4/19/11

BFFs

A life journal post from April 19th, 2011:

BFFs

Scripture: 1 Samuel (18-20) *20:11-17

Observation: Friendship is such a powerful thing. I have friends that are closer than family to me. We understand and relate to each other better than anyone and we can be completely honest with each other. This passage in the scripture describe an incredible bond between Jonathan and David. Chapter 18 says, "David and Jonathan became best friends. Jonathan thought as much of David as he did of himself" (v.1 Contemp. English Version). They were BFFs. I have a feeling that Jonathan saw the incredible call on David's life and after recognizing that potential he would risk even his own life to protect his friend and make sure he was not harmed. When I stopped to think of all of this another verse hit me. Proverbs 18:24 reads, "There are “friends” who destroy each other,but a real friend sticks closer than a brother." Another thought hit me- Christ laid down His life for us- because he wanted us to be saved- HE SEES OUR CALLING AND POTENTIAL. He is close to us- closer than a brother. Christ is even closer to us than our best friends. As I realize all of this I feel almost overwhelmed. I have always thought of God as my Father, or my protector or my teacher, not so much as my best friend. To realize how close He really is to us and know that HE LAID DOWN HIS LIFE blows my mind. Yea I've known he died for me but this way of understanding it was realized today.

Application: I will realize that as close as I am to a friend, the Lord is closer. He laid down His life for me- there is no greater love (John 15:13 "Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends"). I will realize this, and more importantly I will appreciate this.

Prayer: Lord, you continually amaze me. You are closer to me than anyone else. I praise you for the friendships you have given me and I thank you for the sacrifice and the love your Son showed me.

Hunger & Thirst for Righteousness

A life journal post from April 18th, 2011:



Hunger & Thirst for Righteousness


Scripture: Matthew 5:6
"Blessed are those who hunger & thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied."

Observation: This verse instantly made me think of the Ps 11:7 verse I wrote about. I decided to read it with the definition of righteousness in the verse. "Blessed are those who seek to be blameless for they shall be satisfied." Do I seek to be blameless? Or do I just want to try and make sure I don't get caught doing something I shouldn't be doing? Generally I am the type of person who anticipates the consequences of my actions before I do something. Before I used to break rules or cross boundaries I would ask myself, "Can I handle the consequence of this or would I be upset?" Usually I would justify my actions and do what I wanted. Looking at this now makes me realize how foolish I was. If I have an intent, a desire for living a blameless life I won't want to cross boundaries- instead I will want to imitate Christ as much as I can. I will strive to lead a blameless life- being the best representation of Him as I can. Now I'm not naive enough to think that I won't mess up, fall down or be dumb sometimes but I know that He forgives me- making it possible for me to pick myself back up, dust myself off and try again.

Application: I will strive to follow Christ's example and live a life that reflects His blameless one. I will also receive His grace and mercy when I don't measure up.

Prayer: Lord, I want to HUNGER and THIRST to live a righteous life like you did. Guide me and teach me how to do this. Put that desire in my heart.

See His Face

A life journal post from April 16th, 2011:

See His Face

Scripture: Psalm 11:7
"For the Lord is righteous, He loves righteousness;
The upright will see His face"

Observation: Righteousness is a pretty main word in this passage. I looked it up and to be righteous means to be not guilty, without blame. The Lord is righteous and He LOVES those without blame. He loves it so much those who lead a blameless life GET TO SEE HIS FACE. Being righteous is impossible on our own- it just is. But Christ takes our blame and sin from us- making us righteous. I want to see His face- how amazing.

Application: Righteousness comes from Christ saving us, when we strive to live in the example he left for us to follow we live righteous lives. I will strive to live as Christ lived, keeping my heart right as to not turn it into a front like the unauthentic Pharisee's desire to follow law rather than to live as God asks us to.

Prayer: Lord, help me keep my heart right as I follow the example you have left for me to imitate and follow. I want to see your face Lord.

Photo Project #1 Cont...

I did it. I shot my first set of pictures completely in manual mode on Sunday.




Next step is figuring out how to make them less grainy, but hey I'm shootin in manual :)

4/14/11

Wants to try...

to learn to sew... I know, I know it sounds old school... But I wanna give it a try. There's a few projects I want to attempt- like making carriers for the light cans I have for photo shoots. Maybe even making a different camera bag? Gonna give it a shot.

There's only one problem... In the past when I have tried to use a sewing machine... it would break. Not even joking. So this time I would like to conquer this without breaking anything...

Sacrifice and Obedience

A life journal post from April 14th, 2011:

Sacrifice and Obedience

Scripture: 1 Samuel 15:20-23
20 “But I did obey the LORD,” Saul said. “I went on the mission the LORD assigned me. I completely destroyed the Amalekites and brought back Agag their king. 21 The soldiers took sheep and cattle from the plunder, the best of what was devoted to God, in order to sacrifice them to the LORD your God at Gilgal.” 22 But Samuel replied: “Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. 23 For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has rejected you as king.”

Observation: Saul gave in to what his men wanted and didn't kill all of the men- He left the king alive. He tried to JUSTIFY his actions by saying "Oh I did this so I could offer a sacrifice to the Lord". No. The Lord gave Him specific instructions. He disobeyed. His actions were wrong- he knew it but he tried to act like he was doing the right thing. He tried to defend himself. How often do I do this? How many times do I do something- knowing its not what I was supposed to do- but I try coloring it by making it look better than it is? Samuel called Saul on it tho. He blatantly says "To obey is BETTER than sacrifice" He goes on to point out that rebellion is like the sin of divination- witchcraft and soothsaying. I know that at times when I would rebel I would try and act like it was my right- since I knew what was up- I took pride in the rebellious acts that I did. When I read those words it hit me so hard- rebellion is like witchcraft. That is such a eyeopening statement! I had to repent and ask for forgiveness for my actions and the pride I had in taking them. I want no part in any of that. But after that this brings me back to the thought- OBEDIENCE. This seems to be a theme in this book. Samuel obeyed God and he grew and the Lord was with him; whereas Saul didn't obey God and in turn God rejected him as king. How embarrassing. I don't want to fall out of the place God has me in- nor do I want to live in rebellion or disobedience.

Application: I want all of my actions and all of the intent of my heart to be in obedience to what the Lord instructs me to do- complete obedience. I want to honor Him with my obedience.


Prayer: Lord, I pray that you guide me in obeying your word. I pray that I stay in line with the plan you have laid out for me. I praise you for how far you've taken me and for what you continue to do in my heart.


4/12/11

Daily Renewal

A life journal post from April 12th, 2011:

Daily Renewal 

Scripture: 2 Corinthians 4:14-16

14 We know that God, who raised the Lord Jesus,[d] will also raise us with Jesus and present us to himself together with you. 15 All of this is for your benefit. And as God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory. 16 That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are[e] being renewed every day.


Observation: Our spirits are being renewed everyday. Alot of days we can feel like we are dying, I think that when I get that in my mind its because I'm focusing on what I'm doing and not what God is doing with me or with my testimony. Alot of times I think that I just recognize the fact that I'm getting worn down and not seeing the lives God is changing and using me as a tool in that. When I get focused on the fact that I'm worn down it usually has something to do with the fact that I'm not asking God to renew me. But that is what I need- I don't need a break- I don't need to take a vacation- I need for Him to renew me everyday otherwise I am going to feel like my body is dying. How do I change my focus from being that I'm dying to that I am bringing people life? I ask God to renew me and my focus everyday- I CANNOT get caught up in myself. That is what really kills us.


Application: I need to be renewed by Him EVERYDAY. He needs to be my source.

Prayer: Lord I want you to renew me and give me the strength to be a witness for you. Without it I feel like I'm overwhelmed. I can't do it on my own or without You. If I try to I want to give up. My desire is to be able to reach more for you Lord. Teach me how and renew my spirit.

4/11/11

Red Lodge MT

One of the only cool things about living in Montana is going up to the mountains every once in a while. Last year about this time my family and I headed up to the Red Lodge area. It was still cold but gorgeous. I had just gotten my dslr and was able to snap a few shots...









FOR-EV-ER

A life journal post from April 11th, 2011:

Forever

Scripture: 1 Samuel 3:1-21 *1, 10, 15, 18, *19

Observation: This passage talks about the first time Samuel hears from the Lord. The first verse of this passage tells us that "word from the Lord was rare in those days". Samuel was not familiar with God's voice, in fact he thought the voice he heard was coming from Eli. When he finally recognizes the voice and who it belongs to God revealed himself to Samuel. This revelation wasn't a "Oh hi there, how are you?" It was a, "Oh hey that guy thats training you- the one you are living with- yea I'm gonna bring judgement against him and his sons. Their sins won't be atoned by sacrifice or offering... FOREVER." When I read that I pictured the scene from The Sandlot where Squints just keeps repeating "FOR-EV-ER" slow-mo over and over again. Note that I'm not making light of what God was saying to Samuel- but can you imagine being a just a kid and the very first time you hear from God He's telling you that your mentor is going to be judged- and you get to tell him about it? Well that sounds like a fun day... But the point of this is Samuel came with an open ear, "Speak, for Your servant is listening." He came with a listening heart. I think that a lot of times we come to God just wanting to talk- or wanting something from Him. It's not very often we come just to listen. Not only did he listen to the word of the Lord, scripture says that when Eli asked him what the word was he told him everything and hid nothing from him (v.18). He didn't say,"Well God's going to have a lil chit chat with ya later... " He didn't sugar coat it- he told Eli what God said. And the result of his obedience was that Samuel grew and the Lord was with him and let none of his words fail. How awesome would it be to never be wrong? Well that was part of what came from his obedience. Amazing.

Application: I need to stop and listen. I need to get to the point where I can recognize the Lord calling me and respond with "Speak, for your servant is listening." When I do hear from the Lord, it then becomes my responisibilty to be obedient with the word he gives me. It brings great reward.

Prayer: Lord, I want to recognize your voice. Help me recognize You calling my name and recognize that I need to stop and listen to the word you have for me. Lord give me the wisdom to obey the words You give me because I desire to grow and have You be with me.

 



4/10/11

Being a Realist

A life journal post from April 10th, 2011:

Being a Realist

Scripture: Judges 13:21-23
21 The angel did not appear again to Manoah and his wife. Manoah finally realized it was the angel of the Lord, 22 and he said to his wife, “We will certainly die, for we have seen God!” 23 But his wife said, “If the Lord were going to kill us, he wouldn’t have accepted our burnt offering and grain offering. He wouldn’t have appeared to us and told us this wonderful thing and done these miracles.”

Observation: Manoah quickly forgot the words spoken to him when he realized the one who had said them to him. His wife had to be the realist and remind him God probably wouldn't tell them all of what was spoken- just to kill them. She had faith in the word spoken. I can't help but imagine her response to her husband having some sort of sarcasm to it...

Application: I will look past my humanly way of understanding and over-reacting and trust what the Lord speaks to me. I will be a realist :).

Prayer: Lord, give me your understanding and let me look past what is right in front of me and realize Your ways are much higher than mine.

Thankful Sacrifice

A life journal post from April 5th, 2011:

Thankful Sacrifice


Scripture: Psalm 50:7-14,23
7 “O my people, listen as I speak. Here are my charges against you, O Israel:
I am God, your God! 8 I have no complaint about your sacrifices or the burnt offerings you constantly offer. 9 But I do not need the bulls from your barns or the goats from your pens. 10 For all the animals of the forest are mine, and I own the cattle on a thousand hills. 11 I know every bird on the mountains, and all the animals of the field are mine. 12 If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for all the world is mine and everything in it. 13 Do I eat the meat of bulls? Do I drink the blood of goats? 14 Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God, and keep the vows you made to the Most High...23 But giving thanks is a sacrifice that truly honors me. If you keep to my path, I will reveal to you the salvation of God.”

Observation: Our sacrifices are NOT for God's benefit-  we do not provide for Him, everything belongs to Him. Our sacrifice should be out of thanksgiving-Honors Him. His revelation comes from honoring Him.

Application: I will not let my sacrifice/tithes/giving of myself become a meaningless routine or habit- it will be done PURPOSEFULLY and with THANKS.

Prayer: Lord, I want to honor You. You sacrificed so much for me- let the sacrifices I make be done with a thankful heart.

Life Journal

The study group at my church has started reading the book titled "The Divine Mentor" by Wayne Cordeiro. We also have the opportunity of using a "Life" journal that has daily scripture verses listed and a portion for you to journal about what you learn while reading. It is set up in a way that you list the scripture you've read, the observations you've made from it, the applications it has to life and a prayer space (SOAP). I started reading the book and doing this set up of devotionals at the end of March. I love this. It is helping me to become disiplined in my scripture reading and prayer life again. "The Divine Mentor" is such a beneficial book to read. Through reading both I am learning to hear from God again, something that I have just flat out missed. I look forward to the time I get to spend in the Word again and the the things the Lord are showing me through that time. I will be posting some of the things I learn on here.

Photo Project #1

So after I decided I wanted to do the 50 photography projects I finally have a couple ready for a post. About 2 months after I did the shoot I finally got two of the ones I actually liked edited. The day I took the pictures it was freezing outside. I need to find a better time to try and take them because Saturday mornings here are just flat out crazy. I am still creating a list of locations I want to go shoot, so I guess you can say that Project #1 will be on going for a while.

Here are the two I took on February 18th:


Both were taken at a church in downtown Billings. I had originally planned on taking some of a very detailed church close to this one- but the day that I went there a funeral was going on, and out of respect I figured I could find a different church to take pictures of that day.
The good news is it is finally starting to look like Spring so I will be able to be outside so much more.