January 28, 2009

Courage: Quotes That Inspire Me

The important thing is this: To be able at any moment to sacrifice what we are for what we could become.
--Charles Dubois--

I just think life is scary. We either go through life stagnant, or we jump off those cliffs and climb those mountains and face those unknown challenges behind those scary doors -- the kind that look like the gates of Mordor.

Only when we are no longer afraid do we begin to live.
--Dorothy Thompson--

I differ with you slightly, Ms. Thompson. I think that only when we decide to not let our fears rule our lives do we begin to live -- and in that, face and conquer those fears that held us back.

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.
--Eleanor Roosevelt--

Isn't this one of the most overused quotes ever? But I never hear the last part -- you must do the thing you think you cannot do. Why is that? Maybe I'm just not listening very well. Or maybe, no one wants to do those things that really freak us out and look impossible. I certainly, naturally, do not want to do those things!! But with Christ, I can face my fears and do those things with I alone truly cannot do!

The right way is not always the popular and easy way. Standing for right when it is unpopular is a true test of moral character.
--Margaret Chase Smith--

That goes with that VERY popular quote by Edmund Burke, "A man truly believes not what he recites in his creed but what he is willing to die for."

(Our) History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage (and Christ of course!), need not be lived again.
--Maya Angelou--

No comment. That's pretty clear to me.

Whatever you do, you need courage. Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising that tempt you to believe your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires some of the same courage that a soldier needs. Peace has its victories, but it takes brave men and women to win them.
--attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson--

I LOVE that!!! I want to be a brave woman!! I know I lack in so many ways -- courage especially being one of them. But I also know that in every single area that I lack, Christ is there to make up the difference if we are sold out for Him!

It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause, who at best knows achievement and who at the worst if he fails at least fails while daring greatly so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.
--Theodore Roosevelt--

If that all sounded like a lot of the same thing over and over, I'm sorry. But I needed a courage pick-me-up. It helps me to realize that I'm not as alone in my struggles as I think I am and that a lot of other people have faced similar challenges and survived and WON.

Alone, I can do nothing. But with Christ, with the faith of a mustard seed, I can move mountains!!!

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you."
--Deuteronomy 31:6--

January 23, 2009

"Who I Am Hates Who I've Been"

This is an unsual post for me. But, apart from the at-times, very rocky music, the lyrics are sooo true for me and a lot of people who have received "a second chance" from God. I hope that I will be able to extend second chances to people who have hurt me but come back with remorse.

Because God has been so merciful to me and I am so undeserving...

And I do hate who I've been. But she's gone now. A new creation remains, unrecognizable and full of light and love for/of Jesus. Praise be to Him alone.

January 22, 2009

"Save to the Uttermost"

"Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them."
-Hebrews 7:25 (KJV)-

I have many friends who have left -- some to get pregnant out of wedlock, others to drugs and alcohol, and others just the path of "self-fulfillment," which inevitably turns into a place of darkness in your soul that no one can shine a light bright enough to cast away the black emptiness.

I know because I've been there. Not even the most well-meaning friends or family can drag you out of that place. You sort of wander from thrill to thrill, outwardly happy, but inwardly dying a little more every day.

I convinced myself for a long time with excuse after excuse that yes, I was happy, and yes, this is what I am supposed to do. But you never can quite reach that itch that is so deep inside you don't even know where it is you need to scratch, that wound that is so hidden you can never find it to stop the bleeding no matter how hard you try.

It takes people different lengths of time to realize and then acknowledge they have this burning,
throbbing pain inside their core. Some people are such good liars that they never can reach that place of total honesty. But there is always something missing.

Don't believe me? Let me try another tack.

Love is supposed to be the numero uno, the most important thing in life to attain. Lennon famously sang, "Love is all we need." But is it?

50 percent of American marriages now end in divorce. 50 percent! Even the evangelical church loses half of its family units to divorce. BNET.com reports that 59 percent of their survey respondents between the ages of 18 and 34 say they have recently experienced a breakup.

So if half of marriages end and well over half of the relationships in the first quarter of your adult life end, is love really all you need? All those marriages pledged to love unto death do them part. I'm fairly sure most of those relationships said, "I love you," to each other and meant it to varying degrees.

Apparently, Lennon was wrong.

So back to my original thought. If even love of a spouse or boy/girlfriend, cannot truly complete you, what can?

I contend that love of a different kind completes you. And in that, Lennon was not wrong. Love IS all we need -- the love of God and the love for God. He is the Missing Piece. If you believe He created us, then you must also believe He created us for a reason.

That reason is to find and love Him, with a superceding passion that can indeed carry you through every crevasse and canyon, over every mountain and peak, and across every raging river and impassable ocean in life.

But we will not know we need to find Him if nothing tells us we need Him. And that is where the missing piece in our hearts, the itch that is so deep we cannot reach it, and the wound that is so hidden we cannot find it, come in. WE tell ourselves we need God! God created us needing something, and that something is HIM.

If we are not open to finding Him and loving Him, then we spend our whole lives searching. Look at Brad and Angelina! They have how many kids now and they want still more?? They spend their time on so many continents no one knows where they are from one day to the next, and are so wealthy that three mansions aren't enough, but they must have one in every country they like. They appear happy and content, but their lives clearly speak otherwise. Always more,
always new, always something else.

But they are an extreme case that perhaps a lot of people can't relate to.

So I take myself -- an average girl sitting next to you at a table in the college library. The man sitting across from me thinks I'm doing my science homework. But here I am pouring out my burden to the world wide web.

Three years ago, come April, I was looking for something. From 14-18, I developed quite a few bad habits during my search, so many that even my family was despairing of bearing with me.

I was a thief.
I was a liar.
I was a control freak.
I was materialistic to an extreme.
I exaggerated.
I was a flirt.
I was self-absorbed.
I was selfish.
I was apathetic.
I was passionless, except about having fun.
I was ... lost.

How many of those characteristics can you ascribe to yourself at sometime in your life? Probably many of them. The fact is we are all like that -- really awful people under a pretty wrapping job (reality shows especially dramatize that). We are all missing some sort of chip in our physical computer. A chip that only Christ can fulfill.

So back to my friends. I worry for them and I pray for them everyday -- sometimes multiple times throughout the day. But when I start to feel as though I have to do something to save them, I've been stopping myself to look to the One who loves them even more than I do, Who wants them to be saved more than I do, and Who knows them better than even I do (and therefore knows what they must go through before they can find Him and love Him.)

I truly believe He IS ABLE TO SAVE TO THE UTTERMOST. He saved me, one of those "lost causes." I trust that anyone who comes unto Him, no matter what their background, He will save them, and keep them to life eternal.

"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened."
-Matthew 7:7-8-

January 18, 2009

Darwin's Confession

"To suppose that the eye with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree."

- Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species, p. 175.


Thought-provoking is it not? I have heard Darwin recanted of some of his theory of evolution before he died but have not read his words directly yet. I certainly plan to after reading the above quote. And challenge the rest of you to do the same.

January 15, 2009

A Conundrum

"Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you, Reprove a wise man and he will love you."
--Proverbs 9:8--
I go to a community college. All day long I am surrounded by souls. Many of whom are just slightly older high-schoolers, maturity-wise. Finding someone who is interested in truth and wisdom is...well, very very rare. I am more likely to be "scoffed" or ridiculed when I speak up, than to be received well. It is even more rare to find a teacher who, although disgustingly liberal, will respect you for standing up for what you believe.
But does that mean you don't try? Do you stand up in class and say, "That is wrong?" Or do you ignore the evolutionary propaganda and sit by quietly while your dozens of more naive, sponge-like classmates absorb the "material" because, well, the PhD in the front of the room believes it so it must be true? When you come across one of those "scoffers" Proverbs talks about, do you let it slide because they won't believe you anyway?
God did not send us to monasteries up in the Alps (yes, Alps) for a reason! He wants us to be "fishers of men."
Jesus said, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves." (Luke 10:2) Like lambs among wolves. That doesn't sound like a very good Shepherd and that also doesn't sound anything like words of the wisest man to ever live (Solomon), who counseled us to NOT reprove scoffers!
The thing is, Jesus did not send us out to harvest the fields of souls alone. He sent us with a Guardian, a Counselor -- the Holy Spirit. All we have to do is wait for the "Field Manager" to send us to our tasks!
So the "task" that started this train of thought. I was at school yesterday, standing at the computers in the library. Two guys started talking, not whispering, two computers down, about how they were going to start a video arcade/strip club not far from here. The main guy went on and on about how the local mega-church would shut them down within a month but what a month it would be! It was his friend's dream!! And what a great dream it was! To break up families, degrade men and women, and society! What a hoot!
I must admit, my head was about to explode. Steam was practically visible coming from my ears like a teapot. I was getting angrier and angrier. How dare they!! I had to do something. I felt like something inside me was pushing to get out -- to yell "perverts!" at them.
But, expectedly, my Americanized politeness/political correctness instincts fought back. No, I thought, I shouldn't. Freedom of speech and all. What if I see them around school? Etc. Etc. You can imagine my train of thought.
Unfortunately for them, I have spent the last two years trying to get rid of my Americanized politeness and fear of man's disapproval. The Holy Spirit was clearly telling me I couldn't let evil raise its ugly head without hitting it back down, like that frog-bopping game in Chucky Cheese's when I was kid.
I walked over to them as I left. "You guys are disgusting," I said firmly, detest practically dripping from my voice, looking the main guy square in the eye. Right on queue, the scoffing began. "HA!" he hooted, clapping his hands, "Our first protester!!" The other looked shocked.
I walked away, refraining from kicking him right where it hurts. I'm fiesty -- not mean, and not in a rush for an arrest warrant to show up on my record.
But I felt like the victor. I knew that I had done the right thing. I don't think it'll make a difference but at least I did not stand idly by. I was faithful to what I believe. More importantly, I was faithful to the "still, small voice" within me -- the Holy Spirit. And that is the main part. That is the part Solomon left out. If I could re-write it, it would say, "Do not reprove scoffers, UNLESS THE HOLY SPIRIT TELLS YOU TOO, but expect them to hate you anyway."
"A man truly believes, not what he recites in his creed, but what he is willing to die for."
--author forgotten--
I wasn't in any danger of dying, except maybe socially. But the concept can be broadened to that. Essentially, if you aren't willing to overturn the moneychangers' tables with Jesus, don't think walking with Him.

January 08, 2009

On my 21st Birthday

“For the message of the Cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved, it is the POWER OF GOD.”

*1 Cor. 1:18*

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.”

*Matthew 16:24-25*

I can’t say it any better than those two verses.

“For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.”

That line – I have never believed anything more truly than that line.

A Mini Testimony on my 21st Birthday:

For so long, my life was MINE. What did I want, need, desire, hope for. And guess what?

I didn’t get anything I wanted. Only pain.

I didn’t get any of the things I thought I needed. Only pain.

I didn’t fulfill any of my desires. Only pain.

I didn’t realize any of my hopes. Only pain.

I lost my life truly and fell to a place of depression I never thought I’d break free from even though I tried to be a “good girl.” But then I realized. It IS too much to do on my own. I can't keep trying -- to please God through good works, or to please myself through anything else.
I just had to decide, “Do I want Jesus and His love more than anything else? Is that going to be my lifelong desire? Or do I want to continue messing everything up?”
April 2006. Beginning of the journey. I picked up my cross, and followed Him.

And have truly found LIFE. And every day, I thank God for the “indescribable gift.”