Monday, November 29, 2010

crumpled at the feet of Jesus

Saturday I got to have lunch with my best friend Taylor.  We go to college about five hours apart and do not get to see each other often.  Since we were both home for thanksgiving, I was stoked to get to catch up with her. We exchanged stories of what has been going on in our lives and what the Lord has been up to.  I was venting to her about how I have realized that mercy (which stems into serving) is my most prevalent spiritual gift.  I explained to her that I have realized that it hurts when you care more about a person than they care about you; or a friendship, relationship, ministry, etc.  Taylor immediately responded, "Yeah, but doesn't that just make you more like God?  I mean, that's how He feels. He loves and cares about us so much, and we don't return the same affection."  

Can you say, "WOW!"   

That is seriously so friggin' good.  Here I am, wallowing in self-pity, when I really should be rejoicing because I am becoming more like Jesus. Jeez, I just want to punch myself sometimes for being such a dummy.  I am doing this Nazirite vow to be consecrated, to be set apart, to be made holy. I've been sitting around being depressed, and God is probably like, "Come on Case, snap out of it, I'm doing what you've been asking for, you just can't see it because you're too busy worrying about how messed up you are."  

It's funny, almost two months ago when I became a Nazirite, I expected to get so spiritually mature, wise, joyous, happy, consumed, etc.  I thought it would be easy.  Boy was I wrong.  Maybe for some Nazirite's it is easy, but for me, it is ROUGH.  I've questioned my faith a whole lot more in the last two months than ever before.  I've wanted to give up a whole lot in the last two months.  I've wanted to run away a whole lot in the last two months.  I've honestly prayed a lot less in the last two months.  I believe that I needed to be completely broken before God could begin to restore me and make me holy.  I think I needed to be burnt out to see how I cannot do it on my own.  I needed to get overwhelmed to lose my pride.  I needed to be broken in order to be made new.  However, all that to say, I'm still crumpled at the feet of Jesus, completely broken. And to be honest, if this means I'm becoming more like Jesus, I'm willing to stay in this place of brokenness.  Even though it hurts really bad and is extremely uncomfortable and monumentally lonely and doesn't make sense all the time.  Jesus was nailed to a cross, He definitely hurt.  He had no place to lay His head, so I'd assume He was rather uncomfortable.  The disciples wouldn't even stay awake long enough to pray for Him in Gethsemane, so I would imagine He felt loneliness.  

Here I am God.  I'm naked and broken, but I'm Yours.  Give me strength to become like You.  My love is EXTREMELY weak.  Change me in this weakness.  

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Sanctified Hearing

You know what the most awesome thing is?

When someone prays that your ears will be tuned into God and that you will hear exactly what He wants to say to you.  You listen.  Then the person tells you what they heard God saying to you … and it is EXACTLY the same thing you heard God say.  

Tonight, the Lord said to me,  
“Stop trying to earn My love.  Stop trying to earn salvation.  STOP TRYING.  I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you.  When you try to earn My love, you are rejecting My gift, My grace.  Stop trying Casey, just receive.  I love you.”  
But my flesh began to say, great, now I have offended God.  I’m such a failure.  I would mess up at receiving the love of God.  I screw everything up.  I can never do anything right.  And the Lord said, 
“Beloved, there is no condemnation.  No punishment, no punishment, no punishment, no punishment.  I love you beloved.  I do not punish the ones I love.  And I LOVE YOU CASEY.  I love you.  There is no punishment in love.” 
Then my friend Andrew was like, Casey, I heard the Lord saying that He loves you.  Andrew hesitated, then said, the Lord said to stop trying.  To stop trying to earn His love.  I was like, WOAHHH, that is exactly what I heard.  

I think God wants me to stop trying.  :)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Sanctified Imagination

Tonight at the WATCH, [which is a prayer meeting that I attend Tuesday nights] we prayed for the Lord to redeem our imaginations.  When our imaginations our touched by the Spirit of God, we begin to breathe out the revelation of God.  Think about it.  Over 70% of the Bible was written from dreams or visions.  The prophets weren’t superhuman. We easily want to think that, but as James reminds us, Elijah was a man just like us (5:17). At the WATCH, we began to ask the Lord to open our eyes and let our mind dream His hearts thoughts.  Then we let the Spirit do as He wished.  

I saw myself sitting in the woods by a creek back home.  I was leaning against a tree, hugging my legs tight against my body.  I was crying.  Overwhelmed with self-hatred and the fact that I’ll never been good enough.  Every once in a while I would lift my head up a bit and peek over my knees to see if anyone was coming to rescue me from this despair.  I lifted my eyes and saw Jesus coming towards me.  I quickly jerked my head back down, ashamed of my faithlessness and just covered in worthlessness.  I longed for Him to come to me, but I was ashamed that I desired His attention.  The tree I was leaning on was suddenly gone and I was laying in more of a sunny meadow.  Jesus was over me, lavishing me with kisses.  I know that may sound sorta weird, but it wasn’t.  He was coating my face and neck with righteous kisses.  It was absolutely beautiful.  Then He began to just say, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you completely, I love you outrageously, I love you 100%, all the time, I love you. 

Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth - for your love is more delightful than wine.  (Song of Solomon 1:2)
All beautiful you are, my darling, there is no flaw in you. (4:7)
My lover is mine and I am his… (2:16)
You have stolen my heart, my sister, my bride; you have stolen my heart with one glance of your eyes, with one jewel of your necklace. (4:9)
Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave.  It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away. (8:6-7)

[Thank You God, that you are not only my Father, but also my Lover.]

Monday, November 15, 2010

funny conversation

Today, I prayed over Shane Claiborne (Click his name for more information).  
Me: Hi Shane, I know you need to leave, but I was wondering if I could pray for you?
Shane: You’re not one of those Pentecostals who will pray for 10 minutes, are you?
Julieth (my roommate)No, I’ll only pray for like 9 minutes.
Me: I am pretty Pentecostal, but I’ll pray real quick. 
Shane: [to me] How about just you pray?
[Julieth giggles, and later tells me, “he really took me seriously…”]
Me: Sounds good
[then I prayed, for like 1-2 minutes. haha.]

Saturday, November 13, 2010

It's all gonna be okay

“I wanna feel Your embrace, I wanna feel Your arms around me, I wanna feel Your heart beating next to mine.
And You’re telling me, it’s all gonna be okay, it’s all gonna be okay, it’s all gonna be okay, it’s all gonna be okay.
I wanna see Your face, I wanna see who I can be, I wanna see who I can see in the mirror of Your eyes.
And You’re telling me, it’s all gonna be okay, it’s all gonna be okay, it’s all gonna be okay, it’s all gonna be okay.”
Embrace, Jake Hamilton
I’ve been listening to this song over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over for the last 6 days. Last Sunday night, I was having a meltdown.  I’ve been having a lot of meltdowns lately.  My best friend pulled a chair up next to him, sat me down in it, wrapped his arm around me, and told me that it was all going to be okay.  He proceeded to get his ipod out, hand me his earphones and put on this song.  I sat in the chair and just wept as I listened to Jake sing “it’s all gonna be okay.”  I’m so thankful that my friend hears from the Lord so well, because wow was that song exactly what I needed to hear.  
I’ve probably listened to the song close to 100 times in the last 6 days.  I’ve had a rough week.  I needed to hear that it’s all gonna be okay.  Anyways, I was listening to it today, and I started thinking about the lyric that says “I wanna see who I can be, I wanna see who I can see in the mirror of Your eyes.”  The background of my computer is a photograph I took this summer of an orphan in Haiti.  The other day, my friend pointed out that when you look into his eyes, you can see me.  I had never realized that before.  I want to look at Jesus, and see what His eyes say about me.  I would imagine they would say that I am depraved, naked, broken, empty, and dirty.  
2 Corinthians 5:17-21 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
Because of this, I guess Jesus’ eyes would say that I am clothed in righteousness, filled with the Holy Spirit, and cleaned by the blood of Christ. 
Thank you God.  Thank you that I have been made whole.  Thank that even though things seem to fall apart sometimes, you are my stability.  Thank you that everything is gonna be okay.  

Thursday, November 11, 2010

let us learn together what is good (job 34:4)

In the last two weeks, I have learned that:
  • I am terrible at stress management
  • impulsive decisions are better left unmade
  • in order to constantly pour out, I have to be constantly filled up
  • I have anxiety issues
  • I can't do "under-pressure"
  • vitamins are good
  • God is sovereign, even when I can't believe it
  • even if it's hot when I leave home for college, I should bring a warm jacket
  • car's break and there is nothing I could have done to help it
  • not everything is my fault
  • sometimes people give bad advice
  • depression makes you extremely self-centered
  • I need to put a chair in my mind where I leave people, so I don't carry the problems of the world
  • I need to be in college
  • I really like apples
  • I can't take all hard classes
  • I've taken 12 credit hours of biology within 3 semesters
  • infections and viruses are very different things
  • microbiology is actually extraordinarily intriguing
  • I'm one of "the boys," whether I like it or not
  • I hate dealing with cars
  • I hate driving cars and would much rather my best friend, who is male, drive my car
  • panic attacks are really scary
  • being a missionary is unattractive to most guys
  • organic food tastes pretty great
  • I have the best friends in the entire world
  • a simple word of encouragement or hug can truly change the direction of my day
  • "everything is gonna be okay"
  • vitamins make your pee neon yellow
  • I really like the band vampire weekend
  • tumblr is legit, but blogger still has my heart
  • I want lots of kids because I really wish I had siblings
  • Clayton King is an amazing man and I respect and look up to him so much
  • my dorm room is really filled with blessings from the Lord
  • as much as I try to talk myself out of missions, my heart beats for the nations
  • I am fully and unashamedly obsessed with Harry Potter
  • I am hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3)
  • photographs make the world a better place
  • I am extremely blessed
  • folk music owns
  • I have a very dorky laugh, but my friends love me for it
  • I am quite independent
  • I can't wear socks that match
  • fall is my absolute favorite season
  • 3 months is a little too long to be away from home
  • I'm a junior by credits
  • I could potentially graduate a whole year early
  • my mental health is more important than graduating a whole year early
  • I'm going to graduate a semester early and I don't have to take 18 hrs a semester
  • writing letters is my favorite
  • mercy is in my DNA, whether I like it or not
  • the Lord encounters everyone differently
The biggest thing I learned however, is that I have a lot left to learn. Sometimes I forget I'm only 19 and I have a whole lot of life left to live.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

If you read my last post, please read this...

My last post was WAY off. I owe anyone who read it an apology.

I said something extremely unbiblical in my last post. I stated, "Jesus said it was impossible for a rich man to go to heaven." This is COMPLETELY untrue, inaccurate, libel, and unbiblical. I apologize deeply to anyone that I misled. One of the next verses in the chapter says,

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”

Praise God that this is the TRUTH.

I was completely out of line for a lot of things that I said, and was following my emotions, not the Truth. Again, I greatly apologize for what I said. I pray that I did not lead anyone astray.

Monday, November 8, 2010

i may talk you out of following Jesus...

The Lord has really been speaking to me lately and drawing me deeper into Him. Through this, I've been taking Hebrews 12:1-3 seriously. The Lord has blessed me with extreme purity and woven mercy into my DNA. I didn't think I held much on in the flesh. However, I was wrong. The Lord began to show me that just because I don't have problems with lust or major selfish ambition, doesn't mean that I can eat at fast food restaurants and put caffeine and high fructose corn syrup into my body and say that I am pure and unselfish. 2 Corinthians 7:1 says to purify ourselves from everything that contaminates both BODY and SPIRIT. I'm very intentional when it comes to loving Jesus. That may sound lame, but I'm intentional about hanging out with my best friend, so I feel like I should be intentional about loving the living God. In my intentional nature, I decided to do a body detox where I did a full food fast. I fast on a regular basis, so I figured it wouldn't be that big of a deal. However, it was miserable, and I met so much opposition. I choose to do something kind-of radical in order to decrease that Christ may increase, and I meet opposition from Christians. Today, as I wrote a discussion board post for my introduction to missions class, it occurred to me that the more radical I make my life, the more likely non-Christians will be drawn to what I have and the more likely I will receive extreme persecution from Christians (religious people).

This week I have been a wreck. In this process of sanctification and consecration, I am just being hit with the inability to be comfortable with mediocrity. As I read the word and listen for His voice, I see John the Baptist surviving only on locusts and honey, yet still living a life of prayer and fasting. I hear Jesus saying, "Casey, I want you to live a life of simplicity. You don't need three meals a day, just because America says you need that. I want you to find satisfaction in Me alone, not in food." I am scared of the radical life I hear Him calling me into. However, I know it's worth it. I know I have to do it. Or I could walk away from my faith. But I would NEVER do that because I have tasted and I have seen that the Lord is GOOD. He is good! I'm beginning to understand what Paul meant in Philippians 2 when he said to work out my salvation with fear and trembling. I'm extraordinarily fearful.

I started reading Radical by David Platt today. In it, he talks about Luke 9. We easily can say, "Oh well that was for back then, it's not for today." But why? How can we say some of the Bible is applicable and some is not? If we pick and choose what we want to follow or believe, we're saying we are better than God. We are not better than God. David Platt says, "I am convinced that we as Christ followers in American churches have embraced values and ideas that are not only unbiblical but that actually contradict the gospel we claim to believe." Jesus says that "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of man has no place to lay his head." Jesus says we may be homeless. In the next chapter of Luke he says when you go, don't take sandals or a bag. I could keep going, but I think I need to just pray and figure out how to tell my parents that I want to quit college, take my college money and buy a one way plane ticket to India, where I plan on being homeless, touching lepers and healing them.

Please comment. Tell me to do it. Tell me I'm absolutely crazy. Tell me whatever you feel like.