Thursday, July 15, 2010

Solid Rocks and Sweet Trees

Pretty sweet group of trees, huh? Mom and I found them when we were stopped at a rest stop in the UP last week. I'm pretty sure Mom thought I'd seen a bear or something equally large and scary when I went "MOM!!! LOOK!!!!" I was amazed when I saw them, and they're much larger than the pictures make them look. I had to, in typical me fashion, gimp my way back to them and check them out up close and personal.

In the Psalms, David uses what can be vivid imagery, if we only take the time to stop and think about it.

How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers!

But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.

And he will be like a tree
firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither;

And in whatever he does, he prospers.
(Psalms 1:1-3)

This tree (or group of trees, it's easier to say tree), is planted by streams of water. And even though it's sitting a couple feet off of the ground, it has prospered. The promise of these verses says if we make the law of the Lord our delight, and concentrating on it instead of focusing on the gazillion other things we could be, we will prosper in all we do. In the season God chooses, we will yield the fruit that He planted us to fruit. We just have to be patient and trust that He knows the right time, and that He has 'planted' us where we are for a reason.

My soul waits in silence for God only;
For my hope is from Him.

He only is my rock and my salvation,
My stronghold; I shall not be shaken.
On God my salvation and my glory rest;
The rock of my strength, my refuge is in God.
(Psalms 62: 5-7)

Those are probably my favorite verses of all times. These trees have made that rock their stronghold. The area around them is muddy and rather swampy (I know.. I walked through it to get back to the trees, Mom even warned me to watch for sinking sand!), yet the trees have found a firm place to grow. It sets them apart from the other trees around them, and gives them something to build themselves upon. When times are uncertain and "muddied" up, He is the rock that gives us something to stand on. In a world that sometimes seems impossible, He provides consistency and becomes our refuge.

I've thought about these trees a lot in the past week. I think they show as a Christian how we should walk... We should keep our 'roots' in the water, the Living Water. Spending time with God, and drinking from His word. We should also place Him as our rock, to be our refuge in hard times, so that and glory we receive rests on Him!

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus' blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus' name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale
My anchor holds within the veil.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

His oath, His covenant, and blood
Support me in the whelming flood;
When every earthly prop gives way,
He then is all my Hope and Stay.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh, may I then in Him be found,
Clothed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne!
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Aching Transparency

Last weekend I had the chance to go to a 3 day festival in Gaylord, MI with my friends. While there I got to see many of my favorite bands, with Newsboys, Devil Wears Prada and a group called Fireflight at the top of my list of bands I “had to see.”

Three years ago I went to a two-day conference, and Fireflight did a concert at the end. You know how sometimes someone is speaking or singing, and you could swear that what they are saying is just for you, and it feels like there's no one else in the room? This was one of those times.

Fiction and Reality collide
Faceless and so busted up inside
You’ve been searching you’ve been crying out,
Will you be destroyed by all your doubt?

You decide
Who will you run to
Wrong or right
There is no reason
For you to hide
Only love can change your life
Only love can change your life
You decide

God is calling out to you again,
Let Him pull you, let Him take you in
From the fear that swallows up your life,
Will you stay the same or will you fight

Every day you hold on to your lonely broken heart
It’s tearing you apart
God is calling out to you just let healing start
Will you open up and let Him in?

At the time, I was seriously struggling with trusting God with my fear. Mom was in the middle of treatments for her cancer, we had just started going to a new church where I knew no one, and I felt angry and utterly hopeless. This song made me cry. And I don't mean just a little bit.. I sobbed. It was a turning point for me, and the start of a slow, long journey to where I am today.

So... Fireflight impacted me three years ago. What about now? This year they came out with their latest and greatest cd, For Those Who Wait. This song, Core of My Addiction is one of my favorites off the album, and hearing them do it live was incredible. This year at college has been a chance for me to strengthen my beliefs, stand for them, and share them. This song has been an encouragement as well as a challenge.

I’m aching, transparent
Your eyes see right through me,
I’m dependent and shaking,
I’m falling to my knees

And I can’t contain this
You’re the only one I need
I’m hooked and I cannot hide it
Your love’s controlling me

You’re the core of my addiction
I want to live, want to lose myself in You
You’re the heart of my obsession
I want to live, but I would die for You
I’m addicted

“You’re the core of my addiction, I want to live, want to lose myself in You.” That, is why I chose “achingly transparent.” I want to be achingly transparent with Him, living as if I'm addicted to Him. It challenges me every time I hear that to check myself, to see if I'm living to please Him, and if He's truly the heart of my obsession.

This song also challenges me to be transparent with those around me. To not hide my faith, and live like I believe it...

"I’m hooked and I cannot hide it, Your love’s controlling me."

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Trust (and Obey)

Trust. Five little letters with a great big concept. The dictionary defines trust as an “assured reliance in the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something.” The concept of trust is not easily grasped in our day and age, yet most people I know list it as a necessary requirement in a relationship... Especially a romantic relationship. If you were to ask someone what trust was, they would probably say something along the lines of knowing that the one they were trusting would do what they said they would do, or follow through on their promises.

Even deeper then the trust we have in each other is the trust that as a Christian, I have in Jesus Christ. To follow the earlier definition.. The assured reliance that He is who He says He is, He can do what He says He can do, and above all, He is Truth. If anything in the Christian walk is difficult (for me), it is the trust issue. Trusting that He really, truly is all that He says He is and can do what He says He can do. If I don't trust Him, I can't believe what He says.

Trusting Him includes everything. Not just praying when times are hard and I don't know what to do... In a normal day I go to Him with everything from a test I'm about to take in school, to praying for someone who is sick, to praying that I would have patience and not rip someone's head off. As I pursue which college to go to next, or if I should go at all, I talk to Him. It's a daily conversation where I rarely say “amen” and can sometimes be seen talking aloud to Him, especially when I'm in my car!

In a relationship, time usually equals trust. The more time you spend with someone, the more trust you have in them. I trust my parents and older brother with pretty much everything. And no, I'm not just saying that. The time they have invested in me and the things they have done to show me they care have built my trust for them (It doesn't have to be something big, today it was Mom bringing home some animal crackers and frosting from town. She knows I love them, and took the time to grab them for me =D). It's the same way with my relationship with God. The more time I spend with Him, the easier it has become for me to trust Him. The more time I spend in His word reading what He has to say and talking with Him, the more I fall in love with Him and build my trust in Him, and the more time I want to spend with Him.

In my experience (because I have oh-so-much of it at the age of 18 ;-)), trust isn't built over night. I grew up with my parents and brother, and my trust grew in them as I grew from the curly-headed energy ball to the slightly older, curly-headed, energy ball I am now. When I got serious about spending time with God, my trust started to grow in Him as well.

Trusting isn't always easy though. Rather, it rarely can be considered 'easy'. I'm human (shocker, right?). I definitely make my share of mistakes like everyone else. I can be stubborn (ask my family!!) and like to have my own way. That's where trust comes into play the most. I have plans and ideals for my life, but He has a greater plan than I can imagine. It's a daily choice to trust Him. To surrender to Him what I struggle with.

Trust.. It's not easy, but it is worth it!

We used to sing a song as a family, and as I was typing this out it kept getting stuck in my head. When I was little, it was just something to sing.. But now I can see what a strong meaning there is behind it.

When we walk with the Lord 

In the light of His word,
What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His good will,
He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.

Trust and obey, for there's no other way,
to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

"Trust in Him at all times, O People; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us." Psalms 62:8