Monday, April 28, 2008

Life Preparation 101

I like to be prepared. I fluctuate between being a person who is over prepared or a person who did not prepare at all. But at my core, I like to be prepared. I also don't like to fail. I dread being put in a situation that I don't feel prepared for because I might fail.

Having been home schooled, I always wonder if I am as prepared as they are. I fluctuate between feeling silly pride that I am better schooled or prepared than the average joe, and abject terror that I am not at all schooled or prepared.

I have been graduated from high school for two years. Still the question looms. Am I prepared? What is being prepared? What am I preparing for? Am I too focused on the future to realize that my life is happening today? I am not in college, I don't know of anything that I want from college. Two years ago, I was terrified of college but I can honestly say that fear is not what kept me from going. I didn't, and don't believe that college is the way God would have me prepare.

In the past two years, I have alternately taken and lead a discipleship course. I have been at home on and off as well. I found out that my being able to sleep twelve to fourteen hours a day is not normal and was on bed rest for a month. My relationship with God has been rebuilt almost from square one. I had a part time job at a horse barn. I found out that I want to own sheep.

So, if college is not the way God lead me to prepare does that mean that the way He has lead me is preparation? I can tell you very specifically what I want to do with my life. Simply put, I want to be a mother to troubled children, but there are many more details that God has given me. He has given me a dream. In America, when you have a dream you make a to-do list of how you are going to accomplish your dream.

My dream is different. My dream is a gift from God, and as a gift He has told me that He will accomplish it. It is a lot like giving someone the picture of the gift you had in mind for them because it is still in the mail. You don't give someone a picture of the 'gift' and then tell them to buy it themselves with their own money.

As I was pondering this I found that it is a very biblical concept, this giving a dream as promise of a future gift. Joseph was told that he would rule over his family and he became a slave and was sent to jail. Moses was groomed to be an Egyptian prince and became a convict and a sheep herder before he became the leader of his nation. David was anointed as king and went right back to doing odd jobs at home.

I don't see anything in these stories that would be recognized as life preparation except by the eyes of faith. I happen to have a pair of Eyes of Faith and they tell me a surprising story. God uses day to day life as preparation. I've had a lot of daily days, and to believe by faith that I am prepared for tomorrow is relieving.
"If God is for us, who [and what] can be against us?" Romans 8:31

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Enemy . . . God's Errand Boy?

It is common among Christians or those familiar with Christianity to ask the question, "If God has won the battle forever, why is the fighting still going on?" I have spent more than my share of time pondering this question myself. I never came up with a satisfactory answer, I just believed both statements without being able to reconcile them. Lately, I have heard more than one person explain it rather well. So, I'm going to try, using my own words but their concepts.

First, God and Satan are not equal powers duking it out in the sky. God created Satan and keeps him in existence. If at any time God willed that he no longer be in existence *poof* that would be the end of him, no fighting or battle necessary at all.

So why does God allow him to keep hanging around!!!

Because God is the ultimate teacher and He knows humanity. He really knows humanity, with a kind of knowing that we only dream about.

If you think about how children learn perhaps you will catch on to why Satan is necessary. Children learn opposites. If you teach a child the color pink, without teaching it any other color then it will awake to the realization that everything is pink and be quite pleased with its knowledge.

None of our words would mean anything unless they had an opposite. Think about anything, color, temperature, emotions, taste, noises. Try to describe any of it without using the opposite or difference of another thing and you have nothing left. That, in itself, puts Satan and evil in a new perspective.

I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things. (Isaiah 45:7)

As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive. (Genesis 50:20)

Is it possible that just as Joseph's brothers plotted evil against him while God plotted the same thing for good, that Satan plots evil against us while God plots good? Is it possible that Satan is an unsuspecting tool that God uses to bring us to Himself?

"It doesn't matter, really, how great the pressure is; it only matters where the pressure lies. See that it never comes between you and the Lord--then the greater the pressure, the more it presses you to His breast." -Hudson Taylor

One last thought: The evil, or suffering that God divinely planned for our lives does not press only ourselves closer to God. I believe that as Joseph tells his brothers ". . .to preserve many people alive." So the suffering in our lives serves a dual purpose, to preserve many alive. As is prophecied in Revelations, "They overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb, and because of the word of their testimony. And they did not love their soul until death." (Revelation 12:11)

Monday, April 14, 2008

Just for Fun

You're the perfect blend of caffeinated coffee and decaf. You're the happy medium between high-intensity focus and spaced-out daydreaming. Maybe you think you're indecisive, because you tend to choose the safe, middle ground in any debate, but other people appreciate your non-confrontational ways. You're easygoing and willing to compromise, so your friendships and relationships probably last a long time.