Thursday, August 12, 2010

One of those days....

Have you ever had one? I know as sure as I am sitting here typing this you have! You know the day I'm talking about- where you want to throw your hands up in exasperation, where you have to bite your tongue to keep from burning bridges, where you go into information overload and it starts to overwhelm you? Well, I haven't had just ONE of those days- that's been my past 2 weeks. I'm moving to this new PreK class and I have no furniture (well, I do but not the new stuff that's been ordered), no rug (again, I do but not the new one that's been ordered), and no "fun stuff" (wait, scratch that- at the time of this writing I have a car filled -literally as full as it can be- with things that were given to me today at training). So, physically I could be ready. Mentally- well, I am just not sure where I stand on that one. Seriously though- it's been a crazy last few weeks and I am so overwhelmed that I go into each day not sure where I am going to start. I can tell you that today's information helped... yet it also confused me more than I was before.

I have been so "consumed" by this preparation for the upcoming school year and the "getting ready". Tonight I started thinking about how that looks on the other side- as I make the preparations, as I make the phone calls, as I reach out the parents, as I collect the materials- I am doing the physical preparations. I have had several friends- both local and far away- who have recently lost loved ones (parents, grandparents, friends, etc). Several of them I know were believers- they made the necessary preparations. And, I am ashamed to say that I don't know about others. That's where my other thought comes in- I have had several people who have helped me on a daily basis with my prep. The question that came to mind was- Am I helping others with their eternal preparation?

Hard question- means a hard look at myself in the upcoming days. If not, then I need to figure out HOW I can best help others with those eternal preparations so they are ready!

"Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality." 1 Corinthians 15:51-53

Monday, August 9, 2010

Set the World on Fire

I had a hard time titling this post and an even harder time writing this post. This post has been stewing inside of me since Saturday and is probably not going to be an easy "write" or an easy read. Saturday morning I was perusing Facebook before I headed out to yard sale/Zumba and I saw a post from a friend that she was waiting for news from the other side of the world. This particular friend went to the same college that I graduated from and so I knew that she, like me, had many friends who were missionaries across the world. When I got home I continued to see similar status updates from friends here in Knoxville so this time I went searching. The one thing that I found was that there was a story out of Afghanistan in which 10 aid workers had been killed. As time passed throughout the day I found out that they were waiting to find out the status of a young lady of 32, Cheryl Beckett. Cheryl's father is a minister at Woodlawn Christian Church here in Knoxville. WCC is where I went to church my last two years at Johnson (but he was not the minister at the church while I attended and I do not know him personally). Later that day I was reading in Psalms and found the following:

"Show me, O LORD, my life's end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life." Psalm 39:4 (NIV)

It was a reality check for me- it showed me, once again, how fleeting life can be. How life can be cut short before anyone expects it to be. Her father gave a statement to the local media and can be found in full HERE (or in a four part video interview HERE) however I want to highlight what I think is one of the most inspiring points he makes (and by inspiring I mean it has caused me to ask myself a lot of questions in the the few minutes since I first read it).

"Years ago, Cheryl, 32, was offered a scholarship to continue post-graduate study at Johns Hopkins University. "She declined, because she felt called to do something else," Rev. Beckett explained, growing teary-eyed. One question drove her choice. "She tried to figure out, 'What is it that God wants to do with my life?'" Rev. Beckett explained. The answer eventually came -- Afghanistan and humanitarian aid.... The trip would involve a long journey to give medical aid in one of the country's most isolated communities, where a toothbrush is a luxury. "They were not ignorant, they were not naive of what they were facing," Rev. Beckett said. "What they were was compelled by the pleas of the Afghan people."

That question in orange has been pounding in my head since I read it. Cheryl got her answer and ultimately left this earth to enter the presence of her Savior doing what God had called her to do. I have been asking myself that same question over and over for most of my life and never has it resonated in my heart like it has tonight. I KNOW that I am called to go to ALL the world. That includes my classroom, my work, my church, and my neighborhood. It also includes my city, my state, and my nation. But, it doesn't stop there- I was once told that ALL means ALL- not some, not just a little sliver- ALL. 2 Corinthians 5:14 states that Christ's love compels us...and because He died for all (again there's that word ALL) then as a follower of Christ I should then live my life likewise- for HIM.

I guess my challenge is this- ask yourself the same question that drove Cheryl and then seek Him to find out the answer. Understand that it may not come today, it may not come tomorrow, but if you seek him you will find an answer. Jeremiah 29:13: "You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." I have decided that these words are going in my classroom- no reference but when I see them I will know- three simple words- SEEK and FIND.

Before I leave this very lengthy post- there is a song by a young lady- Britt Nicole called Set the World on Fire- you can find the lyrics HERE (in the interest of saving space I am not putting them here) but I wanted to highlight this part- the first verse:

I wanna set the world on fire
Until it's burning bright for You
It's everything that I desire
Can I be the one You use?

Can you?

Friday, August 6, 2010


"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." Hebrews 12:1

I have been thinking a lot about this lately. As I mentioned in my previous post I am attempting a "new beginning" with exercise and diet. In the past two weeks I have lost 9 lbs and I am beyond thrilled with that number. I started thinking yesterday about the weight and how, as I have gained it, it has hindered me from doing things and made things uncomfortable. If I were to fly right now, I would probably be downright uncomfortable in the seat. I went to an Atlanta Braves game a few weeks ago- the seats were a tad uncomfortable and tight. Having lost weight before it's amazing the difference in life's day to day living it makes. And yet, I continued to let myself eat and become lazy and gained all the weight back. I didn't run that race with perseverance. I didn't endure...

So, then I started thinking about the verse and what it means to me and I came across the above picture in my memory. This is a picture at Delphi where they used to run the races. One of the "stories" (aka history lessons) they gave us was that back in the biblical times- when they ran the races the Greeks often ran them naked (or very close to that point) in order to not have anything hindering them from running a race well.

In my personal journey I keep hearing over and over - it's not a sprint, it's a marathon. Simply put- it's not going to be quick and easy. It's going to be something that is going to tax me, use all that I have to complete the race, it's something to be trained for, to work toward, and to keep our eye on the goal. The Christian life is never going to be easy and I pray that I can identify those sins which weigh me down/burden me and lay them aside so I can run this race with perseverance.

A little something to leave you with-
Charles Spurgeon once commented on this passage:

"In those games, those who ran and wrestled wore very little clothing, or often nothing at all. A runner might lose the race through being entangled by his scarf, so he laid aside everything that might hinder or hamper him. Oh, for that blessed consecration to our heavenly calling, by which everything that would hinder us shall be put aside, that we may give ourselves, disentangled, to the great gospel to race!" (source)