Friday, December 23, 2011

Thoughts from this Semester and What God is Showing Me

Some more friends:)
Well, my first semester of Elim is over. What a wide ride it has been! I've learned so much socially, spiritually,emotionally and academically. I knew that Elim was going to be awesome, but I didn't realize how awesome. I'm not sure what I would do without my new friends. They are so awesome and the best part is, they love Jesus as much as I do. I've been home for exactly a week now, and as much as I love being home with my family and friends here, I miss my Elim friends like crazy. I owe them a world of thanks for being there for me when I needed them. I don't think they know just how much I need them.

My Roomie and I :)
It's funny how when I first went to Elim, I had a different set of desires for my life than I do now. Some desires are the same, but some have changed significantly. I've found myself praying things like, "God, sent me to the dangerous places, where no one else wants to go." Or, "God please don't keep me in the wealth of this country, send me somewhere where people are truly starving and helpless." My own prayers are curious to me. These desires are not me but Jesus living in me. He's been changing and forming my heart to His own. "A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh" (Ezekiel 36:26). I can't explain and I can't understand all that God is doing, but I know my hunger for Him is growing. He's putting a urgency in my spirit to draw near to Him and to lay aside all distractions. The distractions aren't worth it. Many churches I've been to I see God stirring people up. He's making the church ready for something, for something big. But as He does this, distractions are rising up everywhere. The enemy is not liking whatever God is doing. God has been showing me that's why we need to fight even harder to seek His face. We NEED to. It's not an option. If we want to know God's heart we need to seek Him. God's been showing me that none of my distractions are worth giving up intimacy with Him. No way. He's so much better, so much sweeter than anything else I've ever known. How can we let little distractions get in the way of such a big God who is longing to be with us? We should be longing to be with Him because of His awesomeness, and power and great love, yet it's reversed. God longs for us and we can't fit the God of the universe in our schedules. How wrong is that? I'm preaching to me more than anyone. It sickens me to think of how many times I push God aside because I have "better" things to do. WHAT??!! This is the GOD of the UNIVERSE we're talking about! If we had any clue how awesome He truly is and how wonderful He is, we wouldn't give our distractions a second thought. I think the problem is, we don't know Him. We don't know who He is, so therefore, we don't care to give Him the time of day. We say we know Him, but if we are not compelled to be in His presence, that's a lie. Anyone who knows God even a little is compelled to spend more and more time with Him. If we aren't compelled like this, God is simply an acquaintance, and a last resort. Have you ever thought about it that way? God has been showing me just how much I really don't know Him. He's been compelling me to make Him a priority. Let me tell ya, when you try to put Him above all else, all Hell breaks loose, but you NEED to stand strong and fight it. He is worth it. He says we are worth Him giving up everything...but do we think He is worth giving up everything? He's worth so much more than us. How could I forget that? How could we forget that? Are we so consumed with our wealth and events in this country that somehow they've taken God's place? He is a jealous God. He is jealous for our relationship, because we are rightfully His. The more time I spend with Him, the more I realize that this world and all it's treasures are nothing. There's nothing this world could give me to take His place. He is everything. He is everything I want and need, I just didn't know it. "O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you. My soul thirsts for you; my whole body longs for you in this parched and weary land where there is no water" (Psalm 63:1).
In my Old Testament class I wrote my final paper on David: a man after God's own heart. I learned so much from this. I discovered what God means when he says someone is after His heart. As I studied David's life, I realized something: David's heart was not perfect, quite the opposite in fact. David wrote Psalm 51 after he was confronted about committing adultery with Bathsheba. After he committed adultery with her, God told him the child would die. Yet in this Psalm, we don't see David grieving the loss of his child, but rather grieving that he lost communion with God! What commitment and love! David remembers the days he used to live in God's presence and he grieves that he lost that. He pleads for those days back. He longs for God. He's also very honest with his weakness. All throughout this Psalm David pleads with God to create in him a pure heart, to sustain him so he can do right, and to uphold him. He knew that he wanted to please God, but he also knew he couldn't do that without God's help. He realized his need for God. David made mistakes, but his heart belonged to God all along. He loved God above all else. Even in the Old Testament, pleasing God wasn't about the works, or the sacrifices, it was about the heart. God still wanted a heart committed to Him, and a heart in love with Him. Studying the one God called a man after His own heart shows what is really important to God. But you know what amazes me even more than this? How much God honored David for his love for God. God promised David that his seed would reign forever from David's throne in Jerusalem. There are so many times in the Old Testament when God wants to destroy Israel because of their rebellion but He always says, "I won't because of the promise I made to David." God was so committed to His promise to David. God even goes beyond this. Not only does He promise David that the Messiah would come from his line, but when Jesus was on earth he quoted David's words. He quoted them his last few hours of life on this earth. He said, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" David said these very words is Psalm 22:1. And then later Jesus says, "Into Your hands I commit my spirit." Again He's quoting David in Psalm 31:5. So we see David is also a type of Christ. Can you imagine what an honor it is that Jesus quoted David with His last words? Don't you think that a person with a heart after God is precious to Him after knowing this? Look how far God goes to honor David! It blows my mind and I still can't wrap my mind around it. After writing this paper, my goal in life is to be someone after God's heart. I feel like my mind has been renewed and I'm realizing the most important thing in this world is that I truly know God.
So, this blog couldn't contain all I learned this semester, but these are the highlights. I hope that whoever reads this has an amazing Christmas. Don't let it be about the gifts or the traditions, find Jesus in Christmas this year, and find His love. He loves you so much. Ask Him to show you...He will. Merry Christmas everyone!

"The LORD is good to all;
   he has compassion on all he has made.
 All your works praise you, LORD;
   your faithful people extol you.
They tell of the glory of your kingdom
   and speak of your might,
so that all people may know of your mighty acts
   and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
   and your dominion endures through all generations.  
The LORD is trustworthy in all he promises
   and faithful in all he does" (Psalm 145:9-13).