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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

An Open Letter

Dear fellow seminary student,

Despite what my facial expressions might convey, I can honestly say that your questions don't bother me. They are good, valid questions.

What bothers me is the arrogance and antagonism with which you ask them.

In other words, my pride is offended by your pride.

I will try to change my heart first.

Love,
Eva Joy :)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Philippians Prayer (Pacem)

God,

I trust you to take the good work that you have begun in me and to bring it to completion at the day of Christ Jesus. I ask that you would fill me with a love that abounds more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that I may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

I ask that in all circumstances, whether by life or death, your gospel would be advanced by my life. May my manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, working as one spirit and one mind with others and not being frightened by the gospel's opponents.

I submit myself to Christ's example of humility, to do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but to consider others as more significant than myself, looking not only to my own interests but also to the interests of others. Grant me the grace to obey, willing and working in me for your good pleasure as I work out my salvation in fear and trembling. I lay aside grumbling and questioning so that I may be a blameless and innocent child of God.

May I rejoice in the Lord and glory in Christ Jesus, putting no confidence in my flesh. I count all things as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord! Thank you, Lord, for being my righteousness through the power of your suffering and resurrection.

I realize I have not already obtained these things, nor am I perfect, but I commit myself to pressing on toward these goals.

Protect me from enemies of the cross as I await the day when my lowly body will be transformed to be like your glorious body. Remove my anxiety as I lay my cares before you. Grant me peace beyond my understanding to guard my heart and mind. Fix my mind on things that are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and praise-worthy. Grant me the grace to put into practice all that I have seen and learned, to be content in every circumstance, and to give generously to those who are laboring for the gospel.

To you be glory forever and ever!!

Amen.

Existential Thought Makes My Head Hurt (Pacem)

Why does anything exist? Why could there not just be nothingness for all of (non)time from its non-beginning to its continuous end? Why this ever-present being who has the power to create other things to exist with him? Why not just nothingness? I mean, if God is true, than this whole thing is true, but I guess I don't quite understand his existence in the first place. Why anything (including him) ever had to be.

And then, how did we luck out that he is a gracious, loving being? He could have been an externally-existing being who was malicious, evil, sadistic and terrifying. But he's not. Not only do we not deserve what he has done for us and not only do we not deserve to exist, but we don't even deserve for him to be who he is.

Why was he ever in the first place?

I suppose it's because he is who he is.

And an Answer (Pacem)

"Faith, having tasted the all-satisfying sweetness of the living Christ, will never forsake him for the broken cisterns of the world. There may be temporary strayings or backslidings. There may be great soul-conflict. But once the soul has truly tasted the water of life and the bread of heaven, it will never finally forsake the Lord." -John Piper, When I Don't Desire God

This
is why I can never walk away. I have tasted and I can not abandon the only source I have found for such soul-satisfying sweetness. I don't stay because of them. I stay because of Him.

Crappy (transparent) Questions (Pacem)

-Do I believe what I believe because it's the only thing I've ever been taught?
-Do I stay because I don't want to try to function in a different sub-culture?
-What if none of it is true? No one thing is a barrier to me - if any of it is true, it all is - but what if none of it is?
-Why is the church the one place where I don't feel like it's okay to ask these questions?
-Would they still love me if I didn't believe?

Desire (Pacem)

I don't want the right things. And when I do want the right things, I want them for the wrong reason.

But I want to want the right things. And I want to want them for the right reason.

I suppose that might be the first small evidence of grace.

What Do You Know? (Pacem)

There is a way to know the Bible and not know the gospel.

"You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life." -Jesus, John 5:39-40 (emphasis added)

What are my intentions in the Word? Am I merely trying to know more? Or am I looking for Christ?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Here in the Cross (Pacem)

"Here in the cross is where every enemy of joy is overcome: divine wrath, as he becomes a curse for us; real guilt, as he becomes forgiveness for us; lawbreaking, as he becomes righteousness for us; estrangement from God, as he becomes reconciliation for us; slavery to Satan, as he becomes redemption for us; bondage to sin, as he becomes liberation for us; pangs of conscience, as he becomes cleansing for us; death, as he becomes the resurrection for us; hell, as he becomes eternal life for us."
-When I Don't Desire God, John Piper

Alleluia!!!

Frame of Heart (Pacem)

"I also saw, moreover, that it was not my good frame of heart that made my righteousness better, nor yet my bad frame that made my righteousness worse, for my righteousness was Jesus Christ himself." -John Bunyan

Interestingly, I have been placed in the hermitage of St. Dominic, founder of the Dominicans (Order of Preachers) who emphasized the study of theology and doctrine. And I find that in this, the least emotionally-charged of any of my spiritual retreats, it is the truth of the doctrine of justification that most effectively lifts the burden from my troubled heart. While my purpose in coming may have been to show the intentionality of my repentance, to let the depth of my remorse stream down my cheeks and to walk away satisfied that I had appropriately acknowledged the grievance of my sin, I instead find myself deeply satisfied by the acceptance of Christ's righteousness on my behalf which covers me. For it is his blood, not my tears, that has paid my penalty. It is his suffering, not my grief, that has ransomed my soul. It is his plea before the throne, not my sorrowful eloquence, that secures my righteousness. All glory be his.

Reflection on Fasting (Pacem)

The hunger I experience serves to remind me of the stupidity of my pride, for even in my proud self-reliance I remain dependent on bread for my body to even function.

Not so for Christ! His eternal self-existence is nearly inconceivable to my mind. Not only does he sustain himself but he is also the sustaining source for all of creation. He sustains me as well as those things which I am dependent on.

How ignorant is my self-reliance! How laughable my pride! For I seek glory in my accomplishments when in reality I could not will myself to breathe if left to my own devices.

OT/ST Week 1

3 main questions that will be addressed in ST II this quarter:

1) What happened in the garden?
2) What happened in the manger?
3) What happened at the cross?

Good questions.


Also, two tidbits of information:
*The Old Testament has 23,100 verses. Exactly.
*OT verse divisions correspond to little marks on the scrolls that signified the amount of Hebrew that could be read aloud in the synagogue before a pause would be taken to translate it (usually into Aramaic). Our verse divisions still correlate directly to those marks.

Those things certainly aren't the "faith-building" aspects of class, but I think they are interesting little factoids that are fun to know.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Beatboxing

Fact: Beatboxing mesmerizes me.

I don't get it. I don't get how people do it, I don't get how they make the noises and I don't get how it sounds so. stinkin'. cool.

Someone could stand in front of me still as stone with absolutely no expression on their face and if they were beatboxing I would stare at them with a look of idiotic glee on my face.

I. Love. It.

So when people do MORE than beatbox - when they make it funny or add musical instruments - I end up totally beside myself and I write a blog post about it.

The new discovery that prompted this post:



Favorite parts: When he "adds the bass" and when he covers up the big tin and muffles the sound. Unreal.

And, if you have every played "the youtube game" with me (you know, where you and your friends sit around showing each other your favorite youtube videos and all of the sudden 5 hours has past), then you have seen this because it is always the first one I show. But for those of you who haven't, this is one of my all-time favorites:



He's a CRAZY good flute player even when he isn't beatboxing!

Monday, March 23, 2009

New Classes

Starting two new classes tonight:

Old Testament I: Covers Genesis-Ruth.

and

Systematic Theology II: Covers christology (the person and work of Christ), soteriology (the doctrine of salvation), anthropology (the nature of humanity) and hamartiology (the doctrine of sin). Still trying to get that last one to roll off my tongue. I'm not even close.


Pretty. Dang. Excited.

Nutshell

My weekend, in a nutshell:

Micah 7:8-9

Declare truth even when you don't feel truth
"Rejoice not over me, O my enemy; when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me.

Acknowledge guilt
I will bear the indignation of the Lord because I have sinned against him,

Cling to the Gospel
until he pleads my cause and executes judgment for me.

Have hope
He will bring me out to the light; I shall look upon his vindication."


The weekend sure seemed a lot longer and more frustrating than that, but that serves as a pretty good summary of the conclusion.



In other news, I leave for Virginia in the morning. I am going out to visit a dear friend who I have not seen for more than 3 consecutive hours in the last 3 years. And now we get to spend four days together! I'm excited!! She is going through terribly painful family situations and I still feel like I am fighting an hourly battle to have hope in the gospel, so if you think of us, please pray that our time together would be an encouragement to both of us. She's in grad school out there and will be in class during the day, so I am hoping to have time to post a few more reflections from the weekend during my free time. After my school work is done, of course.....

Friday, March 20, 2009

Ugh

I could have done without the last month. Or two.

I feel like the world has beat me up and left me for dead. I can't even count the number of times I have toyed with the thought of cutting all ties, moving to Colorado (or maybe Fiji??) and starting over. My spirit feels crippled beyond repair, my heart has all but withered inside of me and my entire being has plunged itself head-first into the murky pits of sinful habits that I hoped I had left far behind me. Every desperate gasp for air has only filled my lungs with more of the lifelessness with which I have surrounded myself. I am dissatisfied, angry, ashamed, resentful, scared, bitter, doubt-ridden, tired, defeated, spiteful and just. plain. broken.

So, what's a girl to do when her spirit is shattered, the foe cries in victory and "hope" sounds like a word she heard about once in a distant dream?

I'll tell you what this girl is gonna do.

I'm gonna go spend the weekend with Jesus.

I leave in the morning to go meet with him in the silence of a solitary hermitage where I plan to fast, pray, heal, sleep, repent, read and write amateur poetry until my hand goes numb. I'm taking my Bible, my journal, and maaaaaaybe one book. I plan to end my time of silence by joining in Bethlehem's worship service for my first week as a regular attender (again). (YAY!)

So what's the point of telling you all of this?

I feel compelled to ask you to pray for me this weekend.

Please.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Dilemma

I could walk away from you right now and not even care if I never see you again. That's how angry I am.

The problem is, even after you're gone, I'm still angry.

And I can't walk away from myself.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Facebook: The Longest Love/Hate Relationship I've Ever Been In

Monday, March 2, 2009

Painful Humor

My professor just defined church splits as "the Baptists' most effective form of church planting."

My reaction: "Hahahahahahaha................................................................................ouch."