Called by name…and dont you forget it – Daily Bible Bread reflection

Today’s readings were from Exodus ch. 31-32 and Mark 8.

When I read ch. 31 verse 2 where it says “See, I have called by name…” I stopped. God immediately spoke into me. Imagine what it would be like if the president of the United States sends word through the governor of your state that he chose you to work on a super important project. That the president knows your work, and has heard about the kind of person you are, and wants you on their team. I mean how awesome would that be! Now imagine that it’s God doing that! I mean really! God called specific people BY NAME to build the Tabernacle. Those people had to be some kind of special for that to happen. He saw who they were, he saw their hearts and then he gave them MORE. More wisdom, more understanding, more skills. He equipped them more. First came the calling then came the equipping.

I then started thinking about all the people that God has called by name since then. I started to think about me. You see lately I’ve been struggling with what God has called me to do. I know that God has called me to do A LOT of stuff….really though…it’s not even funny but I laugh. I laugh because sometimes it gets so overwhelming that it scares me and I’d rather laugh than be scared.

I remember when I first started seeking my calling as a teen/young adult, I would pray for God to give me wisdom and knowledge, and He did and I had no idea He had done that. Often times people would come to me with problems, not like life problems (although they do that too), but like troubleshooting problems, “how can I fix this” “how can we make this better” and without even knowing what or how, I would have the answers. Seriously, those who knew me before…as a pre-teen and early teen…know that I was kind of an air head. People would laugh at me, not with me…but then I would laugh too cause when you’re not that smart you kinda don’t know they’re laughing at you. ūüėČ Then all of a sudden things started changing. People started telling me that I had a calling, they started prophesying over me. I got smart!!! People started to notice…they would make comments like “wow, I didn’t know you were smart”. (I know, I should have been offended, but I wasn’t cause I was surprised too!). I walked through the doors of a counseling center, and without having read about any counseling theories, I was a counselor….and a good one according to my colleagues. I started to get a glimpse of what God wanted to do with me…and I got scared. I started backing away. I wasn’t ready. It was too much. I needed to be ready. Then I started seminary and thought that this journey would help me. Which it definitely has! However, now that school is coming to an end…literally 5 weeks away, that anxiousness is back. That scary feeling is back. The wondering if I can do it.

Then today…I remembered I am called by name! He chose me. He sent ministers, pastors, and strangers to tell me that He has chosen me. He has already given me wisdom, skills and through school He has given me knowledge, He has equipped me. While I know that my anxious feelings won’t suddenly go away, I have to be confident in knowing that God is guiding me. He is equipping me as I write this. He is giving me confidence.

I hope that if you’re reading this, you are reminded that God has called you to greatness. Maybe others won’t see the things that God has done or is doing to equip you, but know that you are being worked on by the Master Craftsman. He is molding you into greatness, all you have to do is trust him.

Lord Jesus, I thank you for not only knowing us by name, but calling us by name. By giving us ministries, and passions, and callings for Your work. I thank You for allowing us to be a part of Your body, for the opportunity to be used by You. I ask that You give us courage to do what You have called us to do. Thank you for reminding us that it is You who has called us, and that even though it takes months or years for us to get where we need to be, we can still be patient and grow from that waiting, knowing that you are equipping us. You are above all things, and know all things. We trust in you and know that You will never fail us. Amen

On Faith….Bread Bible – Daily Bible Readings Reflection

So this year my church started participating in a daily Bible reading plan, and as a group we’re going through and reading and reflecting on what we read that day. I hadn’t thought about doing it, but as I started looking at the Bible that corresponds with the plan, I thought I’d give it a shot. So far so good. Since I’m going to school and write anyway, I figured that I would go ahead and randomly write about what I read. It’s definitely not going to be a daily thing, but probably a weekly thing, or every other day. The readings will be daily, but my reflections/blog post will not…I’m not entirely sure how often they’ll be but hopefully it will be consistent. The decision to write came today, since the coffee I drank earlier is still in my system, and since I’ve turned in all my assignments that were due this week, I figured…why not.

Friday 1-9-15

So yesterday’s readings were Genesis ch. 17 & 18, and Matthew 8.

Faith was something that stood out to me. Chapter 17 deals with Abram’s calling, for those who don’t know Abram’s name is changed to Abraham after God confirms his calling to be the “father of many nations”. So here’s God telling Abram that he will be this super important guy and Abram wasn’t sure what to think, and he laughed. He wasn’t the only one who laughed though, the next time this was told to them, his wife Sarah laughed as well. I don’t think they laughed because they doubted, I think they laughed because they didn’t feel worthy. Of course most of us know the outcome of this story so I won’t go to more details, but it got me thinking of all the times I doubted God’s calling on my life, the times that I felt I wasn’t worthy to be called by Him. All the times I though…”Yea…OK God…Whatever you say”. Like God could really use me, or I could really be called by Him. And just like Abraham, I messed up along the way, but I’m still here. Still walking down the same road towards my final destination.

Let’s get back to talking about faith, my pastor is actually doing a series on faith and I thought that it was awesome how the readings for today were on faith as well (at least that’s what stood out to me). When we look at Abraham and know that even though he didn’t feel like he was worthy or capable of his calling, he still continued to do what God called him to do. My pastor said to the effect that while faith is believing in something, it’s only faith if you act on that belief. Not in a crazy way, but in a ‘yea this is going to work out for me’ kind of way. In a ‘Let me move, let me do something’ kind of way, a demonstration to show that I know God is doing something. That’s where Matthew 8 comes in. It’s like the chapter was devoted to acts of faith. In the first thirteen versus, two different people approached Jesus in this chapter. Both had faith and new that Jesus could heal, but they didn’t just stay quiet or sit back. They approached Jesus. They went up to Him and basically said “Hey I’m sick…” or “…so and so is sick, please heal them”, and just like that they were healed. I think about all the times I thought that it would be awesome if God healed me, or provided for me. I knew He could do it, I believed it, but I never asked. I never really approached Him in that way. I didn’t take action….and then the moments would pass. Then I think about the other areas where I didn’t even pray for something and God made it happen because I acted on faith. How twice now I’ve quit my job and within 24 hours God had it worked out for my good. On one occasion it was worked out within 30 minutes of me acting on faith just did it. I didn’t make a request, I didn’t have to fast, I just knew that God was going to take care of me. It was literally like falling off a cliff only to land on a big fluffy pillow, without knowing that it was going to be there, but believing that nothing bad would happen.

While I can’t recommend for everyone to take that leap, I definitely think it’s worth praying about. Each time I took the leap, I felt peace, not worry, not doubt, just peace. I’m sure those men who approached Jesus felt that way too. In their hearts they felt peace because standing in front of them was the one who had the ability to change their lives, all they had to do was approach Him.

How many times have we believed that God could do something but we never built up the courage to present the need to Him?

How many times have we felt unworthy of the calling He has placed in us?

How many times have we refused to take the leap because we are too focused on the worrying?

Anyway these are my ramblings and reflections at 2am…so glad I get to sleep in. Until next time…

Blessings

Up until now

Sketchy internet service has been perhaps the most dramatic thing that has happened during the last couple of days that I’ve been here. That is until I work up this morning and heard that they found the three Israeli boys that had disappeared a couple of weeks ago. The fact that it changed our schedule for the day held the least of the impact¬†for me. Instead I was just dumbstruck by what I was experience.¬†

Before coming to Israel I knew things were bad, I knew that there were conflicts and bombings, but I never really thought about. For the last two nights we had lecturers here at Fuller, and I think learning from the people who live here, and being immersed with this culture, had really just brought things to perspective. I find myself emotional, fatigued, and with a heavy heart. 

The first lecture, two days ago, dealt with the Israeli Palestinian conflict, and hearing the discussion and realizing that there might never be a “good” solution to it just left me in a daze. Both sides just want totally different things, and each side thinks that they’re right, and knowing that I can’t side with either of them, is difficult for me. I can usually hear both sides of the story and say this is what I believe…but i can’t do that. I hurt for the people who are stuck in the middle, for those who want to live in peace. That same day we had the opportunity to enter into the temple mount and witnessed a confrontation between the Jewish and Muslim people and seeing how in reality both set of peoples were trying to worship God in their holy place. So who was wrong, who was right, who is to blame??¬†

Last night¬†we had a lecturer that explained how the Christian churches came to be in Israel and the role they play in the community. We discussed how ultimately it is the people of the country that can decide how to proceed with the conflicts that they’re facing. However, as Christians, and as the minority in the country they face even more struggles.These people are most often the ones living in poverty.¬† Where would they fit in? How can we…the church…leave them alone in this situation…how can we support and encourage our brothers and sisters? We are not called to be the knight in shining armor, but are we called to sit and watch? How much of a role should we play? These are all questions that for me have no answers.¬†

Then today I sat at a restaurant watching news that I could not understand and hearing the restaurant owner response of¬†“This happens all the time, it’s nothing new”. It was nothing new…three young boys dead, as a result of religious conflict, as a result of political conflict, as a result of a piece of land. To think that at any moment a war could erupt…that someone can just come in and say one thing, or do one thing, and by that one action thousands upon thousands can die.¬†

I think about this and I cry…I cry because there are no answers. I cry because while I’m sitting at the beach, there are people dying miles away from me. I hear the alarms ringing, I see the planes over head, I hear my classmates say they saw missiles flying over head…and all I can do is pray. I pray for God to illuminate the leaders of these nations, I pray for God’s continued protect over His creation.

Today is day 4, and I know what you’re thinking, what happened to day 2 and 3, well, here they are!!¬†

On day 2 we went to:

Sepphoris, another archaeological dig site, with some beautiful mosaics. 

This mosaic is a couple of thousand years old.

This mosaic is a couple of thousand years old.

Then we went to Tel Dan, and can I tell you, this place was absolutely gorgeous!! I mean whoa! I had no idea that a place like this would be located in Israel. Searching for the spring was something that gave me energy. You could always hear it, but would only see it in random places. 

On a bridge overlooking a gorgeous stream.

On a bridge overlooking a gorgeous stream.

We finished the day by visiting Caesarea Philipi which was a really sad but fascinating place. I say sad because of the human sacrifices that took place there. Yet it was fascinating to see how much of the wall was preserved and the different influences in the architecture. 

On day 3 we started off the morning at the Mt. of Beatitudes, and I was grateful to have had a moment to just sit and dwell in God’s presence there. Knowing that there was a high likelihood that Jesus himself sat somewhere near there and taught us how to love, and blessed his people. Even now I get emotional. It was really a moving place.¬†DSCF1398

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From there we went on to the boat ride on the Sea of Galilee. Again, thinking about all the miracles that took place there was just like WHOA!!! Wondering how many people saw or heard him there. I know that some reading this blog might not be fans of Christians, but you have think about Christ and what He did. We as Christians fall short all the time, but Jesus just loved and cared for everyone. DSCF1437

Capernaum was also a great place we visited on day 3. Seeing the site of what could have possibly been the first Christian church just floored me. I thought about how when I was little we had a church in our home and the lives that were impacted/affected by it, but how this one home church literally impacted hundreds of thousands by the people that left it and continued to preach the Gospel.DSCF1451

2 days in one

Israel Day 1

So Monday was an incredible day! I know that the rest of the trip is going to be awesome simply because of everything we did today. 

We had an early start and headed to Caeserea and the Mediterranean. We stopped near Harod’s castle, and well let’s just say that if I lived during those times, I would definitely want to be staying there. The place was amazing!!! Granted it was a bunch of ruble, but seeing everything that was there, and the view and all that, I can image how great it looked.¬†

 

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So here's where king Herod, and later Pontius Pilate

So here’s where king Herod, and later Pontius Pilate hung out and lived

I mean can you believe being surrounded with so much beauty. Yet there’s an air of sadness because of all that occurred here. The people who died, for the sake of entertainment.
Here's the hippodrome located near Herod's castle.

Here’s the hippodrome located near Herod’s castle.

After that we went to Megiddo and explored an archaeological site that overlooks Armageddon. According to what they told us, there were over 30 battles that took place. It was pretty crazy seeing all that was out there, and hearing the about the discoveries.

Archaeology in Megiddo

Archaeology in Megiddo

Amsterdam and Tantur

So it looks like I’m a day behind on blog post, I’m going to try to do two today, one now and another tonight. We’ll see how that goes.¬†

So I had mentioned loving 2 things about Amsterdam, and only talked about 1 thing, the 2nd thing is the architecture there. I love looking at buildings. In Amsterdam it’s particularly awesome because the diversity of the buildings themselves. You don’t just have one genre of building styles, but some that span hundreds of years. I would post pics but for some reason, probably the internet speed, I’m not able to upload them to wordpress. Hopefully I’ll be able to add some pictures soon though.¬†

Like I mentioned on my last post, I think the people, no matter where I go will be my favorite part about any place I visit. 

 

I arrived in Tel Aviv about 2:30 am and after getting my visa I walked out to get a shuttle taxi. This was definitely an awkward experience for me because the guys were literally arguing over who was going to take me. It’s not that they wanted to take me, it was more like they didn’t want to bother. I’m guessing the place was too far, or out of the way, but their body language was not in my favor. I was pretty uneasy about all that just because I started thinking that I would get stranded, but finally one of them was “talked” into taking me to Tantur. At night Tantur reminds me of an old castle/monestry building. It’s located on top of this hill and surrounded by flowers and what not. After a couple of hours of sleep I went ahead and did a little exploring.¬†

Traveling

I’m still not sure if I’m cut out for being a world traveler. The jet lag is REAL! haha

It’s so bad that as I was sitting outside reading, in this beautiful, picturesque breezy courtyard…and tell me why i was literally falling asleep. I was nodding off…after I had slept, and after I had taken a nap. I’m still SLEEPY! haha but I don’t want to stay here and sleep all day, so I will do as much as I can to get through it.¬†

Anyway I’m sure you all don’t want to to read about my jet lag and are wondering what I did in Amsterdam.¬†

I arrived in Amsterdam at 7am which is about midnight Houston time and had 10 hours to kill before my next flight. So the airport there is HUGE! I had a hard time figuring out where and how to catch the train. Luckily there are these huge signs that say TRAINS so I wasn’t confused that much. I ended up just getting a round trip ticket to Amsterdam Central, and used some of the Euros that i got before leaving Houston, which was awesome planning in my part because their credit card machines were down. Once I got to Amsterdam Central I had to figure out how to catch train 17, which was supposed to take me to the Anne Frank house. So their method of transportation is so random to me, I needed to get on this train but the signs listed platforms and street names but I had no idea what street the Anne Frank house was on. Of course I had no wifi and no way to look it up, then as I walked outside I saw the boats. The boats, Canal Cruises, were a drop off pick up thing that cost about 22 Euros…this was a total win win for me because I did not have to figure out street names or train scan cards or any of that. All I had to do was jump off when I needed to and jump back on when I felt that I needed to.¬†

 

ImageMe on the boat

 

There were two things I loved about Amsterdam. 1 was the people!! I must have heard about 20 different languages in the short hours that i was there. I’m a total people watcher. Especially when I don’t know anyone or am in a new environment.The most interesting had to have been the bicyclist. Those guys and girls really do own the road. I didn’t really quite grasp the whole biker lane until someone literally ran into me. His reaction was…I was ringing the bell you should have moved…and my reaction was ummm…sorry…but I survived, with very few bruises. So that was a plus.

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One of the bicycle people

Standing in line (for 2 hrs) while waiting to get into the Anne Frank Museum was the perfect place to do that. The line literally went around 3 blocks. I debated whether or not I wanted to go stay, I decided to go through with it just because this was Anne Frank and doubted that I would be there again and if I did return I’d probably be spending more time.¬†

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At the Anne Frank House Museum they didn’t allow us to take pictures inside so I was only able to take this picture.¬†

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It was truly an amazing place. To think this young girl was still able to live a semi “normal” teen life full of mood swings, romance, and self discovery right in the middle of fearing for her life. To see how small the room where she slept was, to see how many stairs they had to climb day in and day out. To watch an interview her father gave regarding her life, and how she inspired him. So much happened in her short life. What would I have done. What would have been my reaction to being in that situation. Definitely something to think about.¬†

It’s actually dinner time now….so I’ll probably get back to writing about what my 2nd favorite thing