Sunday, September 28, 2008

hope revealed in Joshua

One of my homework assignments for my Old Testament for Ministry class was to read through the whole book of Joshua in one sitting, taking note of the themes and challanges in the book. So yesterday I sat down with a few hours to spare and began what I imagined to be a somewhat mundane and yet surely somehow beneficial task. I wasn't even into the second chapter before I realized that this was going to be a completely different experience for me. The past year, I have soaked in some amazing lessons in Biblical Theology (oh, Goldsworthy would be proud!) and I saw my reading of Joshua deeply deeply afffected by my education.

Here are some of the things I noticed in the first 9 verses:

Right from the start, the land is life. Throughout the whole narrative of Israel's covenant with God, the Land is much more than a geographical location or a place to put her sheep out to pasture. The land was so closely tied to life. We'll see this later on in theology as the Promised Land is associated with the promise of everlasting life (check out the whole book of Hebrews).

God tells Joshua that He has given Him victory and Joshua can be strong and courageous knowing that the promises of God are being redeemed. To be strong and courageous becuase He is with him, and that means victory. But then, without even blinking, God commands Joshua to be strong and courageous being careful to obey the Law. He connects the obediance to the Law with His own very presence. And His presence with victory. And victory with the inheritance of the Land and Life. And so, Life, in a round about way, is tied to obedience. Now this may seem like something we would associate with the teachings in the Old Testament, afterall, isn't the Old Testament where God gives the law and the Israelites have to obey it or be punished? You know, the Old Testament God is the one of judgement, but Jesus comes in the New Testament and teaches love and mercy. Well, I don't think it's that simple. You see, one of my favorite prayers is the shema. It says, "Hear o Israel, the Lord our God, The Lord is One." He is One. He doesn't change between the Old and the New Testaments. And Joshua is a perfect picture of this.

The Lord brought Israel out of Egypt and told her that He would bring her into her inheritance, a promised land, flowing with milk and honey. But Israel was a far cry from the kind of people she was supposed to be. The obedience to God's law, His good and perfect Law, was replaced by grumbling, lack of faith, and pursuit of any idol that would tickle her heart. And yet, God's presence depended on her obedince to His law. Israel would never see the promised land without the Lord, and her heart refused to follow Him. Yet, God delievered on His promise. How? God knew that a leader greater than Joshua would come and would bring people into Life. Jesus (who actually shares the Hebrew name Yehoshua with Joshua) is perfectly obedient to the Law, even to the point of death of a cross. His perfection gives Him admitance into the presence of God. But it gets better. Jesus is God. Basically, all those promies of life and land are found in Him. And we have access to these now through Him. Through His blood we have union with Him and all the glory and victory of God's presence, the Land and life are ours. Awesome.

lonliness, or lack thereof

In a conversation with my dearest Chubs last night, she asked me if I was lonely. This is not an extraordinary question since our conversations since jr. high have often times been around the topic of boys and relationships. But it was the first time someone (especially someone who knows me so weel) straight out asked me if I was lonely. I couldn't answer immediately. I didn't want to assume that I was since that seems like the right answer for a lady of my age and situation. But I also didn't want to say no just because that is the seemingly more "spiritual" answer. I finally answered " I don;t think so". But it left me wondering. Am I lonely? I know I still desire to get married, I think. But if I'm not lonely, then why do I want to tie the knot? Chubs and I discussed it a little more and I think for the time being, the Lord has allowed me to desire marriage without really wanting it now. It's nice. I realize still that I may never get married and I may very well struggle with deep bouts of lonliness. But I will praise God now for the wonderful times I have right now. TImes filled with something that might almost look like contentment. What a thought.

Feliz Cumpleanos a mi Mama!


Happy birthday to my mom! We argued yesterday over what age she is turning today... I think we settled on 36 (she was really young when she had me!) In anycase, happy birthday. I wish you all the joy in the world today (oh, wait, I'm your daughter, so you already have all the joy in the world! ) I love you!

Friday, September 26, 2008

moving and craziness

I haven't had a chance to blog much recently. My life seems to have imploded. I moved today. I moved from my two bedroom apartment with Liz into a three floor house with Rita and her two kids, Nicole and Andrew. It will be a huge change, but honestly at this point, life is so hectic that I'm not sure I will even notice this change.

Work. Even though it is really busy, it's good. I realized that this job is in many ways my dream job. Sure, it's stressful and hectic, but I can handle it and I actually thrive under the pressure. I love the bilingual aspect of it. I love the fact that my boss trusts me to get the job done and she enables me to do so. I love the fact that I get to make things happen, that I have full control. Yeah, I have learned over the past few months that I am a total control freak. Really, I'm a hard core control freak. The Lord needs to deal with me.

School. Last year, I enjoyed my classes, but really found myself only interacting with maybe 60% of the material. This semester is incredible. I feel like the Lord has opened my eyes just a little more to His amazing Gospel and I am seeing its work in my life everyday as I sit in classes.

I'm sorry this blog is so dry. Someday I will get back to writing on more than just the dry details in life.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Journal

Here is a journal entry I had to do for my Human Personality class. It was supposed to be an entry on my ideas of who I am, of my anthropology, and how union with Christ might affect that.

I tend to be reflective. I tend to wonder how others are seeing me and I imagine what I might look like to the outside world. But when I am honest with myself, I think I have a better idea of how others view me than I do of who I really am. I cognitively know the theology of who I am. I am created in God’s image, fallen, chosen for faith and Life in Christ Jesus. But what does that really all mean? I don’t think that cognitive knowledge affects my true understanding of who I am. Yesterday was a bad day. It started out stressful and half way through I found myself on the verge of tears from a confrontation with a friend who hadn’t been treating me well and yesterday was the last straw. And today I wake up and feel like yesterday is miles away and yet its not and I still need to deal with the stressful situations and the confronted friend. So I woke up early to do my devotions. I know the Word of God holds life for me and yet it’s the last place I go. I read Spurgeon’s Morning devotion and was reminded of the conversation we have in Human Personality on our union with Christ. Back to who I am: I am in Christ. But once again, so what? How does that actually manifest itself in my life?
Let’s take a moment and look at Ephesians. The book opens up with blessings for those who are found in Christ. Being in Christ means receiving every spiritual blessing from above. It means being chosen to be holy and blameless before God. This is me. Whether or not I live up to the calling I have received, this is who I am. For I am in Christ. Paul goes on to tell the Ephesians that he prays for them, that they may have wisdom and deeper knowledge of Christ and the calling to which they have been called. You see, I am not the only one who is in Christ and yet doesn’t remember or live up to the calling that He has blessed us with. I am just like the Ephesians, for I am in Christ. And Paul continues in his encouragement with a reminder that the God who calls us, also empowers us. And His power is strong enough to raise Christ from the dead and seat Him at the right hand in the heavenly places. Amazing. I am in Christ.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Some thoughts from the last few days

  • Got to stretch my organizational skills with the honor of hosting the annual Fall Picnic at school. Basically I bossed people around to make picnic dinner happen for 350 people.
  • The "greek" boys (those first year seminary boys who took greek this summer) were SO helpful and blessed me immensly. I was so discouraged by the bad attitudes I encountered last year. But these boys are different. They did any job that was asked of them and were actually appreciative of my work for the school. Seminary boys who are helpful and appreciative, shocking.
  • After the picnic, I went to the afterparty and against my normal excessive social personality, I just sat and enjoyed watching others being social. I sat on the front porch with some of the guys and just listening silently. That's when I knew I was tired. :)
  • Saturday night I went to a friend's birthday party and danced like a total dork. There was no one to impress so dork dancing it was. It was a little blast from the past with a disco ball and jello shots. There's no other way to celebrate your 29th birthday, or so I've heard.
  • This was my first Sunday at church when I didn't have kid duty. I actually woke up kinda sad. I know I can't commit to those kids this semester since my schedule is too crazy, but man, those 3 year old stole my heart and gave me so much joy every Sunday morning.
  • My heart... anything to share? Nope. I am stuck somewhere between wanting to hope and being too busy to notice where I am. It does seem like the winds are changing. Maybe there is a storm coming, maybe not. I wish I could say that I am cleaving to the Lord right now, but I'm not. I'm fine, but I'm not allowing the Gospel to penetrate the deepest parts of my heart and I fear a storm will tear me apart without that anchor of Jesus Christ. Whoa, went a little too deep there for a "some thoughts" kind of blog. Sorry, I'll get back to mundane shallowness.
  • I will say this, last semester was way too intense and I have a feeling this semester will be a breeze after the craziness of the Spring. All that said, I'm really looking forward to some of these classes. Apologetics, Church History, Mission Anthropology, Human Personality, and Old Testament for Ministry. Coolness.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

It's gonna be an ADD day

Today is the first day of school. In fact, for all I know this might be my last first day of school. Even though I have spent the majority of the last month around campus, I haven't seen most of my schoolmates since May. And being a ridiculously social person, I can't believe I get to see so many people in one day! I tried to sit with a friend for a few minutes to catch up and couldn't help my wandering eyes searching the room for familiar faces. And of course I saw them and they saw me and the few minutes were spent talking to them and then talking to the next them and then the next them. It will be an ADD day.
It reminds me of my high school days when I would decide that I would be shy. There in the car, on the way to school, all on my own, I would decide that being outgoing was not for me, and from that moment on I would be shy. Like you can decide that kind of thing. I would arrive at school and no kidding, the shy Becka would last about 30 seconds. Well, at least the 25 seconds it took to walk from my car to my locker. Sad, eh? I wanted so badly to be shy. The good Lord made me outgoing and I guess if I have a problem with that, I need to take it up with Him. For today, I will enjoy the rush of getting to see friends and if that means I'm a little ADD today, so be it.