July 28, 2009

Babylonian Indoctrination

Can we be transparent here a moment? Or a few moments? Would we agree that we all like to feel good about ourselves, confident in who we are, and especially in what we look like? Confident in what others think of us. Priding ourselves in the "fact" that others admire and esteem us. Maybe even deluding ourselves that others are jealous or envious of us.

I've been doing Beth Moore's study, Daniel, and she's offered quite a challenge to those who will take it; the challenge to examine our mentality and our hearts, to gauge what at times can be their true condition.

She's shown how Babylon was more than a place, it's a mentality and philosophy that prevails to this day. It's a mentality that's summed up in Isaiah 47:8,10 that essentially says, "I am and there is none besides me." We're a force unto ourselves. And as Christians, we have a way of Christianizing, if you will, this mentality. We may think we're above accountability, above correction and instruction. We may feel that because we're a leader in the church or once were, we are no longer subject to such things.

But one thing that we all fall easily prey to, Christian or not, is becoming an image builder. King Nebuchadnezzar may have built a 90-foot golden statue in his image, but we build no smaller egos and images in our present day. Beth says:

"Image building is any way we intentionally make ourselves seem different - and usually more - than we really are. Image building is the attempt to make impressions that are bigger that we are. Image building may begin with what is true but enhances that truth until it is a lie."

She goes on to say:

"We are so thoroughly indoctrinated in image building that I'm not sure we easily recognize the difference between excelling and self-selling."

(That touched a nerve. As in my carotid artery nerve.)

She continues...

"Babylonian thinkers need others to bow in order to feel tall... Do we feel more important when surrounded by those we deem important? Do we feel more important when someone important notices us? Do we like to be seen with those who seem important? Are we name-makers? Or name-droppers? Even the most timid yes to any of these questions nods its head to Babylonian indoctrination."

Let's take it a step further... Not all of us are surrounded by so-called "important" people, but we are surrounded by the human race, which leaves all sorts of room for making up our own parameters of self-importance.

Do we feel more important when we excel at something that someone else doesn't? When our husband does? When our child does? Do we feed off of being served and being the "best of these," rather than serving and being the least of these? And please don't misunderstand, I've asked myself the same questions. In fact, the Lord and I spent quite a bit of time over these sorts of things this morning.

Mark 10:42-45 says:

"Jesus called them together and said, 'You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."

I mean no condemnation towards anyone. We're all in process towards Christlikeness. The scary part though is that we can be so indoctrinated by the Babylonian philosophy and mentality that we cease to recognize it. May we be servants of all, and may we be the least of these. And may our image be that of Christ, and the Holy Spirit our mirror.

July 23, 2009

Thankful Thursday

I'm thankful...

...for this tiny, sweet, kicking baby in me that we already love so much.

...for Chris and his friendship to Matt and I, and that we get to celebrate his birthday tomorrow.

...that we are so loved by our family - we couldn't be more blessed or thankful.

...that I have a 4-day weekend.

...that Matt and I get to steal away on Saturday for some deeply needed one on one time.

...that the Lord went out of His way to demonstrate His kindness and unfailing love towards me this week.

...that He's given us his Holy Spirit to live in us.

...for my 1980s cell phone. (I am actually NOT thankful that it's 1980s-ish, but rather that I have one.)

Hope each of you have a fantastic week and take some time to think about what you're thankful for!

July 18, 2009

I Wept

I do not cry very often. And I know when I was younger and more immature, I used to say that braggingly, because for some stupid reason, it was "cool" to be "strong" and so-called emotionless. But I see now that that's totally stupid. But I still don't cry very often. And usually when I do, it's a weeping.

That happened tonight. Even now as I write this, the tears are pouring down.

I've been feeling so bothered in my spirit. Bothered at my sin. Bothered that I let my fears control me. Bothered at my hard-heartedness and coldness. Bothered at my selfishness. Just feeling like an overall failure.

I've had this crazy work schedule; it's been changing constantly. And the reason that bothers me so much is not because I don't like change. Anyone who knows me knows I'm always down for some change and a good challenge. But the most important time of my day for years has been my quiet time. My time with the Lord. Time spent in prayer and reflection and praise and studying the Bible. So it's bothered me because it interrupts that time.

So I've struggled for weeks to get a grip on my ever-changing schedule and keep that time, and more and more days have gone by without it. And I'm not talking legalism here. I'm talking I need that time. I need my time with the Lord. More than I need air to breathe. But the very sad, very scary part is is that when much time goes by without it, we lose that sense of urgency and need and desire to spend in His presence. And that's terrified me as I've seen it creep in and begin to take over.

We become so susceptible to sin and falsehood. I mean falsehood in the sense that I forget what's true about me, and I forget what's true about Him. And I've felt so carnal and condemned. I don't know another way to say it. I've been impatient and rude and uncaring and negative. And I hate it. I despise it in me.

Tonight was the first time in almost two weeks that I've had just me time. And it felt wonderful. I didn't have to speak to one person. I didn't have one obligation. I didn't have one single thing that needed to be done that couldn't wait till tomorrow. Or the next day. Or even the next.

I read. I cooked dinner. I got on the computer. I read some more. I turned on the TV, which I honestly quite rarely do. I'm just not a big TV watcher. (Unless Gloria and I are watching us some HGTV or What Not to Wear...do I hear an amen??) Somewhere in the middle of all that, I went to the bathroom, and there, in an undistracted moment, I just had the strongest sense of the Lord's assurance.

It was so clear and so distinct that I thought for sure I wouldn't forget the exactness of it, but I have. But it was an assurance that He is not mad at me. He does not condemn me. He doesn't want me to be so focused on just seeking Him in the morning, in my "usual" time, that I miss Him all the rest of the day. And I just started crying, and I felt such a freedom, and such a sense of desire. That's exactly what I want. I want to walk closely with Him all day. I want to be near to Him all day. And while that may be elementary, I had forgotten. I got distracted by trying too hard to get it right.

I got back on the computer and my brother-in-law, Jordan, had posted a link to a website called I Am Second, and in it you can hear the story of Brian "Head" Welch, former band member of the hardcore group, Korn. As I listened to Brian's description of the moment he accepted Christ, and the subsequent outpouring of a Father's love that completely filled him and washed over him, I literally began to weep. I was filled with an indescribable awe and thankfulness at this Love that so captivates and encapsulates. The Lord is not nice and sterile and limited. He's limitless and boundless and unashamed in His affection towards us. Brian said that he had such a sense that he was not condemned, he was loved with a Father's love. He was not condemned. He was loved.

We are loved like that. I am loved like that. It's an explosive and powerful and overarching love that tears down every defense and casts out every fear, and satisfies every single desire to belong and be loved. As we are.

Oh my Father, thank you for that revelation tonight. Thank you for going out of your way to demonstrate it to me yet again. Not only when you gave your Son to die and pay for the penalty of my sin, but now, tonight, when I needed to be reminded desperately. Thank you that you go to great lengths to rescue a people that you love. Again and again and again. Lord, change me. May what I do be out of a love of a daughter for her Father, and not because I'm trying to get it right. I love you, Lord.

July 07, 2009

Putting the Random in Randomness

So I had to get a new post up quick, if not to redeem my self-esteem from my previous not-deep one.

I have quite a bit of things running through my head, and I'm not even sure where to begin. I have grief on my mind. I have fun on my mind. I have my new bathing suits (yes, plural...Old Navy was having a sale) on my mind. I have cleaning on my mind. I have cooking on my mind. I have loss on my mind. I have my baby on my mind.

Oh, my baby. Tomorrow I will be ten weeks. It's already gone by so fast. I'm definitely pooching out. Not noticeably to anyone but myself, but I often have to go with my pants button unbuttoned.

I should forewarn you that if you don't hear from me for several days, we're taking a family trip to Whitefish.

Hey, let's talk about the utter randomness of this post.

So far I have done very little to redeem my previous one.

I have deep thoughts running through my head, but I'm gonna need a nap first.

TTYL.

(P.S. I'm sorry, but something about that acronym really, really bothers me. Can we please forever retire that from the English texting language?? I feel dumber now for using it. I do.)

(P.P.S. I am now bringing this to a close because I have totally un-redeemed myself, and now have more redeeming to do.)

(P.P.P.S. How many times can I use the word "redeeming" in one post???)

(P.P.P.P.S. Don't judge me.)

July 03, 2009

A Good Example of Not Diplomacy

Today, while sitting at a stoplight, I heard a loud voice say, "Just kill 'em!" I immediately craned my head for a good look towards the voice (through my untinted windows), which was coming from the car to the right and just behind me.

It was a man in a mini-van with what looked like his kid(s). At first I thought the kid was playing a video game and he must be cheering him on (or something).

So I did what all good citizens do. I quickly turned my radio off and stretched my ears for a good listen.

"I say, 'Just kill 'em.' You have people saying (garbly-couldn't-hear-garbly). I say kill 'em. Problem solved."

Wow. Talk about diplomacy.

I'm dying to know who he was talking about. His neighbor who lets his dog poop in his yard? Terrorists?

I'll never know. How sad.

Annnnd...that's all I've got for you today, folks. Nothing profound here. Nothing to see. Keep it moving. Move it along.

July 02, 2009

Thankful Thursday

It's back after being on vacation for a few weeks. Both literally and figuratively.

Today I'm thankful...

...for the most amazing $5 Subway sandwich I've ever had, at least in the last two weeks.

...that I have a job. (I cannot yet honestly say for my job, but we're working on it.)

...for my husband, a million times over. I was working a flight today, watching all the passengers as they got off, and I thought of a silly thing that Matt does only for me, and right there in the jetway, I broke out in a smile. Just the thought of him...

...for my mom. She's so stinking thoughtful, and I just love her.

...for my dad. He's always so concerned that we're doing okay, and assuring us that he's always there for us, to help us with anything we may ever need.

...for dishwashers. I don't have one, and I think they're wonderful creations.

...for my most comfortable bed that awaits me.

...for our trip to Whitefish in less than a week!!! I can't wait!!!

...that I am about to have a week and a half off of work (praise the Lord).

...for our pastor, who always preaches truth, no matter how difficult the subject matter.

...for bike rides. I love them with a passion.

...for you. That you choose to stop by. Thank you!

Happy 4th of July weekend!