to stray away from that and just vent or write something...

Today is August 6th, and 65 years ago today, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. As someone who feels called to Japan as a missionary, you have to know about certain aspects of the target's history, and to recall it, it seems very important to me...

This was a turning point in World War 2, because on July 26, 1945, the Potsdam Declaration was signed, defining the terms of the Japanese surrender, and they were ignored, so as a measure for the people to "get the message" the United States dropped 2 nuclear weapons. On August 6th, Hiroshima, and then Nagasaki on August 9th. Both cities lie to the south, and to this day, buildings still stand to remind the people of the horrors of nuclear war. Also, people in the affected cities dealt with cancer and other medical issues caused by exposure to the radiation, some traces of these conditions can still be seen in people who are living there today.

These were photos taken after the bomb had been dropped. There is literally nothing left after it had happened. Take a moment today and reflect on the fact that we live in the United States. I am terrified of what could happen with nuclear war, it is like a living nightmare because there won't be anything left after it happens.

Japan is so very much AGAINST nuclear war, and I am for there being no weapons in the world. Someday, having nuclear weapons will not matter, and we will be with the Lord, and there will be no more suffering and no more pain, no more war, no more destruction, and no more nuclear bombs.

Remember Hiroshima and the people that died because of war. People still need to hear about Jesus and we will do whatever it takes to see that they do accept his salvation. Jesus is life!!!!!! The air I'm breathing, why my heart is beating! Jesus is life (so said Steven Curtis Chapman in his song with the same name)


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Reality and the Truth

The Truth is such an important thing that we have to grasp from time to time. The truth is what makes people see what they are being saved from (in terms of Salvation and the Gospel) and the truth is what we accept.

I have been really struggling in my head to overcome myself. I have to accept the truth that I am recovering from something that probably should have never happened. Yes, I am referring to the episode that led to a heart attack in April. I cannot express to you what having something like that does to you. Your mind is always focused on it. I cannot escape it, I cannot get away from the thought of it, or the reality that it did in fact happen, it is just there. I want to escape this thought from my mind so badly. But I am so unsure of myself, I am second guessing this over and over again. I feel that my dwelling on this event has to be something of the devil, who is trying to hold me back from my potential as a missionary, but at the same time, in a weird-sick-and-twisted way, I am rejoicing in the Lord through this, because I have been awoken to the reality of my health and to take care of myself.

I struggled falling asleep tonight, and I had to get this off of my chest before I went to bed.

The reason for the picture is because the truth is like the Northern Lights. The majority of the time, we cannot see it because we are no where close enough to see it (being in Florida, obviously) but we know that it really exists, and that there is beauty in the truth. I pray that you will dwell on that tonight.

Big Flashdevo entry to come this week, stay tuned.

rejoice in the Lord always, again I say REJOICE!!!

The 365 Project - through Day 204 (Pictures)

I was away from home for the weekend, so I was able to take pictures during each day that I was there. Most of the pictures are in Louisville, but I stirred up some interest in Japanese art and history when I was reading an article on Mt. Fuji. I was playing Pokemon HeartGold and I come to find that the mountain in the game, Mount Silver, was inspired by Mount Fuji, so I am reading the legends on the mountain, and see this incredible shot of a dragon going up the mountain.

More posts are to come later...