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Posts Tagged ‘Spiritual life’

It happened.  I fell into the trap.  I have not updated in a while.  At first, it was because I was waiting for inspiration for a post.  Then it was because I had not updated in a bit so I could go for a little longer.  Then, I was busy.

Then nothing.  Every now and then I would feel a twinge of guilt.  A “Hey, maybe I should… watch TV.”

Here I am, a little less than two years later.  I have envisioned a blogging project with a much cooler name than my initials.  But, ever the loudest critic of my work, I stop and ask, “If I cannot maintain a practice blog, how can I keep a larger than life, ultra-cool, widely read blog?”

Thus, you are stuck with me for a little while longer until I can prove to myself that I am worthy of running a blog.

Well then, let us begin…again!

Change

I have been through some switch ups recently.

I am working for a Bachelors Degree through Liberty University Online.  I am almost finished!  Then onto my Masters!

I upgraded my position at my job!  God has blessed me with a promotion over the past year, which answered a lot of prayers.

There has also been another development which I have been praising God for in the past year.

Did you know those kids in high school who knew exactly what college they wanted to go to, for which degree, for which job, and who they were going to marry along the way?  For instance, I knew a girl.  All she wanted was to be married and be a florist.  Well, let me tell you, she is now married to a really cool guy and she is…can you guess?  Yes.  She is a florist.

I lacked that conviction, that surety in life during high school.  I assumed that I knew basically where I was heading and what I liked doing and that the rest would fill itself into my life along the way.  Fast forward nine years.  Nine whole years form graduation and I still had no idea what I wanted to do with my life.  I was George Bailey, wanting to travel the world and getting nowhere fast.  I needed a job.  I needed to pay bills.  I needed a car.  And, before long, I was stuck.

Life happened (I love that euphemism) and God put some really godly men in my life.  I still did not have concrete answers.  But one of the guys, Mike, kept drilling in my head: Seek Ye First.  It’s almost a mantra now.  One foot in front of the other.  Follow God in the little things.  Show myself to be a good steward of Gondor…I Mean my talents.  The rest shall follow.

August of 2012 rolled around a couple months after my last blog post on, ironically, looking to God for guidance.  I had tried a lot in the course of the previous years.  Food services.  Computers.  Business.  Accounting (that lasted about two classes).  Teaching English as a second language (thanks to a group from my college year at Lancaster Bible College).

Nothing.  I had a long list of what I knew I did not like.  In the course of this time, I was serving in the church.  I always gravitated towards teaching.  I loved it.  I loved digging into the word.  I loved figuring out what God was saying through His people.  The elders at my church helped me with working out lessons.  They kept telling me to get at the application and to facilitate more than lecture.  I am still working on that.

I also knew I wanted to be in the mission field.  Ever since I read of Hudson Taylor as a kid, I wanted to smuggle Bibles into China.  Well, China has Bibles and there is a lot of good work over there right now (I even hear there is a rise in Calvinism!!!!).  In this vein I spent a summer with a buddy and a pastor at the boardwalk handing out tracts, witnessing, spreading the gospel, and street preaching.  From this I have determined that while I am to go out into all the world and preach the gospel, I do not have the gift of evangelism.  It does not come naturally.

Well, I was lost.  I was stuck at my job, praying for change or something to point me in the right direction.  God had started something and He had definitely forgotten about me, right?

Me and a group of guys from the church had read Radical by David Platt earlier that year and Mike told us how his son and a friend were going to Kenya for two years right out of college to preach the gospel.  Some men had stepped up from the church the two guys attended in the Carolinas and offered to pay for their tuition.

God owns the cattle on a thousand hills.

Radical.

So I stepped out and, after prayer and talking with the elders at my church, I applied for Liberty University’s Online program.  I was working full time and could not afford to leave for college.  So, in the fall of 2012, I started taking classes.  God opened up doors so that I could finally move out and get a place with some roommates.  Full time job, full time classes, my own place.  God really blessed me and there was nothing that I could take credit for other than being faithful and trusting God.

Then it happened.  I’m not exactly sure what the date was or where I was exactly.  But I finally figured out what I wanted to do when I grew up!

There is a ministry that takes those with Masters or Doctorate Degrees and sends them to pastors who have little to no access to bible colleges.

My heart leapt for joy.  Even now as I write these words I rejoice that God would reveal this to me.  I had no idea this even existed.

Now I am close to the end of my degree.  I have 7 more classes.

In the past couple years I have not been even close to a role model.  I have raged and whined and worried at where God was leading me.  I still do.  I do not count it all joy.  I do not place my hope and anxiety in Him who feeds the sparrows and clothes the flowers.  But I am still young and God has a lot of work to do anyway so hopefully that will be taken care of down the road.

My prayers were not answered right away; my pleas were not met immediately.  Is there a time this has happened to you and later down the road you were thankful your prayers were not answered?

Peace,

Bill

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I once heard the words of this title from a friend who writes far more than I do. He was explaining to another friend why he writes. Why he endlessly places words he hears onto paper (or the screen). Why he pulls words from the air and makes sense of them. He said, “If I don’t, I will die!” Not that his heart is laced with a sensor that, should he stop writing, will induce a heart attack. No. It’s in his blood. It’s how he processes the world.

Another friend of mine recently wrote a blog entry. Her second one. And in telling me about it, exclaimed, “I didn’t know I had it in me!” Well, she did. But what drew it out of her? Perhaps a tinge of what my first friend said. “If I didn’t, I would die.”

I have been wanting to write. I need to write. It hasn’t felt right though. Not quite. I suppose it never will. Thus, I sit here and wrestle with my mind. I take control of that which has been deadened by a day at work and a good .5 MG of Lorazepam. I push back the fog and look at what has been taken. These words I will write will be ripped from their rest. It will be a bloody mess, and I will hurt from it. These words wanted to be buried with me in death. Ironically they wanted to die instead of fulfill their purpose-keep me from death.

Because if I don’t, I will die!

I have always been fascinated by a good story. I have always had a book that I was never quite finished, thanks to my penchant for reading three or more books at a time. Ever since I read about a boy named Dick and his friend Jane watching their dog Spot (who could apparently run), I always craved conflict, near-defeat, action, excitement, and resolution. I wanted dearly to see how a character would react to a certain situation. How would Robin Hood deal with the sheriff? Would Arthur turn a blind eye to Lancelot and his love? I would read into the dead of night to find out how Tom and Huck saved their friend, Jim.

As I read these stories, I saw something laced between the words. I saw love. Robin and Marian. Tom and Becky. James T. Kirk and…well, yeah. And then I met her. The girl I knew I was supposed to be with. The girl I would eventually save from near and utter destruction. We were in 8th grade and she wouldn’t say a single word to me. I realized there was something more than me just wanting to hang out with her. I had these weird feelings for her. Why did I want to save her? Then I realized what it was. I liked her! I was Robin and she was Marian!

For various reasons, it did not work out. And by various, I mean she did not like me. (In hind site, I’m thankful she didn’t.) But I had opened a door. I wondered what it would be like to be in a relationship. What did Robin Hood feel with Marian? Well, I knew what he felt. Love. It said so on those white pages. And Robin was happy being in love. It would mean heartache but it would propel him to heights unknown. I wanted that. For if I claimed it, I would be happy. And so started my quest to attain happiness through love.

The years passed. I learned about God, life, and a plethora of other things. People passed in and out of my life, some to stay, some for a season. And always, the quest for love was in my mind. It started to become an obsession. It started to fuel my life. I figured ways to finish my quest. And like clock work, they all failed. During this time, I heard God calling me. Asking for my heart. I gave Him a lot. But not my quest. Not my desire for love. That was mine. I would hold onto that thank you very much.

So God did the only thing left for Him to do to get my attention. He let me have what I wanted. And I thought I met my Marian. Unfortunately, I had met my Guinevere. As my world ceased to function around me, as my mind started to break down, I had two alternatives. I could continue and be pulled into the black hole I was at the edge of. Or I could turn to my God and dig in.

I chose the latter.

God did the rest.

The pain was unbearable. He bore it for me.

The loneliness was deep. He was infinite.

I was broken. He was able to do what He needed then.

I finally learned what I needed to learn all along. My quest for happiness in love from a woman was doomed for failure from the beginning. I was looking for a finite handful of mud to fill the infinite hole within my soul. I would never find it here. I could only find it in Christ, who is my portion, and His love. True love, not the love of the moment.

I want to be satisfied in Christ. Then all else can fall into place. I want to fill my needs and desires with the love of Christ.

I have found myself looking to media to satisfy me. To relieve the darkness within me, to chase away the depression. But as I turn to that, to the need for a story, I find I need more and more to fill me. I need deeper, bigger, newer. I’m looking for something. And I feel as if this quest will determine my life as it has before with the search for Plato’s “the one”.

I was tempted to use a recent event in my life to doubt that God had the best planned for me. I found myself going back to the quest for happiness in a relationship.

But I will not let that happen this time. I will follow John Piper’s advice and make war against my “old man”. That is not how I will act from here on out. I am not going to find what I need in a relationship or a person. I will not find it in that single moment at the climax of a chick flick when the two loves run to each others arms.

That wont’, can’t, satisfy me.

I cannot let my life be determined by a single event or a set of circumstances. I cannot let my faith in God be determined by the outcome of following Him, as if I deserved recompense for laying down self and chasing after God. Though I lose my friends, time, money, or love itself, I will not stray from God. He spent so much for me to do so.

My life must be determined by my faith in Christ. I can’t let Satan lie to me any more. I am not basing my countenance on the circumstances of this world. I must be dead to this world. It must be nothing to me. I will not be tossed to and fro like mist on an ocean wave. I must live like my Lord is my portion.

Because if I don’t, I will die.

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True Gamer?

In my running to and fro, I have come to realize that the amount of time I invest in video games on a daily basis, let a long a weekly basis, has diminished quite drastically.  This is due to several changes in my schedule, life, and mindset.  More on this.

Previous to this change, I have unabashedly and unwaveringly referred to myself as a gamer.  Never having attained hardcore status (I never even made it through all of FF8), I still ran the gambit in the different genres (RTS, RPG, Strategy, Action, Adventure, etc) with the exception of sports (if your going to play football, go outside).

Now, with a finality that makes my skin crawl, I am hanging up my controllers for a season.  I am powering down my system.  I am putting the game back into its case.

I am no longer a Gamer.

I have been looking at more blogs recently, as I have the time to, and realize one major factor.  They are all designed with a single topical purpose.  A glance at my blog will tell people I have missed that.  I am all over the place.  A look at my tags will show this as well.  Yet, as I have stated before, and have held to, the purpose of this blog was an introductory one.  I knew nothing about blogging.  Nothing about choosing a cool name other than my initials.  I see some common threads throughout this blog and I have a couple ideas where to take them.  But more on that later as well.

I have been finding that I am becoming more and more hungry for the word of God.  Its interesting.  I used to read a small devotional during breakfast and that was it.  Now I’m listening to sermons by  Matt Chandler in my spare time and reading books by John Piper and J.I. Packer.  I am learning so much about who God is, who we are in God, and what we are to do with that. Yet I found myself forgetting the very things I was learning.  I had even taught on Romans chapter 8 and I still forgot to keep my eyes on Christ and think of things above Colossians 3:1,2.  So I am learning still.  But I am seeing fruit in my life and that excites me.  Praise be to God.

Which brings me to my last point.  Ted Dekker.  I used to love reading his works.  His books were full of action and good plot lines.  He even had an interesting character with my name.  The other day, I checked his newer book out of the library, “Immanuel’s veins” and started to read it.  Around the third page in, I put the book down.  I always knew his writing wasn’t the best.  I always gave him the benefit of the doubt that maybe he would get better.  I was wrong.  He has actually gotten worse.  Now, like I said, I have been reading some hefty books lately so I’m not sure that his writing has become worse or that I see it for the low quality writing it is.

Ight.  Peace

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