Take My Heart Rebuild It, My Soul Reignite It

The law of the LORD is perfect, converting [restoring] the soul -Psalm 19:7

How often do I pray and beg for God to restore my soul? How often do I say that I need a change of heart? How about every time I pray the conclusion of every hour–“sanctify my soul”? I say I want all of these things, but when it comes down to it, what am I doing on my end to obtain it?

Like everything else, grace comes from God. In the end, it’s all impossible without God’s grace. And like everything else, there’s a teeny tiny part for me to do as well. This verse is giving me the answer: “the law of the LORD…restoring the soul”. What does this mean to me? The law of God, His statutes, His testimonies, they will enable me to change my soul, to restore it to glory.

This is not just not committing adultery or not lying or stealing. This is the law that should be present in my everyday life–my canon–my spiritual rule. The only way to keep the connection open to receive God’s grace is by carrying out my spiritual rule.
For those of you who have been following me since my old blog, you know I love this topic. For everyone else, or even if you’d like to refresh yourself on what a spiritual rule entails, click here to read more. 

The only way to expect a restoration, a change in the desires of my heart, is by keeping the connection open. After all, isn’t that why nothing could get me down in Kenya? Anytime there was a hint of sadness creeping in, I ran to my Bible, I leaped to my agpeya. Never has my communication with Papa been stronger. The last few months, I’d personally been slack. I blamed it on my boards examination, and although that really isn’t a good excuse, boards are over. God blessed me with this huge revival the last couple weeks, and it’s time to build on it, not sink back into laziness.

So it’s time to make every day a Kenyan day. Once I do this, my words and my heart’s desires will truly be acceptable in the eyes of the Lord:
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer (v. 14).

I will leave you with a link to my good friend’s song inspiring the title of this post:

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“Son of God”: I Finally Watched It

My meditations on the “Son of God” movie

Watching Christ’s compassion towards the adulterous woman as she was about to be stoned really got to me. I am that woman. I am a sinful adulteress, straying from the One who vows to love me. I continuously leave my First Love to run after other things.
But Christ loves me anyway. Christ fights for me anyway. Christ died for me anyway. He lifts me up, kisses my head, and says, “come and sin no more,” as He did her.
Who else but Him would care for me like that? What other god would love me enough to give up His own life just so that I would have life?

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Or how about when Christ enters the temple?
And He said to those who sold doves, “Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!” Then His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for Your house has eaten Me up.” -John 2:16-17
Where is my zeal? Does my zeal for The Lord and His house eat me up? Does it consume me? Because if not, I’m living life wrong. The only true way to live is to live totally and utterly consumed by the Lord’s fire.
Christ was not concerned with what those in the temple thought of Him. He was only concerned with pleasing the Father.
What about me? Do I have so much zeal that all I can do is live my life trying to please The Lord?
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There is a very short scene before Judas wanders off to betray Christ, where you see Jesus playing with John the Beloved. He has John’s head scarf in His hand and is playing around with it in John’s face.
To me, this showed the personal relationship between these two. God has a very unique relationship with each one of us, enough to be playful and teasing, so long as we let Him.
He is a very personal God. He wants each of us to live closely with Him, so that we may spend eternity joking around with Him.
After all, we must be friends with God on earth so that we may be friends with God in heaven.
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I am Peter. I try to love Christ. I try to believe. I try to be faithful. I tell Him, “I will not fall away, I will lay down my life for You,” and yet I fall, and I betray, and I deny.
I am constantly putting my foot in my mouth, saying the wrong things, trying to do things my way. I am as much of a screwup as Peter seemed to be.
Yet Christ chose him to be the rock upon which to build the Church. And Christ told him to tend His flock. And he was the one to bring three thousand to Christ after one word.
Peter is a reminder that, though I fall, I can get back up. I can be redeemed. There is hope for me yet.
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As I watch Him die on the cross, I look around me on the plane, and I wonder how many of these people know what Christ gave up for them? How many know that they have been offered life? How many are living in the hope of the Resurrection?
It hurts my heart to think of all those who are lost, all those who know not what they have been given.

Lord Jesus, reveal Yourself. Let these people know You, believe in You, have hope in You. Amen.

Conversational

A slightly edited version of my journal post while in Nairobi, Kenya.
(For simplicity’s sake, bolded words are the responses I received from God)

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though its waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with its swelling. – Psalm 46:1-3

Papa, You are supposed to be my refuge and my strength, my help when I am in trouble. Well, I am. I don’t understand what’s going on inside of me, but I need a refuge. I need a safe place. I need to be steadfast no matter what disaster comes my way. There isn’t even a disaster right now, and yet I’m freaking out inside. I don’t know if it’s sleep deprivation, or thinking about leaving this place, or all my uncertainty, but I feel shaken. I need a rock to hold onto. I need a refuge so I can lay my head down in peace.

Papa, I need You to hold me right now like You did six years ago. I need You to calm the storm inside of me, stop the internal tears that are flooding my heart.

Be still, and know that I am God (v. 10)

I don’t know how. I can’t be still. I want to do, and go, and get things going. I want to stay here. I want to be done. I want to know what will happen, where I will be, so I can just be done waiting and wondering and not knowing. I just want to know.

Know that I am God

Then help me. Help me to know this and only this. That is the only way I will be satisfied, the only way I will obtain the peace I so desperately need. I need You to help me, guide me, because I’m so easily distracted. I am a dumb, dumb sheep, and unless You make sure I’m walking the right road, I will get myself lost and, I’m sure, seriously hurt yet again.

The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge (v. 11)
God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God shall help her, just at the break of dawn 
(v. 5)

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I know this is a slightly different kind of post that I normally write, but this quiet time was so important to me, and I felt the need to share. God answers. Whether it’s in the next verse or a year later, God answers. Not only did He answer me in the other verses of the psalms, but He answered me because for the first time in months I was able to have a real, honest, full conversation with Him. He made sure that I knew that He is here with me, beside me, inside me.

I pray that we run straight to the arms of our heavenly Father at the first sign of trouble. I pray that He fills you and guides you, dear friend. I pray that we stand firm in the faith and the hope of our salvation.

Photo Update: Two Boys And Their Cameras

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I really like this photo. The day before this photo was taken, these two had never met, had never heard of the other. Two hours into the day, they might as well have been old friends. To me, this is picture is the beauty of us as humans and our ability to relate to one another. We who are made in God’s image are able to relate and love one another as each member of the Trinity loves.

Fact or Fiction

Last week my family and I were blessed to spend a couple days at the beach. The Red Sea to be exact. It was nice and peaceful, but it was just a beach like any other beach. Until the first night when we were walking along the boardwalk and my mom turned to me and said, “How cool would it be if this was where the Israelites crossed the sea?”
Guys, Christ is real. He’s so very real. He walked this earth. He bled real blood. He’s real. Just like Moses and the Israelites who escaped pharaoh were real. This was a reminder to me that our God is a real God, a living God, One who walked on the very same earth I am walking on today.
It’s so easy for us to forget. We read the stories, but that’s all they are to us: stories. That’s why the Church is in such a broken state. We, Christ followers, are living like everyone else, living as those who do not have life when we should be living in the resurrection of our Savior. We were raised with Him and we live with Him inside of us, so we have life inside of us.
We are in the Holy 50 days. Every day is resurrection day–or it should be! It’s about time we start living as those who have life.
I choose to live. How about you?

I Am Confident I Am His

A journal entry while in St. Bishoy Monastery, Egypt

And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming. -1 John 2:28

There was a monk who once said, “Be a friend of God on earth, and you will be a friend of God in heaven.” You can see that here. Everything is about Him. Every word speaks of Him. Every knee bows down to Him. Literally. It was a really beautiful thing to witness in liturgy today. After the reading of the Gospel, EVERY person in the church did a metanoia (prostration), asking for forgiveness of his sins. Every single knee hit the ground, acknowledging our weakness and the greatness of God, acknowledging the we are nothing next to the pure glory of God.

But none of this acknowledgment is in a negative way, an utterly shameful way. We are, of course, ashamed of our sins, but because we know God, because we abide in His body, partake of His blood, we no longer HAVE to be ashamed. We bow down, we ask for God’s forgiveness and the forgiveness of others, yet we no longer bear shame because we are clothed by the love and blood of Christ since we abide in Him.

He came and suffered so that I would not have to be ashamed any longer. He purposed all so that I may belong to Him, abide in Him, live for Him and through Him. How, then, can I bear shame when I bear Christ within me?

This is His purpose. This is His aim. He wants me to come to Him as a confident child to her father, not with shame as a dishonored servant.

St. John says in his first epistle: Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! (3:1).  He is the first One to call us His children. He taught us to speak to Him as our Father. It is not I who who come to Him requesting such an honor, but He who says, “You are my daughter”.

I am His daughter, and for some crazy reason, He decides to love me, and to make me confident in Him. He wants that relationship from now, so that when eternity comes along, I’ll greet Him as an old friend.

It’s time to live life in Him.

AFRICA!

Hey guys! For you who don’t already know, I have been granted a huge blessing. The whole month of May I will be in Egypt/Kenya. In Egypt, I will be spending time with family, visiting monasteries, and so on. In Kenya, I will be serving with the Coptic Medical Association of North America (CMANA). Follow my journey this month! All my posts will be under the category “Africa 2014”.

If you are interested in donating to the hospital in Kenya, check out cmanamerica.org , click “Contribute”, and when selecting the campaign you will donate to, select “Endoscopy Suite for Kenya with Bishop Boulos”. Donations should be tax deductible.

God bless and keep me in your prayers!