Friday, October 15, 2010

Thoughts About Prayer

Prayer is meant to be co-labor, not just a dumping grounds for worries.

I pray that God would teach me to be more selfless.
I pray that God would help me find a good job in less than a year.
I pray that God would help me with doubt and confusion.

Once I've offered it, I tend to forget it, or at least for awhile. God's got it under control after all, right?

But then, what right do I have to complain that God does not answer my prayers? I've forgotten it. I've made no effort. God could magically change me and provide specific needs out of the blue, but then what have I learned? That God is omnipotent? Perhaps. That selflessness is hard work? Well, no. That character development and grappling with the ideas of God is hard work but the most satisfying? Hmm, not so much. Have I truly changed then? Have my prayers actually been answered? God wants to provide, but He will not be limited by what I think I need. He has greater plans for me, a way to make me more happy and bring him more glory.

Prayer is not dumping but working through difficulties with God. It is in my time of prayer that healing and providence begins. After all, if I can feel refreshed by a conversation with a good friend, why do I not expect healing and refreshment after I talk with my Almighty Father? I think we sometimes wait too much for God to do all of the work. But if I dump and then walk away, how can he help me?

-Thanks to listening to J.P. Moreland's chapel, The Spiritual Discipline of Prayer from Fall 1999.

Monday, August 23, 2010


A straight line flows with no end.

Its beginning cannot be seen.

It has no twist or break or bend.

Its marking is fine and clean.

To trust in it is not a stake

As that straight line goes for eternity.

We know what motion it will make

Not boring, but blissful certainty.

Now watch that crazy crooked line.

It’s up, down, all over the place.

Why does she fall, then up and climb,

Just to again fall on her face?

She tries to mock that straight line.

“What fun is there being steady?”

Yet, despite her haughty design,

Her tears show her true malady.

The crooked line pulls herself up,

Even with the straight line’s sure flow.

Gazing down and upon close-up

She knows she wants this way to go.

Content a moment, but soon lost,

The crooked line fell a slight bit.

She traveled next to, but hadn’t crossed,

The straight line she wanted to hit.

But next to it, she could not see

That straight and steady line go on.

“It has gone and abandoned me.

It has changed and treated me wrong.

Well fine then, I’ll find my own way.”

And down she plunged again thinking

She’ll be happy, no line to obey,

Not knowing that she was sinking.

Blinding twists and sharp painful turns,

She’s steering but where is she going?

It’s direction for which she yearns,

She hates utterly not knowing.

That crooked, broken, twisted line

Finally looked up and she saw

The straight line did never decline

It was not it but she who flawed.

In that straight line, is all she desires,

Not above or below but in.

The best is what it requires:

Nothing… except to let go of sin.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Wooden Doors, Apartments, and God

I had a very random memory come to mind while watching our traditional Miracle on 34th St. movie this holiday. So there is the scene in the courthouse where the little girl, Susan, walks straight up to the judge and hands him a Christmas card with a dollar bill in it. That Christmas card turns the whole outcome of the judge's statement. At such a pivotal moment I should be paying attention to the suspense of the scene, or maybe the silliness of a judge declaring if Santa Claus is real or not. But what I always loved watching was the girl push through those wooden swinging doors separating the gallery from the front of the room . I don't know why, but I always thought it would feel so cool to bust through those doors, feeling self important as the doors continued to swing back and forth as I took a seat.

Ok, fastforward now about 10 years to when I started working in the library at Biola. I was so happy, in such an simple way, when I discovered that to get the key for work I had to go through a similar swinging, wooden door. It's such a small, funny thing, but I finally got my big chance to bust through the door. I completely forgot about my childhood obsession with those swinging doors until I sat there watching Susan walk through them. At first I wanted to think, "aw, one of these days," but instead I thought, "big whoop, I walk through a door like that every day now."

A few weeks after watching Miracle on 34th St., my family drove down to beautiful San Clemente beach for our annual 1 week stay. My dad turned to me, like he does almost every year, and commented on how fun it would be if our beach condo was my real apartment and I shared it with a few other girls. I used to wander the rooms, picturing what it would be like to live without parents, with a bunch of my closest friends, and have a place to call my very own. But this year, I couldn't help thinking, "big whoop, a beach condo would be nice, but now I live in my own apartment with my best friends."

I don't need to dream anymore. I used to wonder what I'd look like when I was old, you know, a ripe old age like 18 years old! But now that's come and gone. I wondered what I would do after graduation, what it felt like to drive for real rather than mimic my mom in the back seat, or even what my brothers would be like or if they would keep playing Ninja turtles and Sonic forever. Now I know that I am still young and have so much to experience, but it makes me laugh to realize all the things I used to wonder and dream about. It's just sad that "being grown-up" isn't as magical as it seemed.

Childhood is certainly a magical time. Everything is so simple and everything lies ahead. But I would say that it is so magical because it is so mysterious. I used to take such joy in silly thoughts of walking through a swinging door simply because I didn't know what it would feel like. And now, I walk through that door without a second thought or a hint of a smile because I'm just used to it now.

We live in a culture that is soaked with facts and information. To be oblivious is to be frowned upon. Yet, it is ironic to me that people who so highly value knowing find such joy in the mystery of the unknown and first experiences. If only we could gain knowledge, actually experience the feeling of those doors, without becoming bored by the second or third time.

What struck me when wishing this was that we have it! The answer is the classic Sunday school answer: God. I used to think that we need to fully explain God to be justified in believing in his existence. If I can't make perfect logical sense out of God, then he must not exist. But how foolish am I to think I can fully comprehend an infinite God who exists outside of time and space? God can be consistent even if I can't comprehend it. In fact, if we completely figure God out, then he must not be all that glorious after all. So guess what? God will always be a mystery. We can understand aspects of his nature. We can experience him to a degree. But we can never get bored with God if we truly seek him.

So here's a little twist for you on "child-like faith." Christianity will never become boring if you truly seek God. There will always be mystery and anticipation which brings that simple, magical joy of a child.

Monday, January 11, 2010

A Life Well Lived

Today I went to Brooke Prieto's memorial service. I'll admit that at first I didn't want to go, thinking of all the other things I could do with the time. But after attending, I'm so thankful that I was able to be a part.

Brooke was an exceptional young woman. I'm only sad to say that I barely knew her. The main memory I have of her is sitting at my kitchen table, sipping tea at the "kid's table" while all the adults ladies were in the other room. At first I was so intimidated to have her sit with us younger girls. She was so much older, not to mention she was gorgeous and popular. What would I have to talk about with her? But as she sat down and began talking, I realized how humbly genuine she was. She had no air of superiority, nor did she give any sign that she was thinking about herself at all. Just a few mintues spent with her was refreshing. She truly knew how to give and reflect God's unconditional love.

The memorial service was hard to get through as the sisters, father, and husband spoke about her angelic nature. But it was absolutely beautiful. This was a woman, though only in her twenties, who had fulfilled her purpose. Even though she had such little energy from her disease, she continued to give herself to others and never was she heard complaining. She could have easily planted herself in her bed and made the whole world realize how unfortunate she was. She could have revolved her life around her sickness. She could have cried out against the unfairness of having to die so young. But she didn't. No, instead she encouraged others, gave to others, and never seemed to notice herself.

Brooke is one inspiring woman. I'm at a point in my life where I'm wondering how I'm going to make an impact on this world. I'm a junior in college now and it's time to start thinking about the future. I would love to share my love for philosophy with high school students, but I always come back to the same question: Am I any good at it? My problem is that, comparing myself to all the other brilliant Torrey students, I usually feel like I'm not very good at much. But I want to use my time and energy to impact others and bring them to Christ. I want to use my life not for my own entertainment and enjoyment but for God's purpose. I just need to find out what I'm good and do it for Christ, right? Well what amazed me about Brooke is that she was not remembered today for her amazing factual knowledge, her artistic or musical ability, or her great people skills. She was remembered for making dinners for those who were sick, praying with pastors even when she was the only student doing it, supporting a worship team even though she had no musical ability. She didn't need to be famous for her xyz quality. She served God simply with who she was. Too often I feel like I can't live an effective life because I'm just not talented enough to catch people's attention and lead them to God. I feel like I can't serve God until I know my unique ability that can be made God-centered. But as Brooke showed, you live a good life in every conversation, through every relationship, any encouraging note, or easy task for another. It's a simple concept, but remember that living an effective life for Christ doesn't require a special talent, nor is it limited to that talent. It is a lifestyle. It is how you choose to spend your time, how you interact with others, and ultimately, whether you're living your day-to-day life for yourself or for others.

I pray to God that one day, people will remember my life and will instantly think of God's love, selflessness, and holiness. I so desperately want to live a life that is meaningful and well-done. But rather than stressing about a way to make myself talented enough to catch people's attention, I can start with how I use my thought life, how I interact with people, and how I spend time with my Abba. Thank you Brooke, for your selfless life. Even though I barely spent any time with you, thank you for what you gave, and how you turned us all past yourself and on to God.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Poem For Coleridge

The tender petal bends under the weight
Of fresh spring rain, come yet again.
The leaves of the laurel tree toss and bait
The young mockingbird resting then.
The beauty surrounding takes breath away.
Awe and delight it should inspire.
Why then does this sight turn our thoughts grey
To a poor girl in need of dire?

The stories of old cannot be ignored
As they are passed from age to age.
The tree is forgotten. Instead a horde
Of preverse words on a page
Dance before the eyes distorting the sight,
And taking the joy away.
What has man done by distorting the light
Of nature's beauty and play?

Foolish men have cut off a healing source.
If only they could stop and see.
Misjudging nature is cause for remorse
As the mariner would agree.
Instead, be pure of heart and joy will come.
Beauty makes beauty of thee.
The mariner was trapped until he succumb
To bless the slimy snake of the sea.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

It's Not So Bad After All

Romans 5:1-5

"Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our heats through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us."

Just yesterday I applied for my next loan to pay for another semester at Biola. I always hate this time of year because it reminds me how much in debt I am for my schooling. I'm scared to graduate because I will have quite a bit of debt to face and my future goal to be a high school teacher at a private school does not promise a high salary. The past two years have been a journey for me learning to trust God, not just in an intangible way of trusting his salvation, but in a very real, material way.

So many times I have wondered why I have to deal with this, why God couldn't have provided more scholarships as he has done for my other friends. But lately, I've been realizing that, even though it's hard and frightening, it's the best that God could be doing with me. Suffering and hardship is not an evil to be avoided. It is an opportunity to develop character which leads to hope as Paul says.

If I had a full-ride scholarship, how different would I be? I wouldn't have to work as much, so I would less stressed out. The money I did make I would actually be able to spend on something other than college. But isn't it when I'm the most stressed that God teaches me that I am weak and He is strong? And what would I spend my money on? Things I would covet but then throw away in a couple years? How easily I would fall into the attitude that I can take care of myself. Thank you Jesus for providing eternal salvation, but while I'm still alive I can take care of myself, thank you very much.

This seemingly horrible situation of having to save basically every penny I make and looking forward to years of hard work in the future may not be so bad after all. God is teaching me that I cannot take care of myself in a very literal, present way. He is not letting me get swept up into the culture of having new gadgets and being obsessed with having new, stylish clothes. He pushes me more and more to challenge me to truly trust Him in every part of my life.

Some may ask, why God are you letting this happen to me? But faith is credited to you as righteousness. (Romans 4:22) Without hardship, it is too easy to believe that you don't need God until you're on your deathbed. If life was just peachy, I would dare to ask God: I am so sinful. Why are you not allowing suffering so that I may learn endurance and develop character? Righteousness is our goal, not ease. Therefore, I rejoice not only that I am saved for eternity, but also that my present hardships are preparing me for eternity.

I Peter 1:7

"Trials have come so that your faith- of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire- may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed."

Monday, July 20, 2009

A Good Reminder for a Philosopher

"As to why God doesn't make it demonstratively clear: are we sure that He is even interested in the kind of Theism which would be a compelled logical assent to a conclusive argument? Are we interested in it in personal matters? I demand from my friend a trust in my good faith which is certain without demonstrative proof. It wouldn't be confidence at all if he waited for rigorous proof. Hang it all, the very fairy-tales embody the truth. Othello believed in Desdemona's innocence when it was proved: but that was too late. Lear believed in Cordelia's love when it was proved: but that was too late. 'His praise is lost who stays till all commend.' The magnanimity, the generosity which will trust on a reasonable probability, is required of us."

-C.S. Lewis, in one of his letters to Sheldon Vanauken, documented in A Severe Mercy

Deciding for Eternity

Belief... sometimes it seems too hard to pin down beliefs. How do you define them? How do you describe them? How often they change from year to year, conversation to conversation, even moment to moment.

As a Philosophy major I feel a lot of pressure to know what I believe and how to defend it. Yet, with one conversation I begin to doubt and lean a new direction. A second conversation makes me sway back to where I started. Stating "I believe that the sky is blue, that the sun will rise tomorrow..." can seem so concrete. But stop and think about what that means. Beliefs are not cards you swap when you prefer hearts over diamonds. They can't be deposited and protected at a bank. If you don't have the words you can't just say, "See!"

Accepting a new belief can happen so quickly and easily. There are no papers to sign, no loans to pay back on it. They are so easy to accept or deny, a part of our everyday lives, yet the metaphysical concept can still seem so airy and foreign.

You cannot physically flash your beliefs, they are established or crushed in seconds, yet, they still determine your entire eternal destiny.

Though we seem to have an obsession with what we can see and test, the most impalpable is still the most binding.

"God is not changed one iota by who man says He is. Man's entire future, however, resides squarely upon it's shoulders." -Beth Moore, "Believing God"

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Are the Downs Worth the Ups?

He had been wont to despise emotions: girls were emotional, girls were weak, emotions- tears- were weakness. But this morning he was thinking that being a great brain in a tower, nothing but a brain, wouldn't be much fun. No excitement, no dog to love, no joy in the blue sky- no feelings at all. But feelings- feelings are emotions! He was suddenly overwhelmed by the revelation that what makes life worth living is, precisely, the emotions... But if the best of life is, in fact, emotional, then one wanted the highest, purest emotions: and that meant joy. Joy was the highest... But in the books again, great joy through love seemed always to go hand in hand with frightful pain. Still, he thought, looking out across the meadow, still, the joy would be worth the pain- if, indeed, they went together. If there were a choice- and he suspected there was- a choice between, on the one hand, the heights and depths and, on the other hand, some sort of safe, cautious middle way, he, for one, here and now chose the heights and the depths.

-Sheldon Vanauken
"A Severe Mercy"

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

With Everything!

Open our eyes
To see the things that make Your heart cry
To be the church that You would desire
Your light to be seen


Break down our pride
And all the walls we’ve built up inside
Our earthly crowns and all our desires
We lay at Your feet


Let hope rise
And darkness tremble
In Your holy light
That every eye will see
Jesus our God
Great and mighty to be praised


God of all days
Glorious in all of Your ways
Oh the majesty the wonder and grace
In the light of Your Name


With everything
With everything
We will shout for Your glory
With everything
With everything
We will shout forth Your praise


Our hearts they cry
Be glorified
Be lifted high above all names
For You our King
With everything
We will shout forth Your praise


This is one of my favorite worship songs. You should just hear it when hundreds of students at Biola sing it together. It's funny, but my favorite part is actually the part without words. At one point in the song the words are used up and everyone simply sings "Oh, oh, oh" all together. I love it as we are no longer singing about one specific thing, but with all our breath and all we are, we just sing to God.

Can you imagine what life would be like if we gave everything to God? I know I can't... I'm always wondering practically how to give everything, so I can't imagine what a life wholly dedicated would look like. Of course we have great examples of dedicated Christians. But what would our thought life be like? Would we be praying unceasingly? Would we always be praising or contemplating God? How would we deal with issues differently? Would we have a new motivation for virtue and using our time wisely to serve God? How different would we be from the culture, our friends and family? Would it be insanely easy once we gave everything, or the hardest thing ever?

Everything... it sounds too idealistic. Yet, as Christians, we look forward to this. I can't wait for the day when we stand in front of the throne of God and can do nothing else but worship! No more distractions. No more temptations. It'll be me and my Abba!

Revelation 4

1After this I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, "Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this." 2At once I was in the Spirit, and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne. 3And he who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian, and around the throne was a rainbow that had the appearance of an emerald. 4Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones were twenty-four elders, clothed in white garments, with golden crowns on their heads. 5From the throne came flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder, and before the throne were burning seven torches of fire, which are the seven spirits of God, 6and before the throne there was as it were a sea of glass, like crystal.

And around the throne, on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind: 7 the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with the face of a man, and the fourth living creature like an eagle in flight. 8And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say,

"Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty,
who was and is and is to come!"

9And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever, 10the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying,
11"Worthy are you, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they existed and were created."

One last song that I've been thinking about lately. This one is "The Motions" by Matthew West.

This might hurt
It’s not safe
But I know that I’ve gotta make a change
I don’t care
If I break
At least I’ll be feeling something
‘Cause just ok
Is not enough
Help me fight through the nothingness of life

I don’t wanna go through the motions
I don’t wanna go one more day
Without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don’t wanna spend my whole life asking
What if I had given everything?
Instead of going through the motions

No regrets
Not this time
I’m gonna let my heart defeat my mind
Let Your love
Make me whole
I think I’m finally feeling something

Take me all the way

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Miss Teacher!

Sunday night I spent a couple hours playing with sticky foam, singing "Oh Happy Day," and making elephant noises. I finally started volunteering at my church and I'm so happy to be working with the 4 year olds class. I never realized that hearing a 4 year old call me teacher and all the girls asking if they could sit by me and hold my hand could make me so happy. All that I can think is why did I not do this before?

The lesson for that night was the story of Noah and the ark. I instantly thought, "Wow, going back to the basics...who hasn't heard this story before?" But honestly, some of these kids might have been hearing about Noah for the first time. After the story, the main teacher led all of the kids in a short prayer. The sweet, innocent voices all chimed in together saying, "I love you Jesus. Thank you for taking care of me. Thank you that I can trust you. Amen!" You can't help but be moved when you hear these kids all praying. The innocence and simplicity of their prayers is precious. So many people talk about child-like faith and encourage interaction with young believers, and I'm going to chime in and agree. Studying theology and philosophy at Biola, I can get lost in the complexities of the Christian faith. Daily I have to remind myself that God is a person who wants to interact with me, not just a topic to be dissected and understood. While I am praying, "God what is predestination and how does it not contradict freewill," this child can pray, "Thank you that I can trust you." Such different prayers are heard by the same God, and I better not forget to stop and still, simply, be thankful.

The juxtaposition of incredible depth and perfect simplicity is what continues to intrigue me about the Christian faith. So even though I'm hearing the story of Noah's Ark for nth time, I can still be learning vital lessons.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Beginning Les Miserables

I have never read or watched Les Miserables, but I started reading it today. I have no idea what the story is about, but these were some interesting quotes that I wasn't expecting to find in the beginning of this book...

“I am not in this world to save my life, but to save souls.”

“Never let us fear robbers or murderers. These are external and small dangers; let us fear ourselves; prejudices are the real robbers, vices the true murderers."

“He did not study God; he was dazzled by Him.”

“Monseigneur Bienvenu was simply a man who accepted mysterious questions without scrutinizing, without disturbing them, or troubling his own mind, and who had in his soul a grave respect for the shadow.”

“Can human nature be thus utterly transformed? Can man, who is created good by God, be made bad by man? Can the soul be entirely remolded by destiny, and become evil if the destiny be evil? Can the heart be deformed, and contract incurable ugliness and infirmity under the pressure of disproportionate misfortune, like the spine beneath too low a roof? Is there not in every human soul, was there not in that Jean Valjean especially, a primary spark, a divine element, incorruptible in this world, and immortal in the other, which good can develop, fan, kindle, and cause to glisten splendidly, and which evil can never entirely extinguish?”

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A Favorite Quote...

Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art... It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that gives value to survival.
-C.S. Lewis

Bob the Builder over Daddy?

Today as I got ready and headed to work I flipped on the classic Air1 station. Scott and Kelly, the new morning show hosts, were talking and laughing with each other as usual, but then Scott read off a news article that shocked me. Studies have come out that prove that small children are beginning to make a stronger bond with cartoon characters such as Bob the Builder than with their own parents. It is becoming more and more common for young children to sit for hours in front of a T.V., either at home or in an all-day daycares, as both of their parents spend hours working and rushing around town. These impressionable, young children get most of their interaction from these cute but lifeless characters. It is now Bob who is "spending time" with our kids and teaching them lessons.

Frankly, it makes me sad to think of the new generation that is growing up, spending on average over 25 hours a week sitting, staring at a screen. I am already frustrated at times by how many hours I'm accustomed to sitting in front of a screen, staring at people I can never interact with, missing out on chances to have real human contact. Every evening now when I finally don't have homework, the classic question of "so what do you want to do" comes around. The instant assumption is, "well what movie do you want to watch?" I think of the beautiful, cool summer nights that pass as we sit once again on our couch. I think of the memories that we miss because, though we are all together, we are not actually interacting. If I am like this, coming from the background of only watching one movie a week during my childhood, what will these children who are bonding more with T.V. characters than their own parents be like when they grow up? How many opportunities for adventure and memories will be lost? How many relationships will be shallow and empty because our bonds are now with fictional characters?

Fahrenheit 451 keeps coming back to mind as movies, T.V. shows, video and computer games, and even the huge push for 3-D movies become more popular. I loved that book, but at the same time it scared me. The plot revolves around a couple, specifically the husband who is the firefighter that starts fires rather than putting them out. I haven't read it in about four years, but the image of the wife and the dynamic of that marriage is still vivid in my memory. They barely talked. She flipped on her television which was now expanded to life size characters covering 3 full walls of her living room. They were her family. All that she talked to him about was when they could get the fourth panel to complete the entertainment room. Their relationship was empty, without memories together, having no reason to interact.

I am so scared of missing out on great opportunities because I'm sitting in front of a screen instead. This is such a hard subject though because I do enjoy movies and T.V. shows. After a long day of work or hours and hours of homework, all that I want to do is relax and turn on a movie. For others, movies is their time to process. Other times, I just honestly don't know what to do with my evening and a movie is great entertainment. But at least for myself, I am going to challenge myself to enjoy those cool summer evenings with my family and friends. I'm going to get off the couch, have some fun adventures, and make amazing memories.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Tools... their favorite word.

How can I describe work?

"Just glorify us, bring honor to our name! Dishonoring us is the worst thing you can do to a man, so glorify us or we'll kill you." -Adam and Ryan

As Adam walks in the door, we are all greeted with a lovely "Hello you idiots."

We used to hear daily updates on the newest "Tool Academy" episode.

Ryan and Tereneh are arguing again on the phone, but hey, she's being emotional, right?

The Allies of the Editing Room declare a rubber band war on the Axis (the Tape Room).

Sam still hasn't asked Hannah out.

Adam and Ryan beat Ben at the Bubblespinner, but don't worry, their strategy isn't technically cheating.

Will's computer has a virus again... or maybe it's not a virus after all.

Backrubs.... oh how the boys love getting backrubs. After all, the stresses of school develop into horrible knots.

No, sorry, Jeremy still doesn't have any cash in his wallet.

"Yes Adam, you may have some of my rice crispy treat again today." -Jeremy

Countless debates have filled the rooms of the back offices. Are you a Calvinist yet? Well at least you're not Eastern Orthodox.

"If only Torrey students were Christians and actually read the Bible." -Ryan and Adam

"Lisa, who do think is spicer/more desirable? Adam or Ryan? Is there any possibility that you would date one of us?"

"How much are you making an hour again?!"

"Everyone hates me! I have no friends! My parents even hate me! I just want a friend.... why can't anyone love me?"

Adam's big oops... but sorry we can't talk about it.

"LD, please just walk me to the bathroom! I don't know where it is... please just come with me!" -Ryan

Ryan still loves classic jokes... I totally didn't see him pull that chair out as I sat down. Woops.

4 boys. 1 small room. Multiple Computers. Wrestling. Great idea, huh?

The daily hymn selection sung by our very own, Lewis Reynolds.

"The Prude vs. the Crude," the biggest reality T.V. show since "Tool Academy"!

Ryan and Lewis should be hired as dance choreographers. "P-p-p-poker face!"

"I phileo you!"

Thursday, May 14, 2009

You Won't Relent

C F G Ab G F Eb C Eb F Eb C Bb Ab F

Set me as a seal upon you heart,
as a seal upon your arm,
for love is as strong as death,
jealousy is fierce as the grave.
Its flashes are flashes of fire,
the very flame of the Lord.
Many waters cannot quench love,
neither can floods drown it.
-Song of Solomon 8:6-7

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Sticks and Stones, Love

Isn't it funny how a few words can make your whole day whereas a few mean words ruin it.

Do we realize the power we have over each other?

Idle words.
Encouraging words.
Flattering words.
Intellectual words.
Wise words.
Revealing words.
Concealing words.
Harmful words.
Accidental words.
Comforting words.
Praising words.

How do I use mine?


We don't always have to be happy. You don't always have to say, "I'm doing well, how about yourself." Emotions on both sides of the spectrum exist for a reason. I have found that I feel guilty when I'm honestly not happy. I feel that as a Christian even the fact that I'm saved, blessed with the hope of eternal paradise, should override any temporary sadness. But life is hard in so many different ways.

After reading Job and talking about it with my Torrey group, we realized that yes, Job did praise God despite his horrible circumstances. But then he goes on chapter after chapter wailing and directly asking God why this had to happen. Even David throughout the Psalms, the man after God's own heart, has times where he cries out in misery to God. But, through both examples, they understand that continual sadness is not right or healthy. God answers Job and reminds him that an Almighty God who we cannot even comprehend is in control. David always turns his mourning into praise, ending with reminders of God's promises and faithfulness.

Horrible things happen. Honest sadness, leaving you feeling hollow and pitiful, is not wrong. But at a point, the truth must inform your emotions. Healing comes. The hope of God's faithful promises and new blessings and opportunities must push us forward.

My Own Attempt at Proverbs

In class the other day we were studying Proverbs. Dr. Jensen asked us to try coming up with our own proverbs about relationships. So here were a few of mine:

A smile from a person far outweighs a smile typed out.

People need people for it is hard to laugh alone.

A child is the best reminder of joy.

If you offer a kind word to a friend in need, you will have a friend when you need.

As the body needs food, so the soul needs friends.

A man may have many riches, but if he has no friends he is still poor.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

December 14th

December 14th…I couldn’t wait for December 14th because it would be first day of Christmas break. I would be free from homework, free from work, free to have fun and enjoy life again. Yet, once that romanticized break finally arrived I didn’t feel free or happy. Emptiness was overwhelming. I could watch one more movie, spend more time with friends, spend more time talking with family, spend more time focused on pleasing myself, but this was making me feel sick and empty. I had worked all semester just so that I could reach that amazing break, but for some reason it no longer seemed amazing.

I’ve noticed that we work not for the sake of working but to reach the next break, the next weekend, the next hour when we can finally head home. We hate having to work because, honestly, it’s hard. Who wants to be exerting themselves, pushing themselves to seemingly unreachable heights when you could be hanging with friends or vegging in front of the T.V? We are not happy at work but are happy once we leave it behind and can amuse ourselves.

Amusement has been equated to happiness, but if this is true then why do I feel empty and disappointed when I finally have six weeks to amuse myself? We hate work because it takes away our happiness, but I believe that it is only through work that we are finally content. Saying no to my selfish desires to push through a difficult task may take effort, but it is only through these activities that we find the depth of living necessary for happiness. As Aristotle says, “Happiness is not found in amusement; for it would be absurd if the end were amusement, and our lifelong efforts and sufferings aimed at amusing ourselves. It seems correct to amuse ourselves so that we can do something serious, for amusement would seem to be relaxation and it is because we cannot toil continuously that we require relaxation. Relaxation, then, is not the end; for we purse it to prepare for activity.” We seem to have confused which is the end and which is the mean. Work is seen as the mean to living; a good job pays for a house, food, and extra money to spend on amusing ourselves. We do not work to make us happy but to allow us to live in our society. But amusement should be the mean to productive work, not work being the mean to amusement. If the whole point of our being is to amuse ourselves, we are empty and unsatisfied. We are cutting ourselves short of a much greater purpose, but that purpose does take effort and self-denial.

Work…taking the focus off of myself. It doesn’t sound pleasant and is something I struggle with daily. Pleasing myself is so much easier and obviously brings immediate pleasure, but an empty pleasure. I have to work to get the focus off of myself, but once I do this I can finally glorify my Creator, fulfilling who I am made to be. I am tired of being a creature who was meant for one purpose but is trying to work properly while doing something completely different, like a spoon trying to excellently cut meat instead of stirring the sauce. All that I get is worn down and discouraged that I can’t seem to cut anything.

God, I pray you will help me to humbly deny my selfishness. Help me to not get so involved in pleasing myself that I forget that I am your child. Help me to know how to act as you want. I want to please you but I seem to always be faced with the question of how. Teach me what it truly means to have you as my number one priority. –Your Daughter