Farewell February


Good riddance snow.

Bible Reading Update

So much for the post-once-a-week-to-let-ya'll-know-how-its-going idea. But you. You all are amazing. Because between emails, blog posts, comments, and conversations in-person, you've left me encouraged and "accounted" for.  Even during this busy spell I've maintained progress, though definitely not in the daily amounts I had hoped for. (the whole getting-ahead-of-the-game-by-reading-ten-chapters? not happening).
I'll admit, that because of the busyness, I don't always feel as focused in my reading as I would like to be, so you could pray for discipline for me in that area. I'm currently reading in Joshua and John. I've really enjoyed going through the Gospels. The next couple of weeks I will be filling in for a friend, teaching her Good News Club at the school.The Bible lessons I will be teaching the kids will be on the life of Christ, which is what I just got done studying! I like the way He thinks. :-)
Two things that are still prevalent in my mind, from my reading.
Old Testament:
I was pondering the death of Moses and the fact that after all he did in service to God, one mistake--just one!--kept him from the promised land. It shed new light on the need for Christ to pay the penalty for my sin. I've done so many things wrong, but even if I had the meekness of Moses (or his resume', if you will) I still wouldn't be good enough to enter the promised land. Not by works, lest any man should boast.
New Testament:
I was really sobered by the innocence of Christ and His unjustified death. Pilot said at least 3 times-- "He is innocent!". And the people raged on. I reflected on the second coming of Christ with a new sort of excitement. Not only will I be set free from the carnal, but JESUS who took MY guilt, will be vindicated. In some ways, that happened at the first resurrection. But at the second resurrection? Every knee shall bow.What a great example Christ is of humility and patience. He did not defend Himself-- He who had only good works to defend with. Someday those who mocked His kingship, will bow at His feet. For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.
  What has He been showing you??

[ insert synonym for busy ]

Someone needs to invent another word for busy. I'm tired of using that as an excuse for not blogging.
This week has been simply hectic. There, that will work.
I should probably number the following like so: excuse # 1, excuse # 2 etc.. but I'm not going to. Because I don't like to think of it that way. I would rather just pretend that you all actually care about what it was that occupied my time.
On Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday & Friday I worked as a caretaker.
On Monday, Thursday, and Saturday I had EMS continuing ed.
On Wednesday I taught ESL.
On Thursday I had a job interview for working on an ambulance service.
On Friday I had a Senior photo shoot.
On Saturday I had an all day EMS class.
*EMS = emergency medical services
*ESL = english as a second langauge

So guess what. When I woke up this morning to find that the roads were icy and I would have to reschedule an engagement photo session, as well as another appointment that I had out of town, I was not in the least bit disappointed. I mean, I'm  really tired. Imagine that. After my two hour nap this afternoon, and a good rest tonight, I ought to be ready to start another crazy busy week at 5:00 tomorrow morning.
To you who've emailed me in the past couple of weeks, and I have yet to respond-- sorry about that. I truly appreciate your thoughtful emails and what you have to share whether it be by way of email or comments.  I don't deserve you. Ya'll are the best.
Update on Bible reading challenge to come. For now, here are some photos from Friday's photo shoot. Feedback (+ or -) welcome.

Jesus and the Olympic Opening Ceremony

As I watched the faces of the athletes from the individual countries, I, along with the rest of the watching world, really got caught up in the moment. Can you imagine the privilege of walking beneath your country's flag, and personally representing the incredible initiative and hard work that it took to get there?
Now me--I don't really know how to say this-- but I'm an 'international' sort of person. I haven't traveled extensively, but I've never heard of a country I didn't want to personally meet. I find incredible beauty in different cultures and races. It was magnificent to see so many represented, in one place, for one purpose. Even if that purpose was just sports
I sat there watching and thinking.
Which of those smiling faces find their true satisfaction and joy, in Jesus? So many people, so many lost.
How amazing would it be, if they were gathering in the name of Jesus, instead of sports?
And then I started getting energized. I felt like singing at the top of my lungs "WHAT A DAY THAT WILL BE!"
Because, believe it or not, there is going to be a day like that.
Think about the the wonder (words fail me) of the privilege of being a  part of  the saints from every nation, someday marching under the banner of Christ and glorifying our Beloved and relishing His victory.
I just can't stop thinking about it.
What a day that will be. I can not wait.
At the sign of triumph Satan's host doth flee;
on then, Christian soldiers, on to victory!
Hell's foundations quiver at the shout of praise;
brothers, lift your voices, loud your anthems raise.
Like a mighty army moves the church of God;
brothers, we are treading where the saints have trod.
We are not divided, all one body we,
one in hope and doctrine, one in charity.

Graphic Content : Medical Personel Only

There are several contraindications for posting the following.

  • First of all, these are the first pictures I've posted since purchasing my new camera, and they lack the quality to adequately display the general amazingness of my new camera.
  • Thirdly, the graphic nature brought embarrassment and horror when the pictures were taken and will no doubt be the cause of it when viewed.
But for your "entertainment", (if you can call it that)  I will risk all. This is dedicated to my fellow EMTs. Viewer discretion is advised.
 
This is my sister and her friend Harold (Harry). The three of us were out to eat the other evening when the unthinkable happened.

I had just returned to our table from the ladies' room when I found Harry doing the universal sign for choking.

I quickly gathered my bearings --all of my training for Emergency Medical Work was filed in my brain for moments like this.

I didn't tell Harry that he was the first one I'd ever done the Heimlich maneuver on.

Harry is very small, but he is not a baby. So I was unsure of which procedure to perform. Thus the awkward hand positioning and worried expression. All of a sudden I realized we were dealing with syncope.
Soon we had a cardiac arrest on our hands.
I had my sister begin chest compressions as I prepared to do full blown CPR.


 compressions (again, different arm position than normally, to avoid trauma to his small body.) 
 He started vomiting so we moved him to the recovery position
At this point, I was really wishing for a suction device.

All seemed to be going ok. We were maintaining the airway, giving respirations, and he soon began to breath on his own again. 



He seemed to be making a speedy recovery. I kept checking on him and asking how he was feeling. One time, I looked over, and he was in the tripod position-- obviously struggling to breath.
Nothing could have prepared me for what happened next. I may never be able to forgive myself for not being there at the right moment, to catch him. See, Harry started walking around, and fell right off the table. (Hypoxia can cause confusion because of lack of oxygen to the brain) I again rushed to his side, calling his name.
 I held C-spine until the medics arrived.












I'm relieved to be able to report that Harry lived through that potentially fatal day, with only slight brain damage. [He now believes he is a snowman].

Please forgive me. I couldn't resist. ;)

Then The Lord Touched My Mouth (part 2)

Note: Thanks to all, for your for your feedback via comments, email, or twitter. I'm truly appreciative, and  I am considering all your thoughts. I respect even the differing ones. This is very much a journey for me that is not over yet. I fail more than I care to admit, at sharing the Gospel and taking every opportunity. The least I can do is share the experiences I've had, in hopes of encouraging others.
--------------------------------------------
There's so much I want to say. Please bear with me.
With the undeniable realization that I needed to be a bolder witness, came feelings of inadequacy.  Not the sort that bring feelings of failure necessarily, but rather the kind that motivate. Because of this and multiple other ways that God was leading in, my parents and I began praying more about me attending Shield of Faith Missions Int'l discipleship program. The decision became final as the Lord worked in providential ways for me to go. I moved to Oregon for 7 months. [obviously, nobody needs to go to this extent to be "qualified" to share the Gospel--this is just how the Lord led].
In the first couple of weeks of the training program, my classmates and I were to go door-to-door witnessing. My initial thoughts before we went the first time were that though it sounded awkward, it was something I had signed up for. So I would attempt it whole-heartedly. I wondered though, wouldn't people just lump us in with religious groups that were known for going door-to-door? We are so very different, yet here we are doing something the others are known for.
My prayer was that the Lord would impress on my heart, that He wanted me to do this. It being something the Holy Spirit must lead in, I didn't want to go along with it as merely as a "class requirement".
Obedience
The first time we went, I was not expecting the feelings of dread that washed over me. It physically weighed me down. I puzzled over it and tossed thoughts back and forth in my mind, in between knocking and doors being shut in our faces.
Am I afraid of what people are thinking?  Is this what spiritual warfare feels like?  Is it God, telling me this isn't the way it should be done?  Is it because I'm "showing up" without calling first? Am I trespassing?  Is it because I'm an American and they are Americans, and this is simply not appropriate in our culture? Isn't it a bad testimony to do as the Mormons do?
I wracked my brain for verses to support what we were doing.When we finished that day, I was sick to my stomach. I was still confused about some things, but sure that "Thou shalt not go door-to-door" should have been the 11th commandment. Moses had fallen down on the job.
I went home that evening and begged God that if this was of Him, I needed to see it in His Word. I opened my Bible. I didn't open it to where I had been reading in my daily reading, and with no previous thought of scriptures that might apply to the situation, my hands opened to and my eyes rested on the passage where Jesus tells a couple of His disciples "Follow me. And I will make you fishers of men." Over the next week, I studied how the disciples followed Him.
 I also talked to my accountability partner (part of the program, but also a woman who was to become one of my dearest friends) and expressed my struggles. She nodded her head knowingly as I spilled, but then asked "What if you had baked some bread and offered it to every one of those people, instead of the Gospel?" She asked me if I would have felt like I was trespassing then. It finally hit home-- and shook me up a little over the next few days. The quality of my faith was being tested. If I truly believed those people were going to Hell if they didn't receive Christ, then what is a loaf of bread compared to CHRIST?!
The call was clear. The way was still blurry. I prayed for grace to obey. I went door to door several more times. It still  didn'tseem to be my personality. But it got "easier" each time. I read and read and read the Scriptures. God taught me about fear of man vs. fear of God. I learned about how prayer alters attitudes and perspectives. Not to mention circumstance and conversation.
 At first I simply did it out of obedience to the call. God taught me that it is enough to follow Him. and  that He will make me a fisher of men.
Reward
I wish I had time to type all the stories of people we met. We usually went out on a  bi-weekly basis (one day on the street downtown, another going door to door.) We didn't promote a church or denomination. We promoted Jesus. We had tracts that we offered to everyone. Our goal was to use them as a tool to initiate conversation and provoke thought, should we not be given a chance to speak. In the entire 6 months, we never had someone 'pray the prayer'. Because we didn't encourage it. Our goal was to turn their hearts toward a God and his Word Who could answer their questions and could save them from the road they were on and the devastation it leads to. We weren't looking for emotional decisions, we were looking to plant seeds, and yes harvest, but only if the fruit was ripe. Basically, this is what I say to people (many, of whom are Christians) who accuse us of "shoving Christianity down someone's throat".
 Because we were in an area where athiests and new-agers were more common than professing Christians, we often would start the conversation with "do you believe in God?".  Sometimes the curt reply was followed by the door being quickly shut in our faces. We heard some of the undoubtedly lamest excuses ever for being too busy to talk. (ok, yes we've all made them :)
And then there were those people who said "I was just thinking about this", or "my buddies and I were just having a discussion about God the other night" and incredible conversations would follow.  We experienced the work of the Holy Spirit when we said things and found scriptures, we didn't even know we knew. I remember one time in particular when, after we had stated our reason for being on their porch, their jaws  dropped.They had just been talking to each other about how God was drawing them, and they knew they had come to a fork in the road and must decide. The timing of God leading us to certain doors, left us in awe. Week after week we had assurance that God was in what we were doing.
 Please note. There is a wrong way to go door-to-door. It is not my goal in this post, to teach someone how-to. But just as we tell Athiests not to let a bad experience prove there is no God, so I ask you, if you've had a bad experience with door to door-ing, don't brush off the potential that remains.
I could go on. And on. But I shall close with this. Its very important and must be grasped for you to understand where I'm coming from. Going 'door to door' isn't the crux of the matter. Speaking the Gospel is.  I just figured the example of us trainees standing on street corners with huge Jesus signs would be  a little much. ;-) My point is, however its done, wherever its done, is mostly irrelevant to the topic that is really on my heart to share with you. Our actions do speak so think about this: You know your self, your weaknesses and failures. If your friends or acquaintances only see your actions, but never hear of your God, where do you think they are going to spend eternity? Though its something we daily strive for as Christians, I know my actions aren't enough to reflect the perfect Son of God.
If you talk about everything and everyone else you love, why not Jesus?
 Jeremiah 1 
6Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child. 7But the LORD said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak. 8Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the LORD. 9Then the LORD put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the LORD said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth.

Baby Steps (Part 1)

Post 1 of 2 - Learning to Share
Read: Matthew 10:16-33
My first exposure to door-to-door witnessing came at a young age. Two men, nicely dressed in white button up shirts and ties and bearing backpacks, knocking on our front door. For most, I won't even need to explain. You've probably seen them riding their bikes down a street near you. (Pardon the stereo-type)
I don't claim to know a whole lot about what Jehovah Witnesses believe, though more recently, I can at least claim to have talked to a couple of them for more than a couple hours which was obviously very revealing. But back then I didn't know much at all about what they believed except that they thought they could earn their salvation by telling others to go out and tell others to get saved. Or something like that.
[Edit: Mom says they were Mormons (LDS), I stand corrected. Thats what I get for stero-typing. Hehe. Their beliefs about salvation are similiar I think, but I guess its the Mormons who ride bikes typically. ;-) We've had Jehovah Witnesses come to our door a couple of times too.]
As my mom explained to the ones at our door that day, that we were Christians and that they happened to be knocking on a parsonage door-- I stood behind her, listening and wondering. I couldn't swallow the irony. We were the ones with the Good News. Who should be knocking on whose door?
Fast forward a couple of years, and you will find me just starting out in the working world and striving to find the balance of living in the world but not of it. I often fell under conviction, that though I was confident of the Lord's work in my life, I was not confident to speak of it or give Him glory in places I thought I might be ridiculed, or horror, in places I might be considered to be "weird"  if I did. I'm not saying [my taking a bold stand] never happened, but its an embarrassing amount compared to the opportunities I had, that I didn't take.
In the summer of 2008 I took a couple days off work and attended a Voice of the Martyrs Conference. I sat there listening to the testimonies of those Christians who had died for their faith, praying that the Lord would give me grace should there ever be a time I had to endure severe persecution for the name of Christ. By the last session I was in tears, overwhelmed by the clarity of the call I had been smothering. It was, simply, to speak the Gospel. At this point, I knew, that no matter what case others and myself could give, fear of man was the ultimate reason I had not been free to share what was so clearly put on my heart. If I wasn't brave enough to speak His name, how could I be bold enough to die for His name?
I prayed, oh how I prayed, that the fervency I felt wouldn't leave me as I returned to work and the normalcy of daily life. It weakened, but it didn't leave. I remember being more apt to offer to pray for my patients and more than willing to pull out the Gideon Bible from their nightstand and encourage them to read it. Baby steps, but the story isn't over.
I'll post the rest soon. I know this is an uncomfortable topic for some. Feel free to be a silent bystander as  I post, and others discuss. But this part of my story and what I came to realize, aren't  mere matters of opinion. God says, "Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven." Matthew 10:32&33 




The Face


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When I am faithless, He is faithful.
When mine fail, His plans prevail.
When I fail, His mercy endures.
Without Him, I am nothing.


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