Wednesday, September 26, 2007

What I've been hearing/seeing/reading... More on Beth Moore and my studies

I told you yesterday I'd write up on my favorites of the ten I listed. As you've probably read in my last few posts I'm struggling with who to call "friends." I'm at a crossroads in my life where I'm changing and the people around me are staying the same. I like what Emily said about friends and the age we're at now, "It's so weird that people our age can be in such different places in live: single and loving it, single and lonely, engaged, married, married with children, divorced, divorced with children, homeowners... I know exactly what you mean. " I agree with her totally. We are at an age where we're surrounded my people who are after different things. It's not like high school where you'll all just in high school, waiting to graduate and go to college or find a job.

So this "Ten Characteristics of the Crucified Life" stuck out with me. All of them did, but a select four really hit me with the things I'm struggling with at the moment.

1. Few will understand.

Few understand anyways but it is becoming harder by the days. I want certain things out of life, church, etc so I'm putting my best foot forward and doing them. But the people I once called "friends" (and still do to a point even though we barely talk) can't understand my motivations for doing certain things. I'm the same fun-loving, optimistic person I always was, I have just turned my focus away from them and turned it on God. I feel they don't care enough about what I'm trying to accomplish because they're immature and selfish. I'm moving on with life. People can jump on the train with me or get off.

3. Your intimate spiritual companions will be few.

This pretty much goes along with number 1. It's happening all around me, it's inevitable. I feel I've always been on a different road than most of the people around me but I've been a little more tolerant of behaviors, until recently. I've felt I've been on a different road because I did things differently with my life than most of the people around me. I went away to school for four years, that made me grow up. I'm not saying I'm better than these people for going away, I'm better for me. I see things differently now because of the decisions I made earlier in life. I'm fortunate enough to have parents who love me and were financially able to pay for me to go away to school, I know there are people who aren't. But this and other things have put me on a different life path. I feel I truly see what is important in life. I'm not so much focued on myself now. I am looking out for others who want and need a change in their lives.

4. Intense times of aloneness with God are required.

I know the only way to truly worship God and know Him more is the quiet time I spend with Him daily. I've gotten into a routine with that. I come home from doing whatever between 8 and 8:30 and have my quiet time for almost an hour. It really depends on what I'm reading and writing. The Beth Moore stuff I'm doing takes about an hour, other studies don't take as long. I hear people all the time saying, "I just don't have time to do those studies." My answer now is yes you do, you just choose not to. You have to be disciplined. Leave your friends, you see them all the time anyways and go home. Sit at a desk or somewhere where you aren't laying down and you have the possibility of falling asleep. I tried that excuse too, but now I see it as that, an excuse. Yes, some days and weeks are busier than others, stuff happens, stuff comes up, but don't get down on yourself, pick back up when it slows down.

5. You will be constantly on the witness stand.

I don't like being on trial for what I believe. I believe what I believe. If some don't like it, it's not my problem. I'm not going to let people get me down. I'm going to stand firm in my beliefs and do my best. I'm going to study and pray and watch my speech and actions all the time because I know people are ALWAYS watching. That's how I view it anyways. I've made an effort to do these things because I know they are important in my growth.

So there are my select few that are with me right now. Can you relate to any of these items, listed here or in yesterday's blog? Let me know if you need further explanation, I can at least tell you what Beth Moore says on the topics.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Tuesdays Study

1. Few will understand
2. You must abandon your own will and your own agenda.
3. Your intimate spiritual companions will be few.
4. Intense times of aloneness with God are required.
5. You will constantly on the witness stand.
6. You must go "outside the camp."
7. There will be times when your dignity is forfeited.
8. You must forego your rights.
9. You must accept that death is painful.
10. Because He was forsaken, you never will be.

These are what Beth Moore calls, Ten Characteristics of the Crucified Life.

I've joined a women's bible study at church and we're studying Beth Moore's, Living Beyond Yourself. It's simply amazing. Those are the best words I can use to describe it. We've only had one class (second session tomorrow) and one week of homework. Women in there said it would change our lives, we would be different, better, closer to God than we've ever felt. It's amazing to me that I can feel a change already. I do feel closer to Him. It's hard to explain but I do feel different. And the funny thing is, it has only been one week. How can it happen so quickly? I'm so excited about pursuing God more than ever. I want to be in His word everyday. I love it! I've never felt so good before.
The ten items that I have listed were a part of homework in week one. There are small paragraphs explaining what each item meant. 1,3,4 and 5 were my favorites. Below I've listed the ones I like and what the book says about each thing. Tomorrow I'll write about why these four stick out in my mind at this time in my life.
1. Few will understand..."If you seriously decide to live a life crucified to self and alive in Christ, you will discover that few will understand. More importantly, those who misunderstand will most likely be the ones you have to relate to the most. Galatians 2:20 describes a radical change that many find confrontational."
3. Your intimate spiritual companions will be few..."I am not suggesting or encouraging spiritual elitism; nothing could be further from God's will. I am, however, suggesting that there may be few who choose to walk this same road with you. Those with whom you can pray deeply and agonize spiritually are unique, indeed! Be thankful for them!"
4. Intense times of aloneness with God are required..."Not even your intimate spiritual companions are invited to attend some meetings with God! He reserves the right to meet with you One-on-one. The best preparation you will ever receive for your most agonizing trials will be when you are the only student attending class. In the midst of your deepest difficulties, have you ever looked around and thought, Where is everybody? Sometimes God reserves the right to withhold others and to pull you aside with Him so that you can experience what David in 1 Samuel 30:6; "David found strength in the Lord his God."
5. You will constantly be on the witness stand..."Matthew describes Jesus' trial. Peter challenges us to be prepared to give an answer. There will never be a time when we are not subject to the observation of others. We will be held under the strictest scrutiny of the non-believers and believers alike, continually called to the witness stand."

Until tomorrow,