Twenty Seven

When I was a kid, I remember thinking things went so slow. It would take an eternity to get out of school that day. Don’t even talk about the vacations to Alabama… that literally took forever.

Twenty years later and things go by faster than ever. It seems like just a few weeks ago it was Christmas time. Why is it that days seem to go by so much faster when we’re older? It flies by so fast, personally, I’ve forgotten my own age at times. To think next school year, I’ll have been out of highschool ten years…

I feel like I’ve learned some things in reverse over the years. When I read a magazine article or pamphlet, often times I’ll start from the back and work my way to the front, and sometimes I feel like that’s how I learn things sometimes: in the opposite way the rest of the world seems to learn things. Not that my ways right and there’s wrong, its just different.

I’m so thankful for how the Lord has lead me over the years. He leads me in ways I don’t understand, but I look back and can see the roads and places he’s taken me on that, if A didn’t happen, the. B could have never happened. It’s an amazing mystery how He works. While I wish I could say I trusted his direction all those times, I can’t. One of the best things I’ve learned over these recent years is to trust in the Lord and not my own understanding. It’s always interesting the steps he leads you on.

Grace

“If you meet a person who cannot get over your past, you meet a person that doesn’t understand the love of Jesus Christ.”

That’s a powerful statement.

Over the past few years, I’ve been in situations that, if I were honest, have in some ways skewed my view of God. It wasn’t intentional — the people involved didn’t mean for it to happen the way it did and I didn’t look at the situations as being something that would shape my view of Him. It just happened. Lots of things can cause this in life: things don’t turn out the way we think they should, people say things that are incorrect but we take them to heart, the list could go on and on. The quote I lead this post with is from a teaching series I’ve recently listened to on dating (side note: I was actually opposed to listening to it but glad I listened, as I discovered a lot of truth outside of dating) but it’s completely valid outside the dating scope. None are perfect, all have fallen short of the glory of God. I think that quote can be read quickly, liked my many, and never taken to heart.

I’ve heard it said that we always want to receive grace (from God, friends, family, etc) but we’re pretty reluctant to give grace. I’m noticing that a lot of the times my lack of certain gifts of the Spirit (like love, joy, peace, and patience) really has a lot to do with grace. I’m not going to really develop that further other than to say that we’re called to be examples of Christ (Christ-like), showing his heart for people. When we’re not walking in the Spirit, it shapes other’s view of who God is. Even those who have a strong walk, and especially if they aren’t plugged into life-giving people can be affected.

Criticism and Judgement

The American Heritage Dictionary states that criticism is “a critical comment or judgment” and it is “the act of criticizing, especially adversely” (Answers.com). So perhaps I’m an expert on criticism. It’s great being able to look at something or someone and point out all of its flaws. How much harder it is to actually point out its unique beauty and character?

Several days ago I was listening to someone speak on fasting, and some of the things you can fast from (because fasting can also mean “a period of refrain”). While I wasn’t as focused on what exactly was being said, I found something that stuck out to me: you can refrain from criticism for a period of time. Now, I love to point out people’s flaws so refraining from criticism can’t be easy. I mean, look at how people park in a parking lot! Just plain bad sometimes. But what if there was a reason for it? Sure, the parking may still be bad, but what if the reason they parked so “bad” was because of some external reason, say perhaps there was a buggy in their way?

I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately and I’ve started just telling myself “don’t criticize” when I feel so inclined to do so. I’m good at judging people before I know them a lot of times. I don’t know exactly why I feel inclined to point out others faults, especially when I’m no better than they are, sometimes more so than others. I remember a few days ago when I said something about how someone could be put in jail for a specific action they did – all the while not thinking that I could be found guilty of the same thing. When I look at people, I no longer what to think or see the “wrong” they may be in. I want to love them. Love never fails.

So this is what I’ve been learning lately. I’m not near the end of the tunnel, and I don’t see myself as “fasting” criticism, but rather trying to escape it. How can I really judge others, condemning them, while I myself am just as guilty of the same sins they are? Jesus said that if we lust after someone we’ve already committed adultery in our hearts. In the same way, if I judge someone for doing something that I have only acted upon in my mind, how much different is it? I committed the same sin, yet I judge the other person for acting upon it. I don’t ever want to do that, yet I have before and I still do. I think it’s something that we as a body of believers should long to be free of, not just because it may be a “noble” thing to do, but because it’s the Biblical thing to do.

Cry Out to Jesus

When you’re lonely and it feels like the whole world is falling on you
You just reach out, you just cry out to Jesus

Cry Out to Jesus, Third Day

Third Day, Cry out to Jesus singleThere are those times, those times when it’s like everything is going directly against us.  We all have those times where it feels like the weight of the world is closing in on us.  We’ve got something pulling us one way, but then we also feel this pulling to just hand it over to Jesus.  It’s not always easy.  It’s often times hard.  It feels like we’re the only one in this hole.  It’s often times easier to believe that we’re the only one who has ever went through loneliness.

It’s easier to believe that lie.  It helps us to grow more numb to the pain.  How can we be lonely?  Maybe a time of solitude is a time of growing character.  Maybe it’s a time to see who we really are.  I’m not really sure why we go through times that we feel lonely.  Maybe it’s because God is trying to pull us closer to him.  The great Prophets of old had to go through times of loneliness.

I think that during times we feel lonely, as the song says, we just need to cry out to Jesus.  Just cry out to him to take all loneliness and fill it with Him, because he’s the only one that can fill all loneliness.  It’s hard to have the faith sometimes, but He is always there.  It may not be instant. It may take a while, but He still loves us.  His Holy Spirit fills us.  We’ve just got to hope.  “There are three things that will endure–faith, hope, and love–and the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13 NLT)

Lessons

The first week of school is now over.  Most of the classes seem to be decent.  The only class that I don’t think I’ll like at all is a computer class.  I don’t think she (the instructor) likes Google.  It’s basically the same class I took last semester, which is lame.

Someone hit my car yesterday.  I’ll have to take it to a body show.  It was at the dangerous intersection of Taylor Road and the I-85-west off ramp.  We were both okay.  I just want to get my car fixed.  I don’t like having anything wrong with it.

Prayer in the Darkness is tomorrow night at 10.  I hope people come.  Something I’ve had to learn is that there may not be a lot of people, but never to be discouraged.  It’s easy to get discouraged, though.

This past week has been busy with the release of a new version of E-Blah.  It’s been a little bit of a pain this time, as there were several problems at the start.  I’ve fixed just about all of them right away, though.  I just didn’t have enough people to beta test before release.

I’ve really been enjoying my Urge music subscription.  I’ve found so many new CD’s and artists that I would have otherwise never listened to.  Ten dollars a month may seem like a lot, but when compared with buying several CD’s every month that costs the same amount, it’s well worth it.  Currently I’ve been enjoying Jessie Daniels, Decypher Down, and Fireflight, among others.  One of my favorite songs right now has to be “You Decide” by Fireflight.  The music video made me fall in love with it all over again.

Someone told me not so long ago that one of the reasons why it’s good to get out of Tallassee sometimes, is to see joy.  I guess I wasn’t so sure what was meant by that … until this week.  Maybe I wasn’t paying attention.  Maybe I was overlooking it.  I’m not really sure, but I’m beginning to see that what this person said was true.  Maybe everyone’s just hopeless (or feels that way, I should say).  I went to several places in Tallassee this week and the people were just so down.  I went to Wal-Mart today, for instances, and the lady checking me out literally looked like a zombie.  I’m not sure what needs to be prayed for first — things broken (such as drugs and religion) or fruits of the spirit (love, joy, peace, etc).

Something I have been learning recently is attitude and how I look at things.  When I first walked into English class (late, I might add) and realized it was British Literature, I could have turned off and just said I’m going to hate this, or I could go in with the mind set that it’s going to be interesting.  So far it has been interesting.  It’s attitude though.  I wonder if I just have a bad attitude about a lot of things, so that’s something I’m going to try to work on getting out of. I don’t want to make pre-judgements about anything — people, things, places, ideas, etc.

Tired

I've been tired this week with work and all.  Nothing at all is going on at work.  Nothing important anyway.  Doing much of what I'd do at home, only much (much) less productive.  I can't program or do anything (but answer tech support and read news).  Since money from E-Blah comes from upgrades and and new versions — I won't make much off of it this summer.  Oh well.  What's worse is when I get home I have 4 to 5 hours to do … something.  I can't program because if I start something I like to finish it that night.  I'm too tired to do anything on top of that.  I guess I have weekends.  Weekends are full, though.  I wish I had someone to talk to.  Guess complaining about that won't change anything though.  I see as much drama at work now as I did in high school.  That always makes life happy.  It reminds me of times past … but back again.  Maybe some people just don't grow up.  Maybe.  *sigh*

If weakness is a wound
That no one wants to speak of
Then “cool” is just how far we have to fall
I am not immune
I only want to be loved
But I feel safe behind the firewall
Can I lose my need to impress?
If you want the truth, I need to confess

I’m not alright
I’m broken inside, broken inside
And all I go through
It leads me to you, it leads me to you

Burn away the pride
Bring me to my weakness
Until everything I hide behind is gone
And when I’m open wide
With nothing left to cling to
Only you are there to lead me on
Cause honestly, I’m not that strong

I’m not alright
I’m broken inside, broken inside
And all I go through
It leads me to you, it leads me to you

And I move, and I move, and I move…closer to you
And I move, and I move, and I move…closer to you
And I move, and I move, and I move…closer to you
And I move, and I move, and I move…

I’m not alright
I’m broken inside, broken inside
broken inside, broken inside
And all I go through
Leads me to you, leads me to you

I’m not alright, I’m not alright, I’m not alright…that’s why I need you

I'm Not Alright – Sanctus Real