Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Unfortunate Word Verifications and Spammers

Word verifications. Everyone hates them. I regret to inform you all that I will be adding verifications on my blog comments. I'm so sorry. I hate to do this and I really don't want too. But, I've started getting spam in my comments, which makes me very angry. I hope this doesn't keep people from commenting. Sorry for the dreadful inconvenience.

Treasure Each Moment

This is a command to treasure each moment you have - good or bad. I'm learning that time is really a gift from the Lord to be used wisely and not abused for our own selfish reasons. I remember a time - back in the day - when I used to long desperately to be in high school. I used to think high schoolers were the bomb and I wanted to be just like, starting my last year of good ol' high school, I realize that I shouldn't have wished for the future, but just treasured the present.

I remember being in UCA classes and trying to come up with reasons I didn't do my homework. I was sick, to busy, overloaded with assignments, had family in town, had this or that going. Pathetic. All of them. I see some students in UCA right now doing the same thing. Oh, every kid goes through it. I did. And they will learn eventually. I think the underlying and most honest answer to why I didn't get stuff done like I should is because I didn't value my time. I didn't value the fact that God gave me 24 hours every day to get things done, enjoy my life and glorify Him. I didn't understand that the fool says, "there is a lion in the street". (Proverbs 26:13)

Boy, am I glad that this is a lesson the Lord taught me. Thank goodness I'm now valuing my time, doing productive things, and bringing glory to my Savior - the Maker of Time - in the process. I love the NIV translation of the popular verse Ephesians 5:15-16: "Be very careful, then, how you live--not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil."

Making the most of every opportunity. I like the way that flows. I know what "redeem" means (its the word most translations use) but the phrase in the NIV is totally my language. That is what we must do, or we will come to the end of our lives, frazzled and crying, "What happened?" Making the most of every opportunity. Can you do that today? I have a lot to learn, but when I do this - my life feels fuller and more...more worthy of living. I hate laying my head down at night feeling like I accomplished nothing and didn't even try. How much more rewarding is it to lay down tired, review your day and find that you accomplished goals, made memories and brought a smile to your Savior's face?

So, what spurred this little talk about life and time? Well, I have officially applied for college. That will get any normal teenager thinking. It makes me realize that time goes by fast and faster. It feels so surreal - it's insanity. So, since we are talking about college - which was really the point of this post before I started a rant on time management - I want to tell you WHERE I applied!


Okay, first of all, I applied to Tennessee Tech University. Believe it or not, they have a great music program. I'm so excited about that. It is the only college that I think has actually processed my application. They still haven't told me my application status, but they did give me a student I.D number that I can use to start filling out scholarship applications and stuff! YAY!    

Union University is next. I actually would LOVE going to this college. Seems like a really good place. Liberal Christian, but still...they have good music programs. :) They actually waived my application fee, which was nice. Still haven't heard from them...

 Lastly, North Greenville University. This good ol' campus is actually in Greenville, SC. I would be a long way from home, but I think my sis is going there, so I would at least have a little family around. The plus about going there is that I have LOTS of friends in South Carolina already. My sister's boyfriend lives there, so we visit relatively often. I love Greenville. Still haven't heard from these guys either. BUT, it takes a while, I guess.

So, I'm anxiously waiting to know if I'm accepted or not. AH! It's an exciting/sad/amazing/long process. It has me dreaming of moments past, dreaming of moments ahead and treasuring the moments now. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

On Men and Courtesy

Guys, take it from a girl. Courtesy is appreciated.

There is no possible way I could explain just how appreciated and LOST the art of courtesy is. Now, I'm sorry to say this, boys have the reputation of being rude and lazy. And on rare occasion do you find one that looks at your eyes when they talk to you. It really really makes me mad when guys whistle, freak out or something when they see a pretty girl - and it seems like SO MANY guys are resorting to this dreadful behavior. So, that just makes the boys that are courteous and decent all the more attractive and refreshing.

I have a friend who consistently pulls my chair our for me when I sit down. I LOVE it! Not because I feel like I deserve special treatment or anything, but because I really feel like he is going out of his way to honor me. I believe the whole concept of courtesy started in the Middle Ages, when men would heroically serve women. The Bible even recognizes that women are the weaker vessel and that men should love and honor them. This doesn't give women right to be a powder-puff that never does anything, but I think it is honorable for men to interpret it in the way they have. I guess I can't saywith evidence from the Bible that men should treat the ladies like this, but I know that it is pleasing to the Lord. Because when guys go out of their way to do something - a little favor - for girls, to show us that they are watching out for us, have our backs and are honoring us, then God is pleased. He is pleased that they are being selfless and loving the women like He would like them too.

Obviously, these are merely gernealizations. I just seriously get disgusted with the lack of...honor that some guys have towards women. And it got me thinking about courtesy. Sometimes, courtesy is uncomfrtable and hard for me to handle. If you know me, you know that I can be pretty independant and like, no, love to do things for myself. When a guy insists on taking my trey to the trash, or running out to the car for me, or giving me his seat or his jacket, or offers to hold my makes me feel uncomfortable and my first reaction is to say, "No, no! I'm fine! I like the floor...It's not heavy...I'm not cold..." And I often do say those things. But, I've been realizing more and more lately that I really need to take you guys up when you offer because yall are practicing being respectful and when I say "No" I'm discouraging you all from doing that. So, its something I have to work on too. Sometimes, its hard to be the reciever of that. Not because I don't appreicate it; beacuse I am stubborn.

Anyways, to those of you who have not let chivalry die, thank you. I appreciate it. Your efforts to make me feel special, work amazingly. A few of you have made my day.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Do You Love Me?

(This is a random thing I wrote today. Just thought I'd share.)

We pulled an empty net back into the boat. Again. We spent the whole night fishing, but we caught nothing. My dearest friends scooped the net up and tossed it back into the sea. I felt bad they were here. It was my idea to even come in the first place; they were here just to keep me company. I leaned against the railing of the boat and sighed.
     Nothing was the same since He left. I was filled with joy at the fulfillment of His mission and His promises, but I couldn’t help wishing I could talk to Him in the flesh again. We were all sad. We especially felt sad when we were together. Being together without Jesus there, teaching us and sealing something wise and profound into our brains, just didn’t feel right. Saying we missed Him would be an understatement. Yes, His Holy Spirit would always be with us, and I would always be able to speak with Him, but still…I missed my physical Jesus.
     John spoke to me quietly, “Are you okay Peter?”
     I nodded. “Yes, I’m fine. Just missing Jesus.”
     “Who isn’t?” He asked.
     I confessed, “It’s not that I feel like He is still in the grave; I know that He is alive and well and that He promised to come again. But, I believe I’ve let my faith weaken without His presence. I don’t feel strong enough without Him here – physically.”
     John encouraged. “Jesus commanded us to spread the Good News, baptize, preach, heal and prepare people for His second coming. Don’t get discouraged.”
     That was John for you; strong and practical. He was right.
     We drew the net up again – empty.
     We were just preparing to throw it back out when someone from the shore stopped us. He yelled, “Have you caught anything?”
     In my frustration, I wanted to yell back, “What does it look like” but, I refrained. Instead I said, “No, sir.”
     He replied, “Cast the net out on the right side of the boat and you will find some fish.”
     Obediently, we threw the net out on the right side. The net jerked in our hands and even with all seven of us pulling, we couldn’t get the net back in the boat because of all the fish.
     John said, “It is Jesus.”
     My heart skipped a beat. It couldn’t be. . .but only Jesus could have known there would be fish. My Jesus was here! I screamed wildly and tore off my coat. I dove head-first into the water. I could’ve waited for the boat to get to land, but I wanted to see Jesus now. The water was cold, but it only helped me swim faster. I reached the shore and scrambled to my feet. Jesus was there, smiling at my enthusiasm. He opened His arms and I fell into them. He greeted me with a kiss on the cheek and I did likewise.
     Once the others brought the boat in and greeted Jesus, we drug the nets to the shore. We caught 153 fish that day.
      It was a beautiful reunion. We hugged, kissed, laughed and talked. No one needed to ask if it really was Jesus – we knew. Our Teacher had come back to visit us.
     Presently, a fire was made and I huddled close to dry off. Jesus took bread and fish and fed us breakfast. I put my listening ears on because I knew that He would begin speaking and I would want to remember every word He said.
     Jesus looked into my eyes and pointed to the fish, “Peter, do you love Me more than these?”
     My heart jumped that He would ask such a question. “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”
     Then He looked at me with fierce love in His eyes, “Then feed My lambs.”
     He asked me again, “Peter, Son of Jonah, do you love Me?”
     Greif filled my chest. “Yes, Lord; You know that I Iove You.”
     “Tend My sheep, Peter.”
     I hoped He was finished, but when He asked the same question a third time, I was deeply grieved. I looked into His serious eyes and thought about all I had witnessed Jesus do. He helped me walk on water, He healed the sick, He gave me faith, He taught me hours on end, He told me to eat His flesh and drink His blood, He saved me, He washed my filthy feet, He commissioned me and He also predicted that I would betray Him three times. On the morning of His crucifixion, I denied that I knew Jesus three times out of my selfish fear. And I was the one that said, “I will lay down my life for You” but at the first test, I denied Him – three times. And now, He asks this question – three times.
     “Peter, do you love me?”
     I couldn’t answer because I was crying. I wished I could take all those denials back. I would! I would do it different if I had the chance.  
     He persisted. “Do you love me?”   
     I sniffed and wiped my cheek, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love you.”
     He put a hand on my shoulder and said tenderly, “I tell you the truth, when you were young, you were able to do as you liked; you dressed yourself and went wherever you wanted to go. But when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and others will dress you and take you where you don’t want to go.” He spoke of my death. I would die for Jesus one day. I would be forced to die for my King.
     “Peter,” He commanded, “Follow Me.” He said it just like He did when He called me on that first day: The day He promised to make me a fisher of men.
     “Jesus, what about John?” I wanted to know if my dearest, earthly friend would die for Jesus too.
     He spoke directly into my heart, “Peter, if John dies, or sees my second coming – why does that matter to you? You follow Me.”
     No matter what anyone else does, I will follow Jesus. I will never deny Him again. Now, Christ is my life. With Jesus Christ, you don’t commit half-way. He demanded committed disciples. He wanted to make sure that I loved Him more than my occupation as a fisherman, more than I loved my friend John, and more than I loved my own life.
     As He left, I decided to give up being a fisherman for good. I wouldn’t miss it and plus, I’ve been specially trained to be a fisher of men and now I have sheep to care for. So many people need to hear about Jesus’ saving grace and I am endlessly talking about Him. Like John once put it, the whole world couldn’t possibly contain all the stories of His glory.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Husbands, Submit. Wives, Love.

May I propose a principle of marriage that I feel like a lot of people forget. It seems to me that the number one point emphasized in the marriage realm is, "Wives, submit to your husbands. Wives, follow man's lead."

But, what about the husband?

We put a lot of emphasis on Ephesians 5:22: "Wives, submit to your husbands." But, honestly, sometimes I feel like the men get off scott free. Maybe its just me, but sometimes I feel like people in the church are so hard core "women-need-to-submit" minded that they forget to look at the man's role in the home. Yes, women need to submit. But, if a marriage isn't going well, that is not the first thing people should assume isn't happening. It is natural for a woman to submit. God placed that in our nature. We want to be pursued and we want to be lead. Yes, often submitting requires humility and can be hard, but for the most part, woman want to and will submit if their husband is leading like he should.

So, now a little word about husbands.

Ephesians 5:25 "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her."

Simply understood commandment. Summed into four words: "Husbands, love like Christ."

This should, undoubtedly, raise a really really BIG, important question. How did Christ love?  

Mark 10:44-45 "And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and give His life a ransom for many."

This verse should explain so much. This verse alleviates so much of the tension in Ephesians 5 when it says, "wives, submit." Who do you think has the harder job? I believe the men do. Really, its in women's nature to submit. God has created us to want leadership (though sometimes you may deny that). But it is in NO ONE'S nature to love unconditionally like Christ.

So why does everyone get on the wife's case to submit? Why is that the sermon always preached? Why is it that any time something happens, the church assumes the wife isn't submitting? Maybe, I am misinterpreting people, and I will be first to admit that I am, but someone please explain to me if and how I have this backwards.

The Bible says that we are equal, but yet I'm seeing a lot of women treated as lessers, even where I work. I'm not going to say that everyone is like this. I'm just seeing it more and more lately, and quite honestly, it's scary. It makes me nervous about being married one day. It makes me realize that when I marry I have to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that my husband sees me as his equal before the face of God and respects me and loves me and even SUBMITS to me.

Just like I must see him as my equal, respect him, submit to him and love him with the love of God, just like I expect Him to do for me. I guess, I'm just trying to balance the boat. Yes, wives have to submit. Yes, husbands have to love like Christ. BUT! Yes, wives have to love like Christ. Yes, husbands have to submit. 

I know that here is where it can get sticky. I believe that women must submit to men and that husbands are given authority over their wives and that it is biblical for a woman to let men make big decisions and stuff. But, that - just like anything - can be taken to an unhealthy level. If women can't do this and that, can't speak for themselves, can't make little decisions on their own, cannot spank their children or cannot handle a problem by themselves, then its at an unhealthy level. Just like if men were to serve their wives so much, that the wife never had to lift a finger...then its unhealthy.

So, all my intentions to hopefully settle some issues, really failed. But, if anyone has any opinions, I would love to hear them. I do not propose to know everything.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

"Meeting God"

Its weird how after you read, realize or notice something that it pops out everywhere. God did this for me today. I'm reading through this little book "Taking Flight" by Elisabeth Elliot. Its a little encouragement book. Well, today I read a part called, "Meeting God" and was extremely encouraged to keep reading the Bible. I just posted along the same lines (kinda, if you have a stretchy imagination) three days ago in "I Thought I Loved the Bible" What she wrote was short, so I'm going to share it here. Understand that I'm not enhancing this; all credit goes to Elliot.

"The Bible is God's message to everybody. We deceive ourselves if we claim we want to hear His voice but neglect the primary channel through which it comes. We must read His Word. We must obey it. We must live it, which means rereading it throughout our lives.

"We read that our Heavenly Father actually looks for people who will worship Him in spirit and in reality. Imagine! God is looking for worshippers! Will He always have to go to a church to find them, or might there be one here and there in an ordinary house, kneeling alone by a chair, simply adoring Him?

"When I stumble out of bed in the morning, put on a robe, and go into my study, words to not spring spontaneously to my lips - other than words like, "Lord, here I am again to talk to you. It's cold. I'm not feeling terribly spiritual." Who can go on and on like that, morning after morning, and who can bear to listen to it day after day?

"I need help in order to worship God. Nothing helps me more than the Psalms. Here we find human cries - of praise, adoration, anguish, complaint, petition. There is an immediacy, an authenticity about those cries. They speak for me to God, that is - they often say what I want to say, but for which I cannot find words.

"Surely the Holy Spirit preserved those Psalms in order that we might have paradigms of prayer and of our individual dealing with God. It is immensely comforting to find that even David, the great king, wailed about his loneliness, his enemies, his pains, his sorrows and his fears. But then he turned from them, to god in paeans of praise.

"He found expression for praise far beyond my poor powers, so I use his and am lifted out of myself, up into the heights of adoration, even though I'm still the same ordinary woman alone in the same little room.

Thank you, Elisabeth Elliot for that awesome encouragement!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Lust: An Everybody's Issue

Have you ever struggled with lust? Honestly? Be honest with yourself. Don't say, "Oh, thats not really lust..." I have. Have you ever brushed it off and acted like it was no big deal and tried to mitigate that sin before God? I have.

In Job 31, Job is trying to prove his innocence to his merciless friends when they are accusing him of sinning. He mentions lust and its shocking what he says: "If my heart has been seduced by a woman, or if I have lusted for my neighbor's wife, then let my wife belong to another man; let other men sleep with her. For lust is a shameful sin, a crime that should be punished. It is a fire that burns all the way to hell. It would wipe out everything I own." 

Uhm, the inspired Word of God says this about lust. Lust is a big deal. I think since its something I think and not verbalize or inflict on other people that its a minor sin and nothing to really worry about, but what I have forgotten and what many others have to, is that lust is a heart issue. At the root of it lies discontentment, envy, pride and distrust in God's promises. Whoa. That's a lot and I'm sure there are more.

Next time you are lusting, or tempted to, read this verse. Better yet, memorize it and quote it to yourself in the hour of need.

Why is this universally only identified as a guy problem? I know that guys have a more sex-oriented brain so its more natural for them, but because of this I think girls feel like they are stupid or something is wrong with them if they struggle with it too. I know I did. I felt like there was something wrong with me. (I can't believe I'm blogging about this.) I'm not as ashamed to tell people anymore (even though I've only told two people in the entire world - but, now it's common knowledge. heh.) because I KNOW that I am not alone. I'm not the lone girl in the world that struggles. Dude, women all over the place are struggling. Look at some magazines. Every article is about getting men to "want" you and how to "please them". That isn't lust?!?! Yes, it is. Girls, don't be ashamed. You struggle with it. I struggle with it. Men struggle with it. we struggle in different ways for sure, but the heart of the issue is the same. It could be because of our day and age, but let's not blame it on that. The fact is, we are sinners.

A definition of lust: desiring something that you cannot have (especially sexually).

You know, if you feed lust now it will never be cured? It's like it harbors and grows and grows. And you think if you feed it so it will stop bothering you, it will go away - so you do, but not only does it stay, it grows and so does it's appetite!

In light of this topic, Galatians 6:7-8 scares me. "Do not be deceived. God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to the flesh, will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life."

That's a promise from God. Do you realize that? I think it has taken that verse a while to set in with me. That's not just an everyday verse, that is a promise! God promises that if we sow to the flesh, we will reap from the flesh. What will we reap from the flesh? Galatians 5:19-21:"The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God."  

Obviously, I can't provide the answers on how to avoid this, but the Bible can. I still am searching for the answers and am trying to get past this. But I will leave you with one last verse. This, I'm sure can answer our life's problems. Lust and everything else: "But put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh to gratify it's desires." Romans 13:14
Forgive my morbid post. It's been on my mind to post about it, so I post.

My Father

Fathers let you down. Dads aren't always the #1 Dad in the World like all the Father's Day cards in Hallmark would like to suggest. In fact, a lot of them have issues. Some abandon their families, some are abusive, some have affairs and some have alcohol addictions. The list is endless.

Today, I was really encouraged in light of 2 Corinthians 6:18 "I will be a Father to you, and you shall be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty." 

Here is a passage from Galatians that speaks of our adoption into the family of God.I'm sure there are better ones out there, but honestly, I'm too tired to search. This is a good one anyways, "But when the fullness of time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore, thou art no more a servant but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ." 

When my earthly father fails me, I will remember this verse. God is my Father. My the Father. It's so cool that He has adopted me into His family. And not figuratively. He really has! And I'm not only a daughter, I'm His heir!     

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Do Something!

Remember 9/11 families that were victim to the terrorist's attack in 2001. Ten years have passed but families are still affected and our country still needs God. Pray for our nation with renewed dedication. We have fallen so far from the Lord. The United States is not a nation under God, in fact, I think we are pushing God out of our country all together.

To all the Christians out there who feel like the only thing you can do is shrink into a corner and pray for our country, I've got BIG NEWS! Praying is GREAT, but its not the only thing you can do. I believe God calls us to be involved in government. GO! Pray! Be involved! You and I can talk to Senators, citizens, write letters, hold days of prayer, raise money, educate ourselves and do radical things for our country. If we don't turn around soon, we will die.

Sorry about the depressing post. But, I feel if we (Christians) don't stop being apathetic about our government and God, there will be a lot more 9/11s.

Therefore, I Do Not Lose Heart (Ashley's Personal Pep-Talk)

"Oh no" I whine, "my world is caving in."

This is my typical complaint if life doesn't go according to Ashley's-all-knowing-perfect-plan. Yeeah.

2 Corinthians 4 was extremely encouraging today. First verse - bam! I needed to hear it. God knew just that and made me read it. " we have received mercy, we do not lose heart." 

I feel like I'm continually being discouraged, worried, annoyed, ect more than I should. This verse was so encouraging. It reminded me why I should NOT lose heart: Because I have received mercy. Man, it is so easy to complain about whats going on around me. Yeah, things are tough, but I've forgotten the most important, inspiring, uplifting, joyful, freeing, happy thing: the mercy bestowed upon me. I don't deserve this life. No, I don't. I might feel like I deserve better; like someone should drag out the red carpet for me and hold a grape cluster over my lips, but in actuality, I deserve hell. I have sinned before the Maker of the earth, the Just One, Jesus Christ, Yahweh. Sin disgusts Him and He throws it and it's slaves into hell. But, for some reason, I was spared. I was one of the filthy, sin-enslaved messes that He felt compassion on and washed white as snow.

I should not be complaining. How I'm not spending every moment singing about this awesome mercy is beyond me? How have I let that beauty be so far removed from my sight?

" I have received mercy, therefore, I do not lose heart."

Tomorrow, I'm not going to be depressed because I have received mercy. May I never forget, oh Lord.   

Saturday, September 10, 2011

I Thought I Loved the Bible

I put my strut on and brag, "Oh, yeah, I love the Bible. I read it...a lot. I mean, I really love the Bible."

I read Psalms 119 today...Let's just say that any remaining pride I possessed about "loving the Bible" is completely gone. I knew before I began to read it that I was going to need a serious attention span to get through it - and for those of you who don't know me well, I have a short span anyway. I put my hands on the Bible and prayed that God would give me attention and that I would learn.

Twenty verses. Good so far. Verses 21-99 proved a problem. I read about twenty of them twice because I realized I read them and couldn't repeat one thing they said. Around verse 100, I finally got in the groove and finished strong.

I love the Bible.


While fighting to pay attention, I actually did pick up what it David was writing about and it really shed some light on my intellectual thicket. It was about loving the Law of the Lord. Here I am, struggling along, thinking I love the Bible, while I'm reading about loving the precepts of the Lord. Lemme just say that it was a get-to-know-Ashley-and-her-pride moment.

I was astounded by the sheer passion for the Word of God. It was crazy. I was thinking, "Okay, this dude doesn't just love the Law, he is OBSESSED with it." David goes on and on for 176 verses about God's Law, precepts, testimonies, Word, and commandments. He talks about the benefits of knowing them, keeping them, and delighting in them. He says that God is merciful towards those who keep His commandments.

Here is a verse that stuck out to me: "Establish Your word to Your servant, Who is devoted to fearing You." (38) I think that sometimes I get this crazy idea that I can be God's #1 fan and #1 servant without reading His Word. I can be favored in His eyes and follow Him into the depths of despair but I don't really have to know everything about Him. What on earth would give me that idea? This verse tells me that because David is devoted to God, He wants God (and in fact, begs Him) to establish every Word in his heart. I brought this harebrained idea of mine into a earthly view and it's pretty ridiculous - people try it and well, it doesn't work. Say, I fall in love with (lets pick a general name) Kenny. I know ZIP about him. I know he loves the color purple and is obsessed with monkeys (automatic turn-off for me, btw) and really really really likes playing call of duty. I decide to marry Kenny but I don't want to learn anything else about him. I try to ask him a few questions now and then, but I get bored. So, Kenny is basically a stranger to me, but I want him to satisfy my needs.
Uhm. How ridiculous would that be? Yet, I suppose thats what I'm doing. Isn't it? How can I call it different?

 Verse 92 reads, "Unless Your law had been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction." Ouch. Most of you guys know that I've been seriously struggling in my life right now - really facing some obstacles and I kinda feel like I'm on the losing side. This was what I needed to hear. I feel depressed and stuff, but I know now that part of it (or most of it?) is because my delight is NOT in the Law of the Lord. I have become infatuated with worldly things and haven't meditated and studied the Word enough (if there is a technical "enough").

Verse 98-99: Another great passage for me in this particular time of my life. "You, through Your commandments, make me wiser than all my enemies; for they are ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers, For your testimonies are my meditation." Just dwell on that one for a while. God's commandments make me wise. Wiser than my enemies? I have a few enemies right now, I could use some wisdom - I've been looking in all the wrong places.

I could go on and on. David did. And I'm sure a preacher could preach 50 sermons off that one chapter; or a blogger blog just as many, but I'll spare you guys. The last verses I want to share are verses 131 and 161. For some reason, the zeal and imagery in these verses really struck me. Can I one day, hopefully, be like that? "I opened my mouth and panted, for I longed for Your commandments" and, "Princes persecute me without a cause, but my heart stands in awe of Your word."

In awe of His Word. 

Resolution: Meditate on His Word. Be in awe.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Introducing the Real Ashley

There are scores of people around me. Yet, I feel alone.

I have been shown plenty of love. Yet, i have no love to give.

I have been blessed in so many ways. Yet, I don't feel happy.

My prayers are being heard. Yet, I don't hear answers.

This may be a tough post to write. I honestly haven't felt this..dry in a very long time. It's scaring me. I don't really have motivation to cultivate relationships, blog, or do anything well. My bubbly flat and boring. I don't really have energy to go do anything fun. And worst of all, I feel so far away from my Lord Jesus Christ. This has been going on for a while now and I've been fighting it. I've been hot, cold, hot, cold, hot, cold....and now, I just feel plain cold. I have no fire.

What in the world?

I want to be real with everyone. So, the best way to do this might be to share a clip of my journal entry this evening. "My fire is gone. I feel like my zeal for You has been snuffed out and I can't understand why. Actually, I haven't been reading my Bible much lately. I don't even try to pray anymore. I keep asking, "God, where are You?" but the more appropriate question is, "Ashley, where are YOU?" You haven't moved. You never do. You are by my side like You have always been. So, whats with the wall between us? Did I put that there? Guess so. How foolish I am. Freedom is in glorifying You and being held in Your arms and I've pushed myself away. Why on earth have I done this? I guess these questions require some serious digging because its obviously a problem with my heart. Daddy, come get me. Take me away again." 

If you remember me, please pray. I desperately need to go back home. There are a LOT of issues going on with me and my family these days. Honestly, its a mad house. Sometimes, I feel like I can't get away. This is the time I thought I would be running to the Lord the most, but I haven't. And the result is, well, ugly blackness. I hate being around myself.

Anyways, I'll stop complaining on and on because the truth is, its really my fault.

So, I'll try to keep up blogging as best I can. If I blog, they will be lessons I'm learning. Like today. Just read a great Psalm 116 and 118. Very encouraging for a discouraged heart. They highlighted the mercies of the Lord. I really suggest reading them slowly, with feeling. Kinda made them pop for me. The first verse of 116 was seriously great for me to read.

"I love the Lord, because He has heard my voice and my supplications. Because He has inclined His ear to me, therefore I will call upon Him as long as I live."

That verse is amazing to me. The fact that I turn away from Him and push away but He still inclines His ear to me...that is a reason to rejoice. A real reason.