God is Empowering

Reading through parts of the Bible that I have never read before has been exciting and empowering.  There is a man in the book of Job (almost finished with it by the way; it’s been a couple of weeks) and he goes by the name of Elihu.  Right away he is described as being young, and so while all of Job’s friends try to help him (hint: they’re not much help) he patiently waits for his turn to speak.  Job 32:6-8 says this,

“So Elihu son of Barakel the Buzite said: ‘ I am young in years, and you are old; that is why I was fearful, not daring to tell you what I know.  I thought, ‘Age should speak; advanced years should teach wisdom.’  But it is the spirit in a man, the breath of the Almighty, that gives him understanding.'”

Elihu continued on telling Job and his friends that God might not necessarily be punishing Job, but rather teaching Job something in a way unique to him.  I just think that is incredibly cool that God used Elihu to have something so much wiser to say than any of the older people did, especially in such tragic matters.  All the time in society we see that the ‘elders’ have taken positions of authority and leadership because it is assumed that they are wisest.  Even in looking at the role of President in our country there is a specific age in which someone is eligible to run for President.  Older doesn’t necessarily mean wiser.  It is something that God shows us in the Bible over and over again.  It gives me hope because there are many times throughout the day where I feel inadequate because I am young, but I know that it is no excuse if the “spirit and breath of the Almighty” is in me (and it should give you hope too!)

This past year God has constantly been putting me into positions and opportunities of leadership.  It’s kind of strange actually because I never really considered myself too much of a leader.  I am content with letting others take the spot-light and just follow when need be.  But, God has clearly been telling me to learn to be a leader through many things: youth group last year where I was given the opportunity to plan a youth event, applying to be an RA in my dorm next year, (attempting) to lead a small group at school, apparently being heading the Spanish Club at school- insane, right??  All of these things I never would have chosen myself for, but that’s kind of a fun thing about God is that you never can know what He has in his perfect plan.  I am not saying I am any good at these things or know at all what I am doing, but I’m learning and I can be at ease because I know God is guiding me through it all.

My question for you all to consider (and share if you like!) is: How has God been empowering you lately?

P.S. If you have never heard of the book Do Hard Things or the organization behind it, I highly recommend checking out this website: http://www.therebelution.com/about/  it is a “rebelution” against the low expectations of young people that was started by two brothers who want to live their lives for Christ.  Seriously, it’s great!

Hmm…Earth is our Home?

Last week one of my professors (name and credentials provided upon request) told our class that people in the Middle East have no concept of this statement: “Earth is just a waiting room before getting into Heaven.”  After studying Genesis 1:1-2:3 I have come to realize that in a way, believing that statement is a sad thing indeed.  Here is why:

The first three days of creation could be considered as the baking of the pie crust, if you will.  Days four, five, and six would then be considered the filling.  The “baking of the pie crust” is God planning out and making a world for people to inhabit.  He said, “let there be light!” and there was light.  He spoke of the water and the sky, and it appeared.  He told the dry land and sea to separate, and it did.  On the third day He also told the earth to grow vegetation, and it did.  And God saw that all of that was good.  Then the next three days God made the sun, moon, stars, animals, and then humans.  All of that He saw was very good.

Now, looking at Isaiah 45:18, these are God’s words about creation:

“For this is what the Lord says- he who created the heavens,

he is God; he who fashioned and made the earth,

he founded it; he did not create it to be empty,

but formed it to be inhabited

he says: ‘I am the Lord, and there is no other.'”

 

Then if we look at Proverbs 3: 19-20 there is another account of creation:

“By wisdom the Lord laid the earth’s foundations,

by understanding he set the heavens in place;

by his knowledge the deeps were divided,

and the clouds let drop the dew.”

 

And then further to Proverbs 24:3-4:

“By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established;

through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.”

 

What is built? A house is built.  We can see a direct link between God creating the earth and making it a home through wisdom being the corner stone-especially reading Proverbs 8 (a long amount to put in this post, but definitely incredible- please read it!).

So God made Earth to be a house for us, a home for us, but is that it?  Fortunately, no!  The Psalms (and a lot of the Old Testament) are filled with evidence of a certain kinship that we have with the earth- that we were made to praise God the Creator!  I don’t wish to create this post into a long blecture [blog+lecture] so instead of posting the entire Psalm 48 I will just say it is a wonderful example of this kinship.

So, when God told the earth to produce vegetation and it did, I would just like to say that it still is.  Isn’t that so mind blowing?!  (It was for me, I must have looked like a fool after class smiling all the way back to my dorm as I took in all of the nature around me.)  I mean seriously, how amazing it is that years and years and years ago God told the earth to do something and it still is doing it to this day!  It’s fulfilling its purpose given to it at the time it was created.  God is so cool!  He really is, and it’s so cool to reread parts of the New Testament like when Jesus calms the storm (one account is Mark 4:35-41).  The same voice that created the sea calmed it and made it still.  It just shows what kind of God we have- not only one that is powerful enough to control the sea, but one where its creation reflects its obedience and love to it every single day.  We, as humans, are called to rule over and take care of this earth, and we should do so with the knowledge that we were both made to love God.  Obviously we shouldn’t worship the earth, but rather we should go through each day knowing that God made this earth as a home for us and that our home is His temple because it glorifies Him every day (I have more verse references and if you would like them then all you need is to ask!).

There is so much more I would like to say about this and I am sure I am forgetting a bunch of it, but for now I pray this changes your view of the world like it did for me.  With this post I am including a picture of J.R.R. Tolkien with a tree because it is my belief, just from reading Lord of the Rings and Chronicles of Narnia, that he and his fellow author C.S. Lewis understood this concept of the world (and for those of you who know me well enough, you will know that makes me extra happy).

God is Holy- Part 1

“He is not man like me that I might answer him,

that we might confront each other in court.

If only there were someone to arbitrate between us,

to lay his hand upon us both,

someone to remove God’s rod from me,

so that his terror would frighten me no more.

Then I would speak up without fear of him,

but as it now stands with me, I cannot.”

Job 9:32-35

Oh Job, if only you had realized what you said.  Throughout Job’s laments he reveals this little golden nugget of goodness.  See, in this section of Job he was crying out to his friends wondering why God punished him even though he was blameless.  As I’ve been reading through it I frequently wonder the same thing.  Why would God let so many awful things happen to a guy such as Job?  As I have disclaimed before, I am no Biblical scholar, but I think God did this to have Job bring up this exact point from Job 9:32-35.  Even great people like Job need a savior.  God had someone who all humans can relate to (just by the fact that we are all humans) because he wants us to realize this problem (and why Jesus was sent to Earth)- that God is so holy that we were not able to be in His presence and talk with Him.  There was a void- something missing- someone missing.

There are probably numerous reasons as to why God allowed Job extreme suffering and temptation from the devil, but this one has hit home for me so far.  God is showing me that all people need this arbitrator that Job hopes for, even ones that have no “obvious” sins in their lives- you know, the people that appear perfect and like they have it all together (sure they admit they are not perfect, but that just makes them seem even more perfect)?  They have this unholy void between them and God too- they need one to act on their behalf too.

And so, here I fall into the only category possible for all humans- I need someone to go on my behalf to God so I can have an intimate relationship with Him. [spoiler alert: sinless Jesus died on a cross taking my sins as His own so that He takes the wrath of God each time I mess up and sin–He did that for you too! So powerful!]

Truly grateful,

Kayla

P.S. I titled this “God is Holy -Part 1” not because I am planning my next post to be about this trait of God, but because I am anticipating more learning to be done of just how Holy God is.

God is Bold

Currently (and for the next few days) I am being enlightened by the book of Job.  I knew the story of Job before, but had never actually read it so I was pretty appalled at what actually happens.  This is my basic, non-theoretical, simple synopsis:

Job is a man of great wealth (and health!), a father of some great kids, husband, boss to many servants, and most importantly a man of God.  That is, until one day some angels and Satan appear before God.  God asks Satan where he just came from so he says he was roaming around the earth.  At which point God says (EXTREME paraphrasing), “oh hey! Have you considered my best lad Job?”  Satan says (again with the paraphrasing), “ya know? I haven’t.  I think I’m going to go prove to you that he will curse You if I make his life a living hell” (yes, I know I’m hysterical).  So God says, “okay, do anything you want to him, just don’t kill him.” (Reading Job chapters 1 and 2 would probably be a better account of this part of the story.)

Comforting, right?  No.  BUT here’s the thing: although I have not gotten all the way through the book of Job yet, I have come to this conclusion: God is bold (see what I did there with the bold font?) One definition of the word “bold” from dictionary.com is “beyond the usual limits of conventional thought or action”.  We see this so much in today’s society all over the world.  God uses the most obscure situations to show His glory- cancer, car accidents, loss of a job, war- the list goes on.  Some people may say that it’s not fair, but if you think about it then it makes complete sense- God is bold because He can be.  He knows what is going on, He’s got it all planned out, and although it doesn’t make sense to us all the time, we know from Genesis that God knows what He’s doing (God planned out the creation of the world and provided everything we need to survive- He is not near-sighted) .  There are no surprises for Him like there are for us and there are no risks for Him like there are for us.

So, although I have never actually heard God described this way before, I think it will prove to be a fair assessment as I continue through the Old Testament.

Do you fear God?

I am currently on day 5 of my chronological Bible expedition and obviously it starts in Genesis.  Now, let me just say that I foolishly never really feared God. I kind of saw Him as forgiving because of Jesus and ignored everything else (not exactly sure what “everything else” is yet).  However, reading the first 10 chapters or so of Genesis has been quite frightening- more specifically, when God decides He can’t stand humans anymore (with the exception of Noah and his family) so he wipes them all out!  I did not grasp that before.  Wow, I mean, nothing puts the fear of God in you like a good kill-all-humans-and-living-creatures-story.  Possibly the best part is what God promises afterwards:

“I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will

be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.

Genesis 9:13

God promised to never kill off the whole world like this ever again.  THIS, is awesome news!  And quite a nice balance of fear and love.  I am so excited to start fearing God.  That is kind of an odd statement, but it isn’t at the same time because Proverbs 31:30 says, “charm i deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised” AND Psalm 112:1 says, “Praise the Lord. Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who finds great delight in his commands.

I have a feeling that throughout the rest of the Old Testament especially I will see more of this theme of fearing God.  It’ll be great!

On another note, there is a guy in the Bible named Nimrod and it got me thinking- isn’t that a word used now to describe someone who is “being an idiot”?  I wonder what Nimrod did to make it so that his name became the title of such character?  I did look it up and this is what dictionary.com says,

“‘Nimrod: “great hunter,” 1712, in ref. to the biblical son of Cush, referred to (Gen. x.8-9) as “a mighty hunter before the Lord.” It came to mean “geek, klutz” by 1983 in teenager slang, for unknown reasons. (Amateur theories include its occasional use in “Bugs Bunny” cartoon episodes featuring rabbit-hunting'”

Weird, but I guess I’ll go with it.

Peace for now friends–Kayla

Adventure

Some of you may know about my most recent adventure with God- living under grace and not under works. Last semester I realized there was great discontent in my heart and I couldn’t figure out what exactly it was. I was doing my daily devotions, praying, and trying to do the right thing- all of which are good- but I thought that it would help me to earn God’s love (and when I failed, take His love away), not realizing that it was always there and will never change. Since last semester, God has been working in my heart to show me His never-ending love and guiding me in rediscovering who He truly is- not who I have made Him up to be in my mind.

I have begun a journey of reading a “Read the Bible in a year chronologically” Bible. –God gave us His Word so we could know who He really is! Most likely it will take me longer than a year, but that’s okay!

Ah, so here is where this blog comes in…

I feel as if a fire has been put in me to start sharing my blogs in hopes that it can further God’s kingdom and inspire those who read it. I hope it inspires them (meaning, all of you!) to not be content with their relationships with our loving Father and to take this challenge with me. It might not be reading “Bible in a Year”, but simply discovering who the God of the Universe truly is. If you decide to surrender who you are to get to know Him, I am so glad! I would love to hear all about it, so please comment and let me know how it’s going! We can use this to encourage one another and grow together.

Simply, Kayla