Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Paper Heart….

If we were to have a paper heart, we’d have to write what it is on it somehow. These days, if you had a paper heart given you by someone, it is a token of love. But if you think of all the heart is, it wouldn’t seem so lovely. I’m not talking about the human organ that keeps you alive every second of the day. I’m talking about the biblical heart.

My Bible has a full page stocked full of verses that tell you about the human heart. It’s so complex, but we’re not starting with the physical elements—that’s too complex for me. If you just try to call to mind some scriptures about the heart, for me, its mostly, “the heart is deceptive,” “it’s not what goes into your mouth that defiles, but what comes out of the mouth. For what comes out is from the heart,” and things such as that.

Yeah, the Bible says the heart is proud, foolish, deceitful, rebellious, perverse, evil, wicked, callous, malicious, and so many more depressing adjectives. It's many times hardened, darkened, deluded, unrepentant, unbelieving, prone to wandering and devoting itself to idols. It’s often filled with evil schemes and madness, and very far from God. Well, that’s the human heart at the beginning of it’s life. Not very impressive? You hear Jesus Christ changes everything, right?

BUT. The Bible also gives what the regenerate heart does. It cries out for God, seeks Him, responds to Him, trusts Him, and loves Him. It praises, sings to, rejoices in, is grateful to, and obeys God. It hides in itself and meditates on the words spoken to it by the One who loves and made it. It’s on fire for Him. It’s upright, truthful, steadfast, pure, wise, sincere, courageous, contrite, blameless and loving.

But, like Jacob, it still holds to it’s past many times. It can be as faithful as the Israelite forefathers, but it can be as cowardice and tormented and broken as Pharaoh’s during the exodus. It can be as courageous as Joshua’s, or it can be as deceitful and anguished as Judas Iscariot’s. It can be as glad and singing as Miriam’s when they crossed the Red Sea, or it can be as depressed and selfish as Korah’s when he confronted Moses and Aaron. It can remind others of the compassion of Christ, or the cruelty of the murderous Herod.

The contrast isn’t evolved, it is created. It is tested, influenced, directed, opened, touched, cleansed, written on, strengthened, and completely changed. In all these, God brings out the better of the person possessing it. It’s a slow process, and it takes a lot of change, a lot of work—a lot of surrendering.

So… maybe I’ll reject my idea of writing all the qualities of the human heart on my paper heart… it might burst.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Helper’s Log, Day 155

Sunday, March 13th--Acacia Community Church

Helper's Log, day 155

Today, I was in charge of little kids' church, as usual. Maama Betty took over Dawn and David's class, so they helped me. I was glad of the company--I nearly fell asleep on little Hannah's shoulder and the kids were rowdier than usual. I taught the story of Jesus healing a blind man and defending him. After, I always let the kids color. But David decided he wanted to color. And this lead to an interesting line of conversation...

"Do you think Jesus had lots of dirt under His fingernails?" David popped his head up from his paper and waved a brown crayon as he looked at me and Dawn over the heads of the kids.
"Uhhh... I doubt He had fingernail scrubbers," I glanced up from exalting a scribbled piece of paper.
"And I bet He smelled like a MAN," He nodded his head and leaned back down.
"What?"
"I bet He NEVER wore deodorant."
"Um, considering they didn't HAVE deodorant... no."
"I'm never gonna wear deodorant again. I," he exclaimed, "wanna be like Christ!"
"Uh... I don't think you need to follow His example THAT closely... hahaha," I snickered to myself and looked back at the little girl shoving her colored paper in my face.
"Well, I'm gonna be a carpenter," his sarcastic tone told me he was still teasing me.
"I got nothing against that."
"Jesus was a carpenter."
"Uh-huh."
"He was RIPPED, too, man!"
"What!? Heh heh, I don't think I've EVER heard THIS description of Jesus before. Many things, but smelly, dirty and buff...?" I sarcastically raised one eyebrow and let amusement smooth my face.
"Yeah! He withstood 40 lashes with the whip and STILL carried His cross 3 miles or something!"
"True," I replied nodding my head.
"And He how did He run all those people out of the temple."
"With a whip," and I waited with a small smirk playing on my lips.
"Yeah, but it takes STRENGTH to handle such a whip," he demonstrated with a little flick of his hand.
"I wasn't disagreeing... Hahaha... Definitely got a new perspective of Christ now."

So, class, today's lesson is... Don't put Jesus in a box. He's more than any of us can imagine. But picturing a tall, dark and handsome man isn't bad either...

March 13, Helper's Log*
*names substituted.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Rain

Well, it's just so like God to send the one thing I can think of right now that would give me this peace I can feel right now. Rain. It starts as a light shower. I walk out and stand in it for a few minutes, and with every drop that moisturizes my skin, every little piece of the sky that tumbles onto my epidermis, I feel a little lighter. I loose some small part of the stress that's eating my soul. As the storm heavies and the thunder becomes continuous, I dodge the hailstones and save little things in the plants amongst the yard. As the wind carries my body heat from my hands and feet, I feel the coldness match my heart. But I smile. The feeling of outward release and inward surrender like never before penetrates my heart. The rumbling and the thumps of the hail cause my ears to vibrate and my brain to settle. My nerves calm as the repeated tiny pressures fall on my arms and shoulders.  As I see all other life forms dart into shelter, I stand in peace and satisfaction under the grey clouds and the plummeting water.

I can't tell you how much this means to me. This might seem so boring to you, I bore most people anyways, but--if you could just understand! To feel the warmth of my cat of my lap and bask in this love... Even if I don't get to see and talk to someone who'll make me laugh, I've had my fill of a fulfilling day now.  Its okay. I  felt God’s love in a better way than I felt it before.

Rain--I talk about it all the time, but to me it’s God’s peace in a falling, liquid form! I can’t get enough of this love—He knows just how to fill me!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Dreams DO Come True!!!

No, I’m not gonna tell you to “follow your heart” and yes. I give you permission to smile and laugh at me. It’s okay.

All my life, I’ve wanted to… be in charge of something. Namely, designing costumes for a movie. But… more than that. I’ve wanted a part in the play, maybe even a lead. And, as we’re on the subject, to totally go all out in an act. To really feel totally needed in a project. To have the satisfaction of helping in something big…

So, therefore, when my friends here in Uganda expressed they actually would WANT to do a movie/play thing, I jumped at it. The Princess Bride is a common ground for almost all of us here. We know half the lines, can picture each and every scene, and have mastered each accent accordingly. It was the perfect pick. So, all of two weeks ago, we talked. I printed out the first draft of a script, and it went from there. Now, we’ve auditioned parts and decided, (I got the queen) and as of today, I have three costumes completed. You can tell by the title of this here post I’m just a teensy bit, kinda, sorta, a little—EXCITED.

I just wish… I kinda want people to see my true skills through this endeavor. I don’t want to be pushed aside as normal, but I don’t want to push others aside, either. They only see I can sew. They only know I can stand and watch. I don’t know what I want to prove, but I’m out to do it. My dream has begun to come true, I don’t want to take it at face value. Look out Princess Bride. Acacia Community Youth Group is out to re-do, re-state and totally re-excite you. And look out, ACYG. Janae isn’t hiding in the corner no more.