Saturday Soup

Things I've learned or re-learned in the past 48 hours

  • It's easy to psych yourself out by being afraid of your emotions.  What I mean is that if you're afraid of feeling a certain way, and you dwell on that fear, you will feel that way.  Because life's kind of vicious like that.
  • When I don't want to do something, I either avoid it at all costs or rush headlong into it.  Sometimes in life, neither is a plausible option.
  • Friends make things easier to bear, even if you have to bear them alone.  (I totally wasn't trying to make a LOTR reference there, but I realize it completely came out that way.)
  • ^^ which reminds me: the other day I was talking about how my roommate's desk was really deep and how I liked it, also (completely honestly) exclaiming, "and it's wide!"  My other roommate looked at me like I was a dweeb and kicked me out of the room.
  • I hate planning, packing, and moving.  I hate when all three coincide.
  • I haven't even moved yet, and I feel like I'm missing out on things already.  (Because I am.)
  • I think everyone, or at least a lot of Christians want to have "more faith" but don't really want to be in situations where they'll need it.  Dear God, I think I have enough for now, thanks.
  • If the man was able to pray for more faith because he wanted it, I think if you have enough faith to believe that God will answer a prayer to want more faith, then He'll provide both the want and the faith.
  • At least I know where I'm moving to.  Abram didn't have that luxury.  I guess that's why he's the father of faith.


The Patience Game

Notes: Click for full size.  Double post today since I've been slacking lately

As Iron Sharpens Iron

Text: Something I'm stealing without permission from something my friend Karen said.  She'll forgive me, right?

Memory and Movement

After graduation, my schedule has been/ will be a bit sporadic, so I am not sure what my blog posting this summer will be.  I’ve thought a lot about the process of moving on.  I realized I spent the majority of my life trying to simply move through time, not writing journals or taking pictures, not leaving a record of my past or my present; I didn’t have anything I wanted to keep or remember.

But the Church has filled the voids in my life, providing friends and family, comfort, joy, and hope.  Shoreline has been such a blessing to me, and I feel that I have really “found myself” here.  It’s here where my identity as a child of God has been encouraged and reaffirmed, and it is here where I’ve found identity as part of a family of like-minded Christians who love God and serve others.  I think every relationship has the opportunity to define both parties, and at least on my side of things, that has certainly been the case.  I’ve found something here, some people here worth keeping with me and remembering.

But with so much I want to hold on to, I have to remind myself of my motto (which I sort of stole from Matt Chandler) to “live life with an open hand.”  There are so many things to hold onto in this life, even good things like friends and fellowship, but when God calls us to other places and other things, there comes a time when we need to let go.  I will cherish my time at Shoreline and the relationships that were forged there, but I’m also willing (if not ready) for what else God has in store. 

Random thoughts

  • My laptop power cord frayed, and my battery ran out so I don't have my usual photo software to work with.  Since using paint ends up with something looking sad and depressing, I think I'll spare all of us and not try to force it.
  • I'm done with my undergraduate career!  Well first I need to walk to my professor's office to turn my paper in.  I don't know how I feel about graduating yet.  Ask me again in a week.
  • It actually took me about a month for my HS graduation to sink in.  I wonder how long it'll take this time.
  • More than anything, I'm actually really sad about moving and leaving my church.  Really, really sad.  I hope God brings me to another awesome church when I move because it'll kinda suck if I can't find one.
  • Actually, at the moment I'm the most sad about my laptop power cord.  I hope the replacement part we have at home will work.
  • Apparently everyone has been blogging about the Centurion today: Desiring God, The Resurgence
  • I recently read this blog post by Don Miller about bad habits.  I think the problem with media is that it immediately fulfills our "needs" with minimal to no effort on our part.  It's nice to relax, but there's something to be said about struggling through the day, with ourselves, or even through our boredom.  I think the true earth-shakers of society are doers, not sitting-in-front-of-screen-ers.  It's one of those things that is easy to think about but harder to decide how to implement.  Where's the balance?


Text: Something my friend JD has been thinking about, that I thought I would give voice to on my blog.  (If anyone has blog ideas for me, by all means, send them in!)

Random: This has nothing to do with anything, but "Equivocation" is an awesome play about Shakespeare and the Gunpowder Plot.

Singing before the army

My reading plan has brought me into 2 Chronicles, to where the Moabites, Ammonites, and Meunites decide to gang up on Jehosophat.  While this passage is primarily descriptive and not prescriptive, God ends up winning the battle for Jehosophat, so it's worth taking a look at Jehosophat's actions.  Jehosophat's first response was fear, and understandably so.  But how does he respond to his fear?
Then Jehoshaphat was afraid and set his face(Z) to seek the LORD, and(AA) proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. 4And Judah assembled to seek help from the LORD; from all the cities of Judah they came to seek the LORD.
Sometimes there are legitimate reasons for us to fear, and I think that is OK.  But once we fear, what do we do with it?  Jehosophat responded to his fear by "setting his face to seek the LORD."  I love that.  He could have set his face toward the Moabites, Ammonites, and Meunites and allowed fear to overtake his heart.  He could have set his face toward his army and prepared them for battle.  He could have set his face toward the treasures in the palace and in the temple in an attempt to placate the coming armies.  But no, he sets his face to seek the Lord and encourages all of Judah to do likewise.  That's the proper response, and that is a proper leader.

But what's even more interesting is what happens next.  God responds by saying,
Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde,(AS) for the battle is not yours but God’s. 16Tomorrow go down against them. Behold, they will come up by the ascent of Ziz. You will find them at the end of(AT) the valley, east of the wilderness of Jeruel. 17(AU) You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the LORD on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.'(AV) Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them,(AW) and the LORD will be with you.
God tells Judah that He will win the battle for them.  They are to meet the oncoming armies, but they will not need to fight.  Their job is to stand firm.  And you know what Jehosophat does?   He assembles his army, but he sends out musicians to march out IN FRONT of the army.  From a military standpoint, this has got to be one of the worst tactical decisions ever (right up there with "let's arm ourselves with torches and pottery").
And when he had taken counsel with the people, he appointed those who were to sing to the LORD and praise him(BC) in holy attire, as they went before the army, and say,

   (BD) "Give thanks to the LORD,
   for his steadfast love endures forever."
I love that level of trust.  The kind of trust that takes God at his word, putting the singers up front.  I wonder what it must have felt for those singers, standing between two armies, armed with nothing but their voices.  What if God didn't come through?  But sometimes all it takes is the courage to sing, the courage to hope, in order to defeat an army.
    22And when they began to sing and praise, the LORD set(BE) an ambush against the men of(BF) Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah, so that they were routed. 23For the men of Ammon and Moab rose against the inhabitants of Mount Seir, devoting them to destruction, and when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir,(BG) they all helped to destroy one another.

The chief end of man: to glorify God by enjoying Him forever

Image:  The background image for this post is based on a modification by Matthew Colo of Rod_of_asclepius.png‎.  As such, this file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 License.

HT: I thought of this after talking with Jenni and reading her latest blog post.