Monday, November 24, 2008

In Christ

Yesterday, Sunday, I went to Sunday school (and church) as I am prone to do every Sunday. It was the beginning of new sections so I needed to choose a new class to attend. The one I had been going to, one on archaeology and the old testament, was great. But, in all honesty, I don't think I got much sustenance for my spiritual hunger.

The new class I'm in is for beginners and those who want to brush up on things. I am not a beginner; I have been a "real" Christian for nearly nine years now. The reason I decided to take this class is because when I was in Korea, I didn't get to attend church (or Sunday school) because of the churches in my area not having any English services. There was one church about 15-20 minutes away that had an English translation, but half the time you couldn't understand it very well and I wasn't getting fed.

So, I joined this class, which is led by the pastor of my church hoping to get back in the swing of things. So far there were four other people besides me and the pastor. He asked us all to write down what we'd like to do in the class, whether it was a topic or a book in the Bible - anything. By having us do this, he said he can gear the class more to what we're looking for. He also said that if others join who are new to the church he'd readjust things - which was fine by all of us.

One of the other class members said she was interested in becoming more diligent in her Bible reading and prayer life...the rest of us also seemed to want to improve in this area too. The same woman said she was also interested in memorizing more scripture. I think the pastor will give us verses to memorize weekly as well...but that might only be if we want to. He's not going to force it down our throats or anything like that, though I have a feeling he would really encourage us to memorize. I think it's a good thing to do, so I'm going to do my best with it.

For yesterday's class, he had us take turns reading the book of Ephesians out loud. This was just a starting point. He likes to give "titles" to the books of the Bible, and for this one he chose, "In Christ." He said that most times Christians will say that Christ is in us - which is true; however, they often forget that we are in Christ as well. I had mentioned something at one point about feeling inadequate after reading Ephesians - like there was so much that we have to do as Christians (or not do as the case may be). I said we aren't perfect; he said we are if we are in Christ. I had said something about only Jesus was perfect. Anyway, his point was that if we are in Christ, we are holy. If we are in Christ, our sins are blotted away and we are perfect. I understood what he meant, and I think he understood what I meant. I'm just having a little difficulty in relating the conversation into words. It was all good though.

Also, he talked a little about knowing when a situation is a spiritual battle. There were a couple of "hints" that he said can help us clue in. The first one is that we can't stop thinking about it and that it almost hurts us to the core. The barbs sink in and we can't let go; we can't seem to get rid of it. The other "hint" is that often times Satan will hit us with situations in which we struggle. For example, if you struggle with forgiveness, we will be confronted with situations where we need to forgive. Again, I'm not doing his explanations justice. I'm going to have to learn to write these things down, or blog about it the same day so that I might be able to explain things better. I really do apologize for not being very clear in this.

Anyway, I do want to let you know - and praise the Lord - that after that class I felt fed. I walked away feeling like I was getting back into the swing of things, like everything is going to be fine. I guess I've taken the first step in getting back into a life of prayer and Bible reading. I felt better spiritually after that class than I have in a long time! Isn't that great? I'm going to have to let the pastor know about that. I'm sure he'll be happy about that for me.

I also decided that this week I am going to read through Ephesians - one chapter per day and see what I can glean from it and maybe have something to share with the class next week. Our assignment this week was to go through the first 14 or 15 verses in chapter one and underline all the "in Christ's" that we can find. I've done this for all six chapters, just because that's what I wanted to do. Maybe I'll be able to come up with some thoughts or questions or things God has taught me through my readings this week, and share them with the class.

Well, it's getting a little late now and I've got school tomorrow. I'm feeling tired as well, so hopefully it won't take me too long to fall asleep tonight. Have to do some praying before I do fall asleep though. Anyway, I'm excited that I seem to be getting back into the swing of things again. It's been a long time coming, so I hope that I can continue and improve my walk again!

Have a Christ-filled day, and may God bless and protect you all!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Winter

Winter has hit. On Wednesday we got some snow. It started with rain and some snow mixed in, but didn't accumulate on the roads, driveways, sidewalks, etc. It did stay on the grass though. It was also windy and quite cold, but it didn't seem too bad throughout the day though. At least in my area. Closer to Nova Scotia (or even in Nova Scotia) it was much worse, and one highway was hit so bad hundreds of cars had to pull over to the side and wait out the storm. A friend of mine had to do this - she was half an hour from her fiance's house from 5:00pm until around 1:00 or 1:30am. Thankfully, she is safe.


By Thursday morning, the snow had stopped. Like I said, we didn't get a whole lot where I live. We've got someone coming to plow out the driveway, which will be a great help. They didn't show up on Thursday, probably because there wasn't that much snow to plow. It did, however, freeze some and there was a little ice on the driveway. The snow that is there is packed down now, but apparently next week it's supposed to be a little milder, so hopefully that will melt.


I shovelled the front walkway for my mom before getting ready for my Thursday morning classes. When I had awaken, my back was a little stiff and sore - kind of like the way it was prior to going to South Korea last summer, only not nearly as painful (nowhere near as painful, actually). But, when I finished the shovelling, my back was a little stiffer. I had to use the computer downstairs to print an article critique off for one of my classes, and after I got up from that my back was out. It's been a little painful since then, though it hasn't been excruciating as it was last year. For that, I am thankful.


I got a new camera this week, a Pentax K200. I'm still learning about it and trying to figure things out - settings and whatnot. This afternoon, I went outside to take a few test pictures to see how they would turn out. The above two pictures are from that session. The above one is the backyard, and it shows the snow we got the other day. We're supposed to get several more centimeters of snow tonight as well...but I digress.

The picutre of the shovel is the one I used when I hurt my back. I love the colouring this camera is showing. Neither of these pictures were doctored up in any way, so the blue is what showed up after I uploaded the pics from my camera. I think I am going to enjoy this new camera!

In other news, please pray for one of my good friends. She's going through a very difficult time right now and could use them. I don't want to give the details because they aren't mine to give. I will say that it is a serious situation, and she definitely needs prayer.


I will end for now, and hope that you have a wonderfully, Christ-filled weekend! God bless!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Through The Clouds

Yesterday afternoon we had a little mixed bag of precipitation, though it was mostly rain. For several minutes there was some sleet mixed in, but it was nothing too bad.

I looked out the window to see if there were storm clouds or rain clouds. Most of the sky had dark grey clouds and lit looked like there might be heavy rain or some snow. However, in the middle of the clouds was a patch of blue sky, the sun shining through and illuminating the clouds around the blue.

When I saw this, what came to mind was that during our dark times, there is Light that breaks through and shines - even if it's only a small patch. When we feel like our life is dreary and things aren't going so great, the Lord is with us and ready to shine through to give us hope. We just need to let Him.

It seems to me that when things seem to be going wrong, when times are rough we often focus on those things and don't always pay attention to the Lord's Light - at least I know I am guilty of this. What I focused on when I looked out the window was that small, bright patch of blue with the glowing sun reflecting on the white clouds around it (not the dark ones). I didn't focus much on the dark, dreary clouds that would bring rain or snow.

In my life, I need to remember to focus on the Light (Jesus) and let it shine rather than dwelling on the stormy situations.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Still Struggling

The days have been getting a little colder now. I'm ok with that, basically because I have no control over it. However, I must say that I do need to take my winter coat out and give it a wash (or dryclean - must check the label about cleaning methods for it first) so I can begin wearing it.

Not much has been happening around here lately, other than school work. I've gotten marks back from three presentations so far - an A+ and two A's. These were all group presentations by the way, so we all got the same mark. I had another group presentation last Thursday for the science class, but I don't think it went quite as well as the first one we had done.

My walk with the Lord is about the same, though there are brief moments when I can feel a little closer to Him. I had a good (somewhat) cry the other night and I told God a little of what I was feeling and confessed that I didn't feel close to Him; that is my own fault though and I know it and told Him that. I know I neeed to make changes in certain areas in my life, and I confessed that too. Anyway, the tears stopped and I felt a little less upset.

I have been trying to improve my prayer life, though it's still not the best. Mostly I will just pray little things throughout the day and then pray for a little more time at night. These prayers, also, are generalized with some specifics thrown in. It's also when I tend to ask God to direct my path and guide me...and help me to "be a better Christian" than what I have been lately.

There are so many areas in my life lately that I feel I need to change - little things and big things. I struggle to get the motivation, or if I do get motivatioin, to keep at it. I sense a lot of fear lately, so I'm sure that is what is also keeping me back. I do feel like I'm going through a growing period and changes are taking place...but still, in all honesty, I am struggling with my walk.

No one ever said the Christian walk would be easy, but I know that if I don't do something soon (or now), then I will find myself drifting further and further away from the Lord. The good thing is, though, that the Lord is always with me - even if I don't feel it. He's here, waiting for me to talk to Him and seek His guidance.

I still believe in Jesus, that He died on the cross and rose again three days later. I still believe that He is the way to Heaven, that He is the Son of God. I haven't lost my beliefs or anything like that - I'm just struggling with me.

Well, I had better get back to doing some school work. I'll try to keep everyone updated on how things are going - well if anyone is left reading this. Hope you have a great day!