Friday, July 27, 2012

Promises that Soar

Hello my friends!

I'm just finishing up a wonderful week at the Montrose Christian Writer's Conference after an extraordinary week at the Lamplighter Guild for Creative Arts. My heart is overflowing. I have so much to say, but so little time to write about it! You can read my post on the Lamplighter Guild Blog here. If you look around the blog, you can also find posts from other students throughout the week, as well as beautiful pictures of our time there.

Hopefully once I get home I'll get to share with you some of the exciting things that have been happening in my life! But for now, I wanted to share with you a piece I submitted on the theme of the writer's conference, "Eagles' Wings."

How many times have I settled for less?

I contented myself with sleepless nights on a lumpy bed of responsibilities and cares. You promised me rest for my soul.

I've spent my time arguing with a world that likes to turn every reasonable thing upside-down, and all it ever gets me is frustrated! You promised me peace.

I made do with a calendar chock full of events and to-do's and worries. You promised me a future and a hope.

I've hoarded stuff that doesn't last, like tattered green dollars, earrings that turn my skin green, expensive clothes that get ruined when I forget to heed the "dry clean only" label, and, yes, even my precious shoe collection. ;) Suddenly, your "glorious riches" are sounding better and better. You promised you'd use them to provide all my needs!

I'm living in fear of a wolf in sheep's clothing that shoots fiery arrows and prowls like a roaring lion trying to eat me for dinner. How silly--I could be flying above his head, taunting him like a child! You promised me eagles' wings!

Your promises hover round me, waiting to douse me with blessings like a warm, heavy rain. But promises usually have a condition. It's not a catch, or a cheap bargain, or a gimmick, or a bribe. It's just a step of faith; a gift I can't have until I open the package.

Come to me . . . And you will find rest.
Listen to me . . . I'll give you peace.
Seek me . . . And your future will be secure.
Loosen your grasp on the world . . . I'll meet your needs.

Wait on me, my child . . . And I will help you soar through this life--on Eagles' Wings!

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Name is Blonde . . .

The name is Blonde. Joy Blonde.

I have a secret. Since I was a kid, I've always been enthralled by detectives, spies, mystery, clever disguises, and undercover agent work.  So it was only fitting that when I was still just a child, I joined he ranks of the world's premiere undercover agency.

Nah, you wont find me in a spy kids movie, but you never know  in what kind of disguise I will show up next.  Since my initiation into the agency, I've worked in subtle disguises, such as a nerdy college student, an aspiring playwright, and a young technical writer. I've also assumed preposterous identities like that of an actress in the role of a first century woman and even a ridiculous juggling clown! (at least, I was  *trying* to juggle...)

I've infiltrated public schools with the subtle ideologies and behaviors of my agency. I've even swayed the opinions of college professors through stealthy conversation. The list goes on.

Why am I revealing this to you? Won't my cover be blown?
Nah.  Occasionally, a target finds out who I am, and even gets a hint as to my mission. But the cool thing is, it's ok. My clever disguises just have to get me in the door. One I'm there, my commissioner and I can take care of the rest.

I never know what to expect on these missions. Never can tell who I'll meet. But there's never a dull moment. Sometimes I find out about a mission months in advance. Sometimes, it's a last minute decision...a cry for help that brings me running onto the scene.

I am an Agent of heaven, commissioned by Jesus Christ. As of this point, I'm cleverly disguised as a college student.  My cover gives me access to locked classrooms and lecture halls, opens doors of distinguished professors' offices, and gives me a fantastic accessibility to thousands of hurting, needy young adults.

I have a few allies here and there, and I'm always thrilled to meet another. But for the most part, it's lonely, dangerous work, and if I didn't have complete faith in my commissioner, I'd be long gone from this business. But I love what I do, and I love the One for whom I do it. If it was easy, I wouldn't need all this special training, not to mention the disguises and social skills.

Oh, I almost forgot!

I'm writing this because we are in need of more agents. Desperately. The missions are abundant, but the agents are few. This is not a job for the faint of heart, but the rewards outweigh the difficulties by far. Oh, and by the way, just because you know the Commissioner doesn't mean you're his agent. This isn't a sissy desk job (not that desk jobs are sissy...I had one for a while!), it's a get-off-your-rear-and-change-the-world kind of job!

Don't worry about transportation...once you're on board, your commissioner will place you exactly where you need to be. (Although I'm still hoping he'll assign me to an imperial blue Camero!)

If you get bored, it's only because you haven't asked for a mission recently. Buck up and ask Him! You'll be in for the ride of your life before you can say Zerubbabel. ;)

I could go on, but I'll sum it all up by saying, I know for a fact, it's a choice you won't regret. Talk to the Commissioner, Jesus Christ, about it today. Call up Matthew 28:19 for more information from the Great Commissioner himself! Yes, my friends, act now, and Y-O-U could be a secret undercover agent, just like M-E!

No purchase necessary, sunglasses not included.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Secrets to Success, Happiness, and all that good stuff...

This really doesn't need any of my words to go with it. It's simple, to the point, and essentially step-by-step common sense for how to live a life that pleases the Lord as a "living sacrifice" (from earlier in Romans 12). It's also a pretty incredible list of how to succeed way possible! (or at least in everything that's WORTH succeeding in!) I posted it because I read it recently and was thinking how cool it would be if we as Christians actually made it a point to live like this. It is, after all, our calling! ...Not just to believe in Christ, but to know become like be his hands and feet. Please remember though, the key is not to try harder and do better; it is to live by the Spirit. (Galatians 5) He is ultimately the one who gives us the power to do his will! God bless, my friends.

Love must be sincere.

Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.

Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.

Honor one another above yourselves.

Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

Share with God's people who are in need.

Practice hospitality.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.

Live in harmony with one another.

Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.

Do not be conceited.

Do not repay anyone evil for evil.

Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody.

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord.

On the contrary: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head."

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Romans 12:9-21 (NIV)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Love Talks: Lonely Hearts and a Relentless Love

I just came across this entry in my journal from a couple months ago, and was amazed how God used something I wrote back then to encourage me now

I hope and pray this will touch someone out there like it touched me tonight. You have a Father who loves you with an undying, relentless love. Run to him!

Bring my thoughts back to you, oh God.
Recapture my affection tenderly with your love.
Let the healing touch of your embrace cause safety and belonging
to flood my feelings and crowd out the loneliness I battle.
Fight for me.
Show me the trophies you have already won.
Give me more of you.
Don't let me sit around in confusion, trying to discern your will--
take my hand and lead me to to wonders
that steal my breath and make my heart race.
Unleash the torrential rain of your grace.
Heal me.
Let me see you, smell you, drink you in.
I want to know you.

Friday, April 6, 2012

On Good Friday and a Song the World Knows

I woke up this morning to a sudden awareness.

It’s Good Friday.

I struggled to push the cobwebs from my brain and remember.  Remnants of dreams filtered through memories of yesterday’s activities like the sunlight pouring through my half-shaded window. An abrupt realization grabbed my focus and spun me around to face it. Tonight, I would be standing in front of thousands of teenagers, and I—together with some of the most stellar Bible students in the state—would help give a demonstration of Bible Quizzing at the NYS Youth Convention.  A stray thought buzzed through my brain. I wonder how I should fix my hair?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

What's Important? – The Evolution of a Question

It may sound like a simple question. You've probably heard it many times before.  But if you get it wrong, you end up with a mess. Take our kitchen cupboard for example:

Mom tried to organize one of the cupboards in our kitchen. I say tried, because I have a feeling it won't stay that way for long. Actually, I already messed it up. You see, she made it nice and neat, but some of the important stuff ended up in the back, where it's hard to reach. I went to get out the Nestlé’s Quik to make some chocolate milk and, I knocked over a bunch of stuff in the process. Oops!  

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Why adults shouldn't text. XP

i wz gonna do this n txt tlk but i wnt bc i dnt wnt 2 get all the non-txt ppl 2 cnfuzd. lol.

I’ll stick to plain English for now.

Please don’t take this the wrong way, adults. After all, I guess I’m not a teenager anymore so technically, I’m in your camp now!  But I kinda feel like adults can take everything way too seriously. That makes texting dangerous. One little slip of the thumb and you’re in the doghouse with someone forever!  

Now, I know there are lots of adults I know who text more than teens do. The problem comes when you get the “less texty” adults trying to text the “text literate” adults. Then it gets messy.

Monday, February 20, 2012

I'm Back! (Back to the Basics, that is!)

Hey everyone, I've missed you! I'll spare you the "crazy life" excuses for not having written much lately and instead jump right into my message! :)

Have you ever felt like you've fallen into a lull? Like you just don't have a purpose or ambition in life anymore? Like there are dozens of paths spreading out before you, but you don't know which one to take? Or perhaps that there's one very clear path, but you no longer have a desire to walk it?

Yeah, I've felt like that before too. So, here's something that's helped me out when I feel like a mouse stuck in the bottom of a garbage can, or like a sloth sleeping in a dead tree, or--well, you get the idea. 

Psalm 19:7 says "The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul."

Wow! You mean there's actually an antidote for that comatose, walking-around-like-a-zombie feeling I get sometimes?  Yep. God's given us his law, meaning the Bible, to revive our soul. But that's not ALL it does! Side effects may include: 
-Making wise the simple
-Giving joy to the heart
-Giving light to the eyes
and much, much more! 
Please consult your Great Physician before applying. See Psalm 19 and 119 for more details.

Here's the thing: David (the writer of Psalm 19) sounds to me like he just went through some pretty nasty stuff (check out Psalm 17!). But then God delivered him, as we can see from Psalm 18, and Psalm 19 makes me think he's just gotten totally re-inspired and re-wired for going back out there and doing God's will! He looks up at the sky and says, "Woah. The God that made all that totally just saved little old me! He must really care about me." And then I think he dove headfirst into God's law to read more about what God was like! After a refreshing bath in the total truth of God's word, he was ready to go! The second half of Psalm 19 is like David saying, "Dude! This stuff is powerful! It does everything! You've got to try some." 

God's word revived David's soul. He was so fired up that he was afraid he might make a mistake. He begged God to "Forgive my hidden faults" and "Keep your servant also from willful sins."  He certainly doesn't want to end up getting stuck in a quagmire of sin and guilt or return to a place of despondency and despair!

After seeing how powerful God is through his creation and learning of his righteousness and love through the Word of God, he announces his battle plan:
"May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer." (Psalm 19:14)  He was ready to do God's will in all things, at all times. But he wasn't doing it on his own. 

So let's review:

David looked up to the sky and pondered the greatness of God. When was the last time you were floored by the awesomeness of God?  If you don't remember, it's time to take a nice long ponder about life. Try this for starters:

Then David looked into God's Word to learn more about the Lord and his incredible plans for us. God's word really does revive the soul, give joy to the heart, and give light to the eyes! But don't take my word for it--take God's word for it!. 

Finally, he looked forward to the incredible journey God had waiting for him, and committed to going all out. 

I've decided to join with David and say, "God, I don't know what's coming next, but whatever it is, I want ME to be totally pleasing and honoring to YOU in how I handle it. Show me what you want me to do--with your strength as my foundation, and your forgiveness as my inspiration. I am yours--TOTALLY and completely.  Let's go do something earth-shattering."

Please join me as I go back to the basics--the thing on which I base my life, God's law (aka the Bible)--and let His Words revive my soul and give me a new fire for life! Let's go!