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13 Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. 14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”[a]

17 Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear. 18 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. 20 He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.21 Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.

22 Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart.[b] 23 For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. 24 For,

“All people are like grass,
    and all their glory is like the flowers of the field;
the grass withers and the flowers fall,
25     but the word of the Lord endures forever.”[c]

And this is the word that was preached to you.

fully sober – recently i have been thinking back and forth about how seriously the bible takes sobriety. it seems to be pretty clear that we are to be of sober mind. however i also have a problem with the way Christians legally and judgmentally approach people who drink or smoke. I don’t like that someone feels totally fine about a person and then once they discover that they drink/smoke that changes the way they feel about that person. Or that that person is somehow less of a Christian. I also think that Christian people can stumble others by drinking too much or smoking too much. SO again. I am torn. I think the easiest and most straight forward answer is for myself personally, that I want to refrain from drinking to drunkenness and smoking to be high. However I am open about my struggle here. Especially recently because i haven’t been in consistent christian community, I find myself wanting to “escape” and hang around non christians who i know smoke a lot or get drunk to have fun. in their presence i feel a release of myself and allow myself to run away from something. and at the same time i build of this plaque on my teeth kind of guilt about being a bad representation of Christ to them. WHILE at the same time also brushing that off and telling myself that Naomi was telling Ruth to run away from God and that still brought Ruth to God. All of this to say … this is on my mind.

set your hope – interesting that hope can be “set.” Hope is something you have in/on something, so you have to set it in that thing. it’s not just an abstract concept that floats in the air when you’re sad and someone’s like “have hope!” you have to have something to be able to set your hope in/on

as obedient children – this is kind of tied to my thoughts on “sober mind.” i think recently there have been things that God is clearly just asking me to be obedient about and i think these are definitely things that I choose to be ignorant about. Like I always say to myself, if God clearly asks me “don’t drink” “don’t smoke” then I wouldn’t. It’s only because to me, in my opinion, he hasn’t said that to me … but then i challenge myself by saying ok well let’s pretend like he has said it to you … could you even do it?? and then i try to go for a while of not doing these things and i just fall back into them … and my excuse for falling back in is because i don’t want to be a “legalistic” pharisee. but maybe the truth is just that i need to be an obedient child. it’s funny that they say child because a child is SO obedient! they just trust and do what they are told! they haven’t thought yet about why they do or don’t want to do what they are told. i think it’s also really clear here that your desires can be evil. sometimes i think i don’t like to admit that my desires can be evil … i want desires to always be “natural” but maybe just because they are natural doesn’t mean they aren’t evil!

be holy in all you do – i think there are other bible passages that talk about this, but my main question here is ok … what does that mean then? how do i do that?

father who judges; reverent fear – this verse is interesting to me … if God is our Father, then why is he judging us? I guess my dad judges me too? I think by judge it doesn’t mean “thinks badly of” it just means assesses or evaluates? and also if he’s my father than why do i need to fear him? I think I need a deeper understanding of why and how we fear God.

perishable v imperishable – i like this theme of what is perishable and what is not. God is not perishable whereas our own glory is.

Jesus,

Things have been better in the last few days. I feel more stable. I feel like I just have to keep going. I feel like a source of support for other people. It’s always funny how it shifts like that. How either i’m doing so so badly and i can’t think of anyone else but myself. and i’m crying and struggling. or im doing great but then get all these things from other people.

praying for D as she tries to sell the house. i’m not sure how i’m supposed to tell her about you. does it count if i don’t say your name at all but am just a good roommate and a loving person? or do you call me to be blunt and say something about you? and say that I think it’s important that she knows you? how do i do that? is that on my heart as something to do? is that something you are commanding me to do? is there a time for that? show me please. i do care about her. i do get annoyed by her. but i also know that this time that i lived with her was important. she is in my prayers. i know she is someone that you love deeply. teach me how to show sincerely love to her from my heart.

praying for my new rooming situation. please help me get cheaper rent haha. help me to get along with the girl that i live with. im not sure if it will work out. im not even sure if i want to keep living in this state. but

thank you Jesus. thank you for all of the privilege you have given me. thank you that i have a computer to type on and a phone to use and a job to work at. thank you that i have money to buy food and a car to drive. thank you for these material things. help me not to be defined by these material things. Jesus I only want to be defined by you. I don’t want the most important thing in my life to be chasing after the things you call perishable. i want to be growing from an imperishable seed. i want to be rooted firmly in your everlasting WORD. i want to be purified through obedience so that i can set my hope in YOU in something that’s faithful. help me to be more like an obedient child who just does what you are asking me to do. not one who conforms to what is easier or what is comfortable or what i want to do just because i want to do it.

please see my heart Jesus. with all of the struggles and sin and disobedience, please see my heart and that it yearns for you. let my words not just be words. let this time that i’ve been here in connecticut be one where i become grounded in my relationship with you. in the midst of loneliness and more loneliness. in the midst of boring work or weird people or death or drama. God i just want to be closer to you. i am tired of pretending like you aren’t there and that i can figure this all out without you. i want to come back to resting in your presence. sharpen me. i am still just a christian that speaks christianese. i am still just a double agent that fades in the background when i want to fit in. i am still a depressed fool who denies you even as i spent so much time with you and know that you are my savior. thank you for your mercy and grace. use this time of my singleness for your glory. remind me again that i’m not the star of this show. you are and you have always been!

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Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

new birth – birth is something that is done to you, not something that you can do for yourself; and this one is “new” because even though it may have happened before, it’s something that hasn’t yet happened in this way?

a living hope – what would be a dead hope? or a stagnant hope? and what is this living hope?

resurrection of Jesus Christ – this clearly states that it’s because Jesus rose from the dead we have been given a new birth and a living hope. so Jesus is the source of everything in this verse and not just him but what he has done

inheritance – one that never perishes, spoil or fade, that’s kept in heaven for us. I wonder what God’s definition of inheritance is. Here on earth having an inheritance is a privilege. it’s something that someone else of your genes, of your blood worked hard for and then later in their life preserved to pass down to you. but any inheritance here on earth can be taken away, can spoil, can fade. i’m always amazed at how quickly things spoil here. when we were cleaning out grandma’s closet we had to throw out all the old clothes because of the moths that ate everything

through faith are shielded by God’s power – this is telling me that i am shielded by God’s power. what does that mean? how do i know that is true? just by faith? i just need to believe that is true?

for a little while suffer grief of all trials – i think it’s funny that the timing of this suffering is not well defined. it’s not for a while but for a little while, which still feels longer than for a little bit of time. and even the type of grief suffering is not defined; in fact it almost seems to promise that all kinds of trials will be faced

proven genuineness of faith, greater than gold which results in praise – this is saying that suffering/grief in all trials come because our genuine faith will lead us to praise Jesus. so my faith when genuine results in glorifying God in the midst of trials. It also says that this happens when Jesus Christ is revealed, which makes me wonder … has that happened yet? can Jesus be revealed daily? or just at the end of time? or both?

Jesus,
I am so physically tired. I traveled a lot this weekend. I didn’t sleep a lot. I’m still staying up late typing this because I have been meaning to spend time with you for a while now. I have recognized that there are a lot of things building and a lot of things I need to be talking to you about. And each time I try to pray to you about all the things happening in my life, I just feel like I am not sure what you are saying about my specific things because I haven’t been reading your word. So in a way, though I know who you are (like I know my brother is my brother and will always be my brother) I haven’t talked to you in a while, I haven’t heard your voice, I haven’t been saturating myself in your presence so I’ve been forgetting a bit of what your promises are and what kind of impact those make in my life. I’ve been drifting. And at times I’ve been very upset and confused.

Though my body is very tired, please help me to establish good habits. I want to hear from you. I need to know specific things like where should I move to, who should i live with, how should i keep up with people, what should i do about work, what should i do about him and him and him (BK&HOBSPC). should i keep going at this new church. should i keep going to this new bible study. should i go back to the old one. how do i be more like Jesus to my co workers or should i just give up and be a degenerate because that’s so much easier??

i want to experience your movement this summer. i want to experience something life transforming. im afraid of turning 25. and i’m not even 24… i just don’t want to be in the same place.

the biggest thing for myself i’m praying about is staying in this city/state. every time i really pray about it to you, it seems like you are making this place my Nineveh. Please help me to surrender everything to you. Even my need to know the answers to all these questions. Help me to obey when I do hear your voice.

Help me to see the power of your gift of new birth. Help me to discover and experience a living hope. not one that is stagnant or dead. one that is ALIVE. help my feeble faith as i go through what i consider to be trials of all kinds. i want the result to be PRAISE and THANKFULNESS.

And the biggest thing for others i’m praying for. is the complete and utter brokenness that i have been witnessing around me. I pray for the woman i bumped into on the street who was asking me for money to feed her children. i pray for all the homeless people in the train station that i met that night. and the man who was walking around muttering to himself.

“Here I stand before You now
As honestly as I know how
Broken by the days gone by
Spirit help my soul to rise
I try my best but still I fail
And even then
You’re with me there
You remind me I’m a child of God
Regardless of the things I’ve done
My hope is found in perfect love
Your mercy triumphs over judgment
Love wider than horizons
Stronger than all sin
Lord Your kindness
Leads us to repentance
To the heart of God
Your heart oh God
Is all I want
All to Jesus I surrender
All to Him I freely give
I will ever love and trust Him
In His presence daily live

 

“You pulled me from the clay
Set me on a rock
Called me by Your Name
And made my heart whole again
So here I stand
High in surrender
I need You now
Hold my heart
Now and forever
My soul cries out
Once I was broken
But You loved my whole heart through
Sin has no hold on me
‘Cause Your grace holds me now
Healed and forgiven
Look where my chains are now
Death has no hold on me
‘Cause Your grace holds that ground
And Your grace holds me now”

“How I live for the moments
Where I’m still in Your presence
All the noise dies down Lord speak to me now
You have all my attention
I will linger and listen
I can’t miss a thing
Lord I know my heart wants more of You
My heart wants something new
So I surrender all
All I want is to live within Your love
Be undone by who You are
My desire is to know You deeper
Lord I will open up again
Throw my fears into the wind
I am desperate for a touch of heaven
I open up my heart to You I
open up my heart to You now
So do what only You can
Jesus have Your way in me now”

something’s brewing
changing colors to new
tingling out the green
blossoming into orange, red, yellow hues
im shivering
these goosebump condensation rumps
forming, flying up my arms
im far from dying
im first world surviving
the reality equivalent of thriving
excavated
a fragmented skull bone
of who i are
meaning the tiniest essence of who i can be
keeps encountering me
destroying me mentally
exhausting me intimately
construed to believe i was built for greatness
or didn’t i build myself to this great hit?
yet while in the pits of lions
with everything stripped naked
i realize everything i had was a gift
and that i was built to reflect greatness
and that in the midst of struggle
i can choose to exude
a trusting patience
endless graces
i am left undone

©Kira Shymn

A LOT has been happening people. to start. I am terribly sick. it’s the kind of sickness where i feel functional. i feel like i can do things. i feel like i can go to work and sit at my cube. and then i get there and the sky starts falling down. my brain shuts off. headaches start piercing through my eyes and into the back of my skull. and i just can’t move. let alone think or breathe or turn in work to get approved. or take care of anything.

this being sick has made me stop and think. and realize that i’m losing it. i’m losing everything. i don’t remember who i am or what i wanted to do or who i wanted to do it with.

i started a dating app. and by “a” i mean two. and by two i mean. i’m on two dating apps but i’m contemplating downloading a third. and by on i mean i can’t stop looking at it and replying to messages. all while feeling completely in a dream. because none of those conversations feel real. and my self-esteem just wobbles in between wow i have an amazing profile why wouldn’t all these guys like me to wow the guys that like me are weird and what does that say about me to wow even if these guys love me it’s based on a shallow profile. i want to throw my phone across the room and just be a married grandma already with grand kids and crocheting to do and church functions to attend.

and that’s the other thing. i have no Christian friends. i don’t remember what it’s like to be around Christians in person anymore. and i don’t know if i would like it if i went back. and i feel like running. i want to run from everything and everyone. i want to disappear all the time. every day.

i feel so lost. and it’s so dramatic. it’s ridiculous how i’m feeling. because my feelings are telling me to freak out and to cry and to roll around on the ground and sob until i can’t my eyes get all puffy and impossible to open. my feelings are telling me that i’m never going to be good at my job and that i don’t even like the work that i’m doing at my job and that i am all alone. completely alone. and that there’s no point. in all of this.

while my brain is saying. i’m here because i’m learning how to be faithful. i’m learning how to be consistent. i’m learning that it’s difficult to wake up every day and commit to something especially when you aren’t good at it right away. but that’s what character is built from. that’s where grit is made. and i need more grit. my brain tells me that friends take time to make. and that i have so much to be thankful for. my brain tells me that this sickness is a time to rest and get better and not push my body but let it heal.

when i do pray and ask God to speak to me. he declares that he has plans for me. he declares that those plans are not meant to harm me but are filled with hope. he declares that he wants me to commit to him every day like Daniel did. even when Daniel’s company turned against him. even when Daniel was all alone, he remained faithful to God. and in return, God never broke his promises. God has been reminding me that I am being prepared for my lions den. for the place where he’s going to show me his POWER to shut the mouth of lions. his PEACE in the pit of betrayal, loneliness, and weeping and gnashing of teeth. and his PRESENCE.

SO with all of this. i am in the midst of a daily fight. one that if i don’t listen to my brain and attempt to listen to God. I get overwhelmed by my emotions. by the weight of sickness and my circumstances. it’s a poison that tastes bitter but changes my palette so that I only crave more poison. until im brainless and dying.

it’s hard to keep fighting though. it’s especially hard when i feel no community around me. i can think all the right things but nothing encourages you to do it like people standing tall next to you. i honestly feel that this is one of the hardest times in my life. this transition has been far from easy. there is so much that i need to learn. and so much that i was not prepared for.

it’s occurring to me now that i am being massively humbled. and that i need Jesus. i just need him. so desperately. and i only hope he’ll continue to take me back. and continue to be my rock.

it’s always hard to start writing. especially when you haven’t in a while.

my lack of posting from this blog has mostly been because my heart has been singing. and i’ve discovered that i’m much better at writing about pain than joy.

from my journal, 6.28.18:

“i feel happiness
i feel it permeating
i feel it solidifying
i feel it latching
it’s stemming from thankfulness
a recognition that i have so much to be thankful for
that there is so much to be thankful for
and it’s even coloring the old times a different shade
one with roots connecting to a source
lighter. brighter.
it quiets my soul
and i don’t want to move
because this is exactly where i’ve always wanted to be
and where i was last happy and free”

“here there is an openness
a willingness
to go where i am led
to detach from hopelessness
a desire to reform
in fact
transform
a desire to go deeper
because as happy as
freedom eyes feel
with them i see and
with them i realize
i can’t stay
it’s not a greed for more of the same
but an unveiling of redemptive triumph
but right now in this moment
i sit here and revel and breathe and soak
in pure joy
thankfulness
worry-less
carefree
grace”

“jesus,
i have dreams
did you know
i had dreams
a lot of them died
disappeared
melted away
or beaten down
my foggy future
sometimes feels
impossible
because i don’t have the
piercing light
of a dream
a goal
a vision
a place to be
a thing to do
accomplish
become
i say you are enough
but do you know what i mean
when i say
that i need
a dream
i just want to know
have a sense
have a feeling
of what i’m fighting towards
besides your glory
or specifically
for your glory”

from 6.30.18:

“healing, healing
i had cuts i didn’t know
bloods been leaking out
my smile never changed
but it also never grew
into a jumping joy
the kind i have now
as my feet leave the ground”

“you see the hurts i am trying to cover up
you see the joy
you see it all
God, you see right through me
you pierce through this facade i have been creating
the super suit i put on
the image i bolster
and you said
no, not that one
that’s not my daughter
that’s not the one chosen to be anointed
it’s that one
the girl who stole
the girl who bullied
and even you, writer, who holds this girl to her past pains with the words you ink
she is beyond those
but also
broken still
inside breathes a you that will be
is being
used
that’s my daughter
and with her I am well pleased
I am forming her
you, God, you’re not done with me yet
you God want more from me
because i have more to give
i have questions
i have angers
i have annoyances
i have sadness
i have mistakes
do none of those matter
do those really go away”

Here is what I wrote down when i felt like God was speaking to me:

“Home. you want to go home. you want to die to go home. your home is in your heart. your home is in your body. your home is in ME and I am HERE. Be where I am. I will always be with you and I AM your home.

Try your best. you feel like you have been trying your best. you feel like you failed trying your best and you are processing failure, but hey at least you tried your best. but deep down. you know you did not give your best. you did not rebuke sin to the point of shedding your blood (hebrews). you promised me your best. that’s all I ask. you know I am not asking for perfection. we rebuke perfection. but we are asking for your best. and in your best there will be forgiveness for when you don’t try. there will be grace for when even that falls short. but try AND

I will give you the strength to give your best. I will give more patience. more sincerity. but you must try.
recently you have not been trying. for a while you have been trying to get away with less to conserve energy. to be smarter.
give generously
love patiently
don’t give up
I have not given up
I AM not a judge who will reject offering
but you know when you have not given me ALL that you can give
like the monopoly money trick (as a kid i used to hide money when we played monopoly and use it in the end. people didn’t realize i had more money than i was showing)
ask me what more there is and I will tell you
– your work in the mundane assignments
– your living situation
– your friendships … esp those reaching out to you

Give ALL and I will sustain you
Do not be afraid of the world
for I have overcome the world

my perfect love is casting out your fear

not just a mushy love, a challenging love
that pushes for your potential

not a performance
not an evaluation
but a relationship
has give
has sacrifices
I AM God
I commanded for fruit

Great is not mustered by effort alone
but by growth
because growth points to and reflects on the status of the stalk”

what do you guys think? i have a lot of thoughts that i will probably share in future posts. but i’m curious to hear what you guys think.

cause today today
it’s all about today
it’s all about right now
not those stale promises
from a time of equal sincerity
without executed obedience
i’m thankful today
for how far you’ve brought me
and the people around me
and the gifts i’ve received
even those unboxed and thrown away
i’ve erased the line graph predicting my trajectory
i’m done looking for progress in process of perfecting me
i’m excited to take one step by step
in forward truth stretching patience beyond virtue
filled with strength beyond youth
my lungs expanding as poured drink offerings run through
this vessel so empty
alive, a live, a living sacrifice
i shall transform into
and in so doing regain my love
my precious child like wonder and everlasting fruit

©Kira Shymn