I found this in the "Draft" section of my email with this title in the subject.
It's from my Bible class last year.
[Jubilee Academy: Bible - Old Testament]

Maybe someone needs to see it.


With God we may have these varying levels of knowing.

There are many who have but a nodding acquaintance with Him, lasting only as long as the nod. There are many more — far more than we readily admit — whose only knowledge of God is about Him, second-hand; and who never arrive at the first-hand knowledge of Him that comes from first-hand experience with Him.

We all start our religious life by leaning upon the experience of others. The child's first knowledge of God is not direct, but rooted in the belief and practice of parent and teacher. It is possible to go through adult life without ever passing beyond this second-hand knowledge of God. There are also very many whose only religious knowledge is that of the externals of religion. Their interest and main concern is with the minutiae and mechanics of church life. This constitutes a deadly temptation for many of the clergy. Here the externals of religion, its churchiness, or devotion to legalism and ritual become the substitute for knowing God.

But it is also possible to have with God that deep and rich relationship, which is His friendship and love, and which the New Testament calls eternal life. It is only this kind of knowledge that can ever satisfy the heart of man and set him at rest and at peace. The life of praying seeks to prepare us for that kind of knowledge of God.

Ultimately we can draw near to God in but one of two moods: the mood of using God selfishly, or the mood of disinterested love — the mood of adoration.

In the life of Christian praying we heed and seek to obey these mysterious workings of God. We learn slowly that much depends upon our immediate and willing obedience to them. When we do not live by the light of prayer, we often seek to ignore them, to forget them, to resist them, to disobey them. We have thus a very decisive part to play in this work of God for, in, and upon us. We shall find that the universe of God will not budge before us, when we set our wills stubbornly against all the mighty powers of God's ordered world.

In the life of Christian praying we joyfully and peacefully give God the time and attention and consent which He asks from us. Thus does God works His redemptive action in us with every resistance broken down. But in this work we shall have to fight against long-established tendencies to forget God, to ignore Him, and to live for ourselves as if He did not exist. We shall have to fight against deep and hidden fears of the inevitable, worldly consequences of belonging wholly and first to God.

God has created us for Himself, for His glory, and for fellowship with Himself; not that He is seeking something for Himself, but that He is seeking us for our sakes.

To have friendship with God involves necessarily the transformation of our old self-centered being by God's own action in and upon us into the likeness of God.

To say that we must become like God in no way implies that we can escape or ignore the basic distinction between man and God. Even in heaven man will ever remain a being, utterly dependent for both the fact and the kind of his existence upon the Creator God.
We know that we have become so deeply attached to things and to persons and to ourselves that we have no longer power to detach ourselves. We gradually learn that not we ourselves, but God, is the main factor and agent in the long, progressive work of detachment.

"He that loses his life shall find it; he that keeps his life shall lose it."

But once we have heard and accepted this Christian purpose of life
— that we are made for God, for His glory, and for intimate friendship with Him — then the whole of life here on earth takes on a new and satisfying significance.

But however great may be our confusion or bewilderment concerning the purpose of our lives, God knows completely the purpose of our existence. He has brought us into existence for His purpose, and He sustains us in order that that purpose may be fulfilled. We know ourselves only in a very fragmentary and partial way. We know ourselves as spirit far less than we know ourselves as body. But God acts upon us with complete and perfect knowledge of every factor, whether we think it relevant or irrelevant to Him. He knows what we require: often we do not. His action is limited and conditioned only by His self-subjection to the ways of divine love.

God is a jealous God.
But we are not to interpret the divine jealousy in terms of our human jealousy, which is always self-seeking. God's jealousy is never for His sake, but for ours. He knows how much we are missing when we seek to live apart from Him. He is jealous because He wills to give us the high gifts of holy friendship, and He cannot tolerate our lives becoming so attached to earthly realities, good as they may be, that we have no time or concern for spiritual fellowship with Him. He knows that we can never be truly joyful until we place Him first in our lives, and thus enter into that holy friendship with Him which is the pearl of great price. Therefore God must be jealous — yes, even angry and wrathful — at the idols which absorb us in earthly life.



why is it we are so afraid of trials, suffering, pain, or simply, just being uncomfortable?

[Romans 5:3-4]
"3 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. 4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. "

In Acts 16:16-40 we see that sometimes doing the right thing can get you into trouble.
But God can do something in it. He can use bad situations for His glory.

In the middle of being unjustly punished, Paul and Silas sang praises to God. And so, they were able to witness to the jailer and his whole family.

God used the disgrace and injustice against Paul and Silas to touch the life of the jailer.

In Genesis 37-46 we see the story of Joseph, son of Jacob.
The same Joseph with the coat of many colors, and dreams.
The same Joseph whose jealous brothers sold him into slavery for 20 silver pieces.
Joseph who made Potiphar's house blessed.
And then was falsely accused of rape by Potiphar's wife.
Then, in prison, interpreted the dreams of the baker and the wine bearer.
The Joseph who was not remembered for two years, though through it all the Lord was with him.
The same Joseph who was finally summoned to interpret the Pharoah's dream.
And became second in command to the whole nation of Egypt.

Yes, Joseph was unjustly persecuted and punished. But through it all, God had a plan. He was preparing Joseph, so that in His timing the nations of Egypt and Israel would be saved.

This same Joseph had learned to forgive...and love.

God did not forget Joseph.
Nor the promises He made to him.

And He has not forgotten you.

God did not promise us a safe journey, but a safe landing.
Do not pray to be brought out of your trials, but for Him to bring you through them.

If you got in it, God can bring you out.
Just pray you pull the lesson out with you.

Do not give up hope.
He is nearer than you dare think.



We are finally back home.
It's quite bittersweet.

I'm so glad to be back with our church and our mission. I'm so glad to be back to my house and my bed. My things. I'm glad to see friends I haven't been with for awhile now. I'm glad to be back to the smells, humidity, warmth...just everything.
I love everything about this country.
All the stuff that drives me crazy, I love about it too.

But at the same time I have left family and friends behind. Our home church is back "home" too. It's almost like my heart is torn in two. As if it would be better to hover over the seas an equal distance between my two homes than trying to pick one over the other.
I love America too.

I love knowing that I'm supposed to be here for a time.
But I love going to an English church service and hanging out with old friends.
It's so torn.
So beautifully tragic.
So heart-breakingly amazing.

It's a paradox.

And I thank God for it.

I thank Him for all the adventures we had the past two months. All of the "Diosidencias", divine appointments. I thank Him for keeping us safe. For watching out for us and blessing us with a great time.

I cannot wait to see what He's going to do with this new year.
He has great stuff in store. I'm sure of it.

I'm just waiting on Him to find out.


Have You Ever...

started to cry because something was so beautiful?

sung something you just made up on the spot, and when you try to go back and remember the words you realize that song was made for those moments only?

sat still in silence?

heard the silence?

been scared by it? Not because of something ominous. But because you felt so vulnerable?

wondered why?

put pen to paper before you thought about what you were going to write...and something beautiful came out of it?

dared to stare Holiness in the face?

slept peacefully and deeply without a care in the world?

tried to snap a shutter on a lovely scene, then put the camera aside realizing some views are made for the moment?

seen a stranger and felt compassion for them? Not pity. Compassion?

wanted to hug someone you barely know, but stopped because you were afraid of so many things?

wished you could just get that homeless guy on the the street all he would ever need?

stared out the window in awe of the things around you?

thought you could change the world?

lived in the moment?

Have you ever...?

Happy New Year

A year of new beginnings.

Don't stop dreaming.
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