Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Life, and frisbee (and the importance of making goals) - Shared Post

         Personally, I've been working a lot more on making goals in my life. An example that comes to mind is my desire to memorize part (if not someday all ) of Romans. To help me with this goal (which I struggle to practice consistently) I've been writing down in a little note book every day I practice and what I'm able to recite. Doing that has helped me see my progress, and keeps me from getting overwhelmed when I'm tempted to look at the big picture - memorizing whole chapters...

           See, goals don't have to be about doing the most you can do, the fastest you can, and doing it until you can't think to do anything else - goals can be small, consistent habits that you work on for set amounts of time. Those type of goals are the ones you will more likely achieve.

Smart Goals are:
         This post by Jeremiah Stiles on his blog, Another Otherworld,  reminded me that often if you want to enjoy something to the fullest you need to make well defined, reachable goals and take time to enjoy other things.

           It seems that if I let myself go, my goal is to write as much as I can as well as I can as fast as I can. Nonstop. Though of course I don’t really think this–but that’s the problem. I don’t think anything else either.

       And…I’m left stretching myself to the limit, and yet never being satisfied with my best efforts.
                                                          Click to read the rest of the post...

Do you like to make goals? What helps you make goals and stick to them? 

Saturday, October 12, 2013

'Taken Captive ' and Other Thoughts

Hold on. I'm about to ramble and throw lots of links. ;)

     I've been listening to The Struggle  and Empty My Hands by Tenth Avenue North a lot lately. Thinking about struggling, about failing, about... going back to old patterns I thought I could get rid of on my own...

"There's a wreckage, there's a fire,
There's a weakness in my love,
There's a hunger I can't control.
Lord I falter and I fall down,
 And I hold on to the chains you broke
When You came down and saved my soul.
Save my soul.
We are free to struggle.
We're not struggling to be free!
Your blood bought and makes us children -
 Children drop your chains and sing!"

-The Struggle

"I've got voices in my head and they are so strong.
And I'm getting sick of this, oh Lord, how long
Will I be haunted by the fear that I believe?
My hands like locks on cages
Of these dreams I can't set free.

But if I let these dreams die,
If I lay down all my wounded pride,
If I let these dreams die
Will I find that letting go lets me come alive?

 So empty my hands,
Fill up my heart,
Capture my mind with You."

-Empty My Hands

                     That last bit is really my prayer... I want my hands to be empty of the things that I don't need in my life, my heart to be full with the love and peace God can supply, and my mind - my whole self - to be captured with Jesus.  Oh for grace to trust Him more...

                    God has been showing me, over and over again that He loves me. He understands that I stumble and fall down, but He loves me anyways... Some days though, I hold on to the broken chains and cry out at their weight... He has to keep reminding me I don't have to lug them around anymore. He has set me free, and I am His handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for me to do. (Ephesians 2:10)
                   This is a quote from one of my favorite fantasy series:

                  "Although the key to the lock has been provided, they refuse to employ it, even those who verbally profess the same faith. They hold onto the chains, because a faithless life seems easier to them than the sacrificial suffering that you and every other oracle* is called to live. They even drag those chains and moan about their weight, yet they still refuse to let them go, even though they are told time and again that every lock has been rendered powerless by the Lord Christ. " - The Bones of Makaidos Page 344.

(* This word could also be written as 'Christian' in my opinion, but in the story, the person being spoken to is an Oracle. )

                 This short story called 'Taken Captive' by Hannah Rebekah on  her blog  is the reason I ended up starting this post.  It reminded me of those two songs, and all the other thoughts that have been bouncing around in my head.

              “But I’m here to free you anyway.”
             The words stop me in my tracks.  My brain freezes, unable to continue its line of thought.  A question rises to my lips, “Why?”  He pauses before he speaks again, and a look of pain is etched on his face.  He’s disappointed in me again.  I’ll never get it right.
             “Because I love you.  Don’t you understand that yet?”
             Loves me.  No, loved me.  Before I messed up again, before I ruined what we had.  There’s no way he can love me now.  And there’s no way he’ll ever pay my debt again, not after what I did to him.
              “You’re wrong,” he says simply, as if he can read my mind.
             “You can’t pay my debt this time,” I say.  “I won’t let you go through that again, not for me.”
             “I don’t have to.”
             What?  Of course he had to.  That is, if he really did want me to be free again.
             “I paid for it all last time.  I knew what you would do, and I covered that when I set you free the first time.  You are the only person keeping you here.”
                                                                                         Click to read the whole story...
Hebrews 4:14 - 16

            14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

         14 We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
            21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!
          So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.
Chapter 8
            1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering.  And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

             Ah, that word, 'Therefore'... God has delivered me through His Son, Jesus Christ, who paid for my sins and therefore there is no condemnation for those who are children of God. My chains are gone, I've been set free - my God, my Savior, has ransomed me - and like a flood His mercy reigns, unending love, amazing grace.  And, with that knowledge, may I know and follow hard after Him, and grow as His disciple in the truth.  Ah friends, strive onward, for if God is for us, who can stand against us? Nothing can separate you from the love of God, (Romans 8:31 -39) , so let go of your chains and seek to live a life of freedom in His grace. He won't test you beyond what you can bear - with Him.
~Ophelia - Marie