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Archive for October, 2011

25.10.2011

Micah 6:8

“He has shown you,O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?”

I am grateful for God.

At this very moment I am in Belfast, Northern Ireland. I am actually here with two friends from my home university in Colorado.  We’re staying with a young 52-year old Christian man (let us call him Kyle) who has lived in England and Ireland. The past few days we have visited many hostels, a pub, and a few cafes, in which many guys have shown interest. I was attracted to a Brazilian who treated me well, but internally refused for anything to happen.  However, he did properly greet me. Then, after attending church in Dublin Sunday, an older Irish man drove us around looking for a place to stay so we weren’t out in the rain, he acted as our tour guide and chauffeur. He was amazing.  Now in Belfast, Kyle has cooked for us, driven us, prepared a room for us, had us seated on a comfy sofa and carried our dinners to us, made us Chai tea and homemade shortbread cookies, etc.  The proper etiquette here is so much more enriching than any male contact I have encountered in America. Kyle is in love with his girlfriend of 3 years and would love to be married, but she is not ready quite yet.  It is such a blessing to witness how a man of God cares for his most cherished beings.

Other than these matured single men treating us as God’s princesses, I have also re-entered the dating world with Christ Himself. Walking around and taking pictures, consistently recognizing His beauty and love in everything we do together.

YES! We are called to an intimate relationship with Him first and foremost.

How does God look at me when I do the wrong thing, with the right intentions?

We actually had the most amazing guest speaker from South Africa at church on Sunday speak directly on this and then another perspective of it has been summed up during the sermon in Dublin.  I will quickly recite some of my notes:
Bosko.org has his free books to view ps.

Buddha and the other gods are dead, they are unable to come to my rescue, but my God is alive through the living Jesus Christ, because of Him: I am rescued!

Once He has breathed life into a person, He has no plan to move out!

Genesis: God called upon nature to create nature, but He called upon Himself to make man–we are His face on earth.

There is one place in the whole universe that God does not enter without permission: our hearts.  He loves us so much.  He gives us sovereignty over our own choices

The master CD of the human race once was scratched through Adam’s sin, but since him, God replaced the master model of the universe–Jesus: transformed.

Think of the caterpillar in its’ cocoon.  For a period of time it is the most vulnerable creature on all earth, but in its’ shelter, it trusts the transformation into a beautiful butterfly.  With trust in God we also turn ugly colors into magnificent images.

Religion tells us what to do, but God tells us who we are. Staying close to the Lord is like tying twine(mine and his) together to braid a mighty strong rope.  When I begin to weaken His end allows me to continue on, courageously.

As the GPS tells me “re-calculating” when I don’t follow the best of directions, God allows me to make my own mistakes, but gives me new pathways to the final destination: him. The GPS never gets mad, no matter how many times I miss my turn, she just desires to bring me to the correct final destination–as does God. “Life is all about releasing the butterfly”

I am taking Western Philosophy right now and studying Socrates.  I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this, but I really do love a lot of his perspective.  To be wise is to know that we do not know. Right? So then, virtue is seeking knowledge, and therefore ridding ignorance.  If you do not remember or know the basis of these philosophies, I can include more notes..but I pretty much think i agree.  The more we seek to know God, the closer we come to looking directly into His light.  Right now, the sun would blind us, but when we truly know God and are able to be with Him in each way…then, we will be able to be fully His and look into His eyes: not only feeling the warmth of the sun’s rays and the reflections from the sun’s light rays, but actually looking directly at the source of light: the Father.

Now I think is the right place for Dublin’s sermon notes:
Do I reject Your acceptance of me?
Read Hebrews 10!
Head (God loves me, God accepts me as I am, nothing can separate me from God’s love)
vs. heart (feel darkness in my own heart, shame for doing wrong, and “rejecting” God’s acceptance)
God has made me perfect through Christ, and is making me Holy

Perfection dealt through imperfection is made perfect again through the forgiveness of one perfect man–I am perfectly forgiven and are given the honor of confidently entering His perfect place

Draw near to God–it is already dealt with!
I am already forgiven for what I will do tomorrow!

Repentance IS NOT sorrow, IT IS turning to God!
God continues to provide gifts for me, and when I use it in the wrong way, Satan will try to tell me of my mistakes, but Jesus does not want this to draw distance between me and God: a first aid kit of repentance
He knows I make mistakes in advance.

What happens when I run to Jesus? He exchanges my dirty laundry for His life.

Align our behavior with the truth: in the moment–Run to Jesus! Our Gospel is to completely lean on Him.

Will we dare to believe?

Since midterms, the only thing that I have bowed down to pray for–other than a meal–is for good weather or the ability to be in awe of the natural state of the UK, without disturbances.  I essentially prayed for good weather. Selfish, it could be, but I recognize beauty and God’s work most through a photographers eye when I travel.

One friends’ prayer was for laughter, and the others’ for togetherness.

I doubt you have heard, but Dublin received 4 months worth of rain within 6 hours–8 feet.  The river filled and flooded the streets.  Cars floated off the asphalt, and 2 were killed. This so happened to all happen during my 9 hour tour of the west coast & Cliffs of Moher. AMAZING right? The entire trip was water-free until we were in the bus and the moon was shinning through the fading storm clouds around the intercity.

We met up with one of my girlfriends from my home church for the day, and she and I spoke of marriage, motherhood, travels, houses, etc.  When speaking with her, it seemed all so clear as why I desire this, but when she left this morning, the full conversation faded.  It is almost as if God wanted me to recognize that it is in my future, that I have an understanding of what looking for God’s character in a man looks like, but He doesn’t want me to look for that man instead of looking to Him. For the time being, it is me and God, but some time, I will be blessed with a husband that will allow me to interpret more of the male characteristics of our gracious God. This is the one thing I do remember from our conversation.  Right now, I feel as if I am only able to know my best friend, the Father through females in Christ, and in marriage, I will be able to explore the Father and Son traits that do not make sense to me now.

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15 October 2011

Recently I blabbed out that I felt guilty admiring a counterfeit purse.  It wasn’t even the mock-designer that I wanted, but the actual look of the bag.  I wasn’t close to even stopping to look at it, but I just blabbed out, “I feel guilty thinking that bag is cute..” In response, my friend disagreed completely, by stating that all humans are sinners and therefore, our actions count against us, not our thoughts.

In better wording, of course.

Anyhow..knowing us, I then proposed: so, if I were to think about pornography, but not hire a stripper or watch nudity online… is that not bad?

Her answer at that time was: it is human nature.

Human nature, yes…but in my opinion human nature is wrong.  We were sinners because of Adam and Eve, and it isn’t until we accept Jesus in our lives that that changes.  And even after the initial life-change, there remains temptation.

So..my argument continued.

In my past, I struggled with a similar issue, and the labels and comments that people repeated during a few years in my teenage years turned into my own self-reflection.  I became very dependent on specific people’s gestures and words.  And because of them, I once admitted to myself that I deserve no better than to work at Hooters or move to Las Vegas Blvd.

Those words became relatively my own thoughts, and could have been life-changing actions.

The thoughts may or may not be the life-altering decision, but they make it that much more real and regular to act on stupid intuition.

Life lesson: be careful to what or who you dedicate your time, money, efforts, thoughts, and love.  For right now, I know there are a select few that I can trust.  And even with them, I know there is only one who will Never Let Me Down: GOD! The Lord and Savior who changed me from the inside-out. He has molded me, and has not left my side since day one.  The crazy thing is, He plans to stay even after I take my last breaths.

May we all keep our minds on His work at hand and enjoy life through His eyes, words, and expressions.  For our tendencies follow a pattern of sinful nature, but He is pure. In His image, I will be led to sit at His feet.  Although we are not in His physical presence now, we are able to humble ourselves and bow down to Him: life, liberty, and a pursuit of happiness in Jesus name.

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15 October 2011

If God is sexless, how come we call Him “Father and the Son?”

And if He is male, does He understand male tendencies more? If He is male, did Adam arise from His “ribs” as Eve rose from Adam’s?

For ladies, it is sometimes difficult to associate our God with a god who cares for every little detail in our lives, including the monthly stress of hormones.  During these weeks and other womanly issues, is our God gracious enough to listen to our complaints and sort through our pains?

I think so… I know so, but do I count on it?

No.

It is hard to torment any guy during the hardest of days, so why would I put my beautiful, Loving, and Glorious God through the exhausting pit that is me during that time of the month?

God is greater than any man! God knows my pains more than I do myself! And He loves me so much He would literally do anything to protect my heart as His own.

I love calling God my Abba Father in Heaven, for He shows me what a Daddy is all about. He allows me to be His bride, in preparing me to look for a man’s character that most resembles His own; for, I deserve a man who treats me as my Daddy does.

I know because of my God, that love is everlasting.  That means it will never end–a love that goes so deep, and so wide NEVER ENDS!

“For my God is greater…my God is stronger… my God is Healer..and there is no one like” Him!

My God cares to have any conversation I am willing to have.

Our God is just that good!

Let’s get talking.. and better yet, listening! For, HE LOVES US!

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15 October 2011

Finally, as I spent an amazing evening enriched with Italian foods and culture, I reconciled with God that every single drop of liquid and every nutrient touched on my tongue is communion.

My friend that night told me of the chronology of communion in a way we don’t often speak of in the church:

First, because of our sins, we have to die to our past sins and lie down our lives for Christ’s sacrifice–we digest the bread.

Secondly, we are enriched with life–the wine–as His blood renews our inner spirit and gives us the energy, strength, guidance, and purity to begin a life full of worth and direction.

Because of our daily Communion, we are able to remind our mind, body, and soul of Christ’s sacrifice, but also to dedicate our every living moment to His work on earth.

With this in mind..

Wine is seen as the Communion drink, so is it inappropriate to use it with the mindset to lose control of your mind, body, and soul.  Some people drink to get drunk, some to relax and rest, and others, to dedicate themselves to the Lord.

Is it all about where we set our eyes?

Currently, my roommate has family visiting.  In one meal, 4 people finished 5 bottles of liquor and wines it seems. I can tell they are lost in conversation and are not clear in thought, but they are enjoying themselves.

My biggest concern about this is, my roommate is 20 years-old and enjoying drinking to drink, not to enjoy the flavor compliment of a dish, with her parents. It is not the girl I’m thinking of, but the parenting.  Parents are meant to be stern and caring, not best friends of their kids in my book.

The other issue, respect.

I remember my second time to the Vatican.  I visited with ISA during our orientation weekend.  The first night in Rome the larger population of students went out, and as we existed the bus towards this sacred Cathedral, a girl vomited and was unable to enter the museum or Cathedral.

Why would you waste the experience?

Today, at Eurochocolate, I thoroughly enjoyed my time.  However, it wasn’t until the train ride home that I realized my friend was experiencing a hang-over.  We had a blast together, but the fact is: something could have happened, and I would feel responsible.

Drinking: is it a social issue or a religious practice?

My answer is all about the culinary practice and blessing of Christ in my life, what is yours?

My prayer is that we are all able to feel His breath renew our Spirits each time we take that first sip of wine..for we are broken with the bread, and restored as a new being by the blood of Christ.

He is beautiful, and in His image: so am I.

May we all be the people He intended us to be.

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13 October 2011

When I met my roommates, I promptly replied to a question: “Yes, I am a virgin.”

Then I respectfully spoke of my beliefs and why I choose to obey the commandments in this regard.

I believe it is one thing to commit to not giving myself fully away before marriage, but it is another to respect the piece of art that I am.  I am by no means perfect, but with a lot of attention, I have gained a confidence–both of inner and outer self-esteem–that is not held by the norm of the female population.

Tonight, I was walking away from a Spiritually fulfilled conversation and heard among a group of girls dressed for a crazy night.  One loudly insisted, “It is normal.  I have to manually open my legs…”

Is this appropriate?

I am studying in Florence, Italy and the 20-somethings from America are seriously only concerned in the ability to drink, party, and possibly show up to class hung-over, tired, dirty, and unprepared.  I may desire for classes to be somewhat easier in order to spend more time in the culture, but by no means will I consider disrespecting a professor so much by requesting limited assignments or whatnot.

It is despicable what some people expect these days.

In context, I assumed the girl was speaking on the matter of trading her sensual goods for a free night’s worth of drinks, and therefore, convincing her group of friends that it is possible to pair up with an Italian when they get to their destined bar of the night.

Not only is it disturbing that the girls are willing to do this; they are constantly sending out invitations by dressing in a way that is meant for a hotel room not the public street.  Now I do not know if it was started by male tendencies or female need for acceptance, but after certain hours of the night, this behavior is expected of women by Italian men.

Earlier this evening a respected 19-year-old male art student spoke on the topic of Christian artists sketching nude models.  Is this righteous or is it sinful and an expression of lust?

His opinion rose from a platform for the natural beauty of the body–God’s creation. However, as Christians, are we to experience the opposite sex in that way before our wedding night.  And if so, how are we supposed to cherish thoughts, vulnerability, and purity for our future beloved one?

Recently, my Outreach Events co-worker turned influential Christian 20-somethings speaker and author spoke on Christians and sex.  A while back she blogged about the negative influence of sex on Christianity’s youth, but in submission for publication, she was requested to take a new perspective. She researched and observed Christian behavior and the distance we have to the topic of sex and explored God’s mission for the human body.

Sex is meant to be shared among a husband and a wife.  There is so much of me that is meant to be fully committed to the Lord now (as this writer acknowledged), on the wedding night, how am I supposed to understand the boundaries and jump full throttle into submission to a man?

For now, I am God’s bride, and in the future, I will be shared by a man who will work with me in growing in an upward direction, connecting more and more with Christ the Savior, Lover, Redeemer, and Father.

Sex can be dangerous, but it was designed to be beautiful.  Let us honor it as He intended.

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12 October 2011

Every night as I leave my famiglia in Scandicci I either journal or snooze on the 20-minute tram ride home and only look up after the stop before the stazione to see a building labeled “Profamily.”

I convinced myself the first few times that it is pro-life, against abortion, or perhaps an adoption agency.

Continuing on from last night’s thoughts, I believe this too is a reminder that God has included me in His family.

He desires for me to feel His love and love others as He has welcomed me in as His own. I now am to walk arm-in-arm with the people of Italy, California, Colorado, and the world, uniting His family. A family is not made of blood nor a specific community, it is the same as a home: “where the heart is.”

If I feel comfortable and am loving and growing with a population of people, they are family.

God is profamily, I am profamily, and now, I pray you are able to find your family.  Remember, a comfort zone is nice to have, but you cannot always rely on a security blanket, you’ve got to experience life on your own two feet, with the loving support of a family.

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12 October 2011

Is it true that in order to adapt to a country you must adopt the day to day habits of its’ people?

In order to adapt to family virtues, do you first adopt a child?

Or is it true that you adapt a perspective by first adopting another’s technique?

This evening I spent time with my Firenze famiglia and left, thinking of adoption.  Mama Laura and I were in the middle of a conversation about linguistics when we came across a lecture on the poverty of Brazil.  I was unaware of the conditions of hardship in the country.

She turned to me and explained as well as she could about financially supporting orphaned children in Brazil, and labeled it an adoption of a child who remains in their own home country.   I personally financial sponsor a 10-year-old girl, Beranny Estafano Rosario Salas of Haiti and spent a week in Guatemala after the natural disasters of 2010. Compared to many Americans, I feel very informed and involved in matters of life and death, hope, courage, and faith.

This conversation was something different.

When asked what she calls the FUA program of which she gained me, she responded by saying I am her child. She needs another girl in the family.

How else am I to feel other than in complete adoration of what God the Father has prepared my life for? She wishes she knew more Italian so we could speak, but I assured her that I will be returning to Italy for many trips to come.  I am never leaving for eternity. She asked what I am doing for Christmas, and there–the invitation.

The Christmas season is one spent with laughter and love, but for my family, it is the molding of new traditions. However, now, I have a family to spend the season with.  A time of celebration not only for Jesus’ birth, but for the twins too.

I will not be alone.

Then the next day, I will pick up my best friend and be honored to unite my two worlds!

I know I adopted my grandmother’s characteristics, now, I continue to adopt my Florentine mom’s habits and household/intellectual abilities.  I respect the kids’ denial in learning English, and I sympathize with their selfishness.

It is amazing how we begin to think on our own.

On the tram ride home, I sat infront of an Italian couple holding a 2-year-old Asian boy.

America is not God on earth. America is not the answer to life, God is. I do now have all the answer, nor do you. I can learn from you, you can learn from me, and we will be strengthened by God’s guidance.  I know, He knows what He is doing with us, for He has adopted each of us in His eternal family.

I have a family to celebrate with, to live with, and to grow with.  No matter who is in the ciricle you speak of, you are adopting their ways, and therefore, adapting a new quality of life.

Adapt away, for we do not know best.

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