Monthly Archives: March 2012

Ruth

Later this afternoon I will be on my way to Denver to cover the NCAA women’s Final Four. There I will be surrounded by ESPN and the likes of Holly Rowe, Lisa Leslie, Carolyn Peck, Rebecca Lobo…you get the point. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to go and learn from women who are successful in the sports’ world. 

Being a woman in this field has been a difficult obstacle for those in years past. However, biased from the male audience still exist…like my grandpa. It is almost impossible to watch sports at their house because he criticizes the women reporting on the sideline. His favorite sport to watch is hockey (I think because there are no women reporters.) Being a successful woman in sports is my dream but more importantly,  I want to be known as a woman of God.

Proverbs 31:10-31 describes the characteristics of a godly woman.  This virtuous woman is personified by Ruth.

 

Devoted to her family – Ruth 1:15-18/Prov. 31:10-12,23

Delighting in her work – Ruth 2:2/Prov. 31:13

Diligent in her labor – Ruth 2:7,17,23/Prov. 31:14-18,19-21,24,27

Dedicated to godly speech – Ruth 2:10,13/Prov. 13:26

Dependent on God – Ruth 2:12/Prov. 31:25,30

Dressed with care – Ruth 3:3/Prov. 31:22,25

Discreet with men – Ruth 3:6-13/Prov. 31:11,12,23

Delivering blessings – Ruth 4:14,15/Prov. 31:28,29,31

 

Reading this book, I got to see what God desires from me to be a virtuous woman. More importantly, the Gospel was revealed.

Ruth was a Moabite. Moab was the enemy of Israel. She arrived in Bethlehem as a foreigner, became a maidservant, married wealthy Boaz, and discovered herself in the physical lineage of Christ.

Basically, she married Naomi’s son, Mahlon. He, along with his brother and father, died in a famine that struck Moab. While her sister-in-law returned to her family, Ruth clung to Naomi, which was a sign of loyalty and devotion. They returned to Bethlehem. Naomi insisted on being called Mara because she was bitter. She viewed her suffering as punishment from the Lord; however, her troubles would provide the means to God’s bounty. She sent Ruth out to the fields to glean, and Ruth wound up in Boaz’s field.  God’s providence was shown in that action. Naomi began to understand God’s sovereign working because Ruth was not led by human direction to Boaz. Later, Ruth went down to Boaz at the threshing floor and proposed marriage. After checking with a relative closer than he, Boaz took Ruth as his wife. They had a son, Obed, who would father Jesse, the father of David.

In all this, Boaz is the redeemer. He was a man of valor, never married or was a widower. He provided for Ruth and took her as his wife despite the fact that she was a Moabite.

Then she fell on her face, bowing to the ground, and said to him, “Why have I found favor in your eyes, that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?”       Ruth 2:10

Despite my past and being born an enemy of God, He chose me to be His and spend eternity with Him. I pray the joy of this truth shines through me as God plans my steps for the future.

 

Power

In sociology today, the question was asked, “Who has power?” The instructor flashed a picture of Quincy Acy throwing down a monster jam on the screen. I agree. Quincy not only has power above the rim but also off the hardwood. The way he has led this season’s team, been a role model to kids and a great father to his son, Austin, have all been testaments to the power he has had.

Power: ability to do or act

When Jesus ascended into heaven, the Holy Spirit was given to those who believed.  Acts 1:8 presents His last words to the disciples before He was lifted up on a cloud and taken out of sight.

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.

Power. Little, ol’ me will receive power. To do the will of my Father. Will my power ever be to throw it down like Quincy? Probably not, unless the goal is 6’. But this power will enable me to proclaim the name of my Redeemer, through my words and actions, to everyone I see.

Effort

Today in my HP, I had a group presentation. We created a workout for the class to do that consisted of toning stations and a scavenger hunt all over campus. Five minutes after we sent them outside, it started raining. Whoops. We told them they could come back inside if it started to rain, but they didn’t want to. After twenty minutes I went outside and herded them back into the gym for the toning stations. We told them what to do and showed them examples of what the different exercises looked like. As we watched them, it was pathetic. There was no effort what-so-ever.

Being a super competitive person, I was frustrated. Why would you sign up for an HP and not work to get stronger?

And that’s when Jesus thumped me on the head. Why would I accept Him and not get in the Word? He has given me instructions and examples yet my output is pathetic. There’s little effort.

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.  – Colossians 3:33

What is holding me back? Just accepting Him yet doing nothing is like me putting on a Baylor basketball jersey and acting like I would be playing with them in Denver. Wrong.

Be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.  – James 1:22

Look at March Madness. Every team plays hard or its season is over. The next round is not promised. They don’t just listen to what the coach calls and think it’s a good play; they go out and execute it. 

Why do I take His commands and discuss them with others rather than put them into action? My effort is lacking. He has given me examples of how to do it through the life of His son. The Bible is also busting with people who didn’t do it right. Learn from them.

There should be nothing holding me back. Tomorrow is not promised. Go hard or go home.

Weary

Y’all. I am tired. I am weary. I am worn out. I am fatigued. I am whatever other words are synonymous to exhausted. Tonight has been a battle between my bed and my Bible. I compromised; I’m sitting in my bed reading my Bible. When I opened it, I was reminded of Matthew 11:28:

Come to me all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

Alright. That sounds good to me.  Usually I just look at that verse and interpret it how I wish, but I read further.  It talks about a yoke and is kind of confusing.  I looked it up in The Message:

Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me, and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.

This passage is not about desperately needing caffeine to make it through the day.  It is not about all the homework your professors decide to give that will be due on the same day.

It paints a beautiful picture of grace. Often we try so hard to gain righteousness by our own words, chasing perfection but never quite catching it. This unattainable standard we set our sights on is killing us.

God says, “Come to me.” He does not say to fix certain things about yourself. There is no condition to your approach. Just go! When it says “get away,” I think of the beach, walking with my Redeemer on the shore as the sun is setting.  An escape with Him is where things are put back into perspective. He offers to walk you through things. His directions are found in the Word.

I like the phrase “unforced rhythms of grace.” Think about what happens when you’re alone in your room and your favorite song comes on your iTunes. You bust a move. Man, these unforced rhythms just come naturally, and you don’t really try at them either. You just let go. Let go and let God.

Back in the ESV, verse 30 says, “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” A yoke is a wooden frame used for pulling heavy loads. It was used as a metaphor for one person’s subjection to another. For the Pharisees, their extensive list of laws that had to be kept were a crushing burden; however, Jesus’ yoke of discipleship brings rest through simple commitment to Him.

So, run to Him. Cast the burden of perfection from your shoulders and put on His yoke of discipleship. His grace is something to rest in.

Conversation

After a long bus trip, I am home from Des Moines.  The bus I rode on was full of season ticket holders who love their Lady Bears more than anything.  It was funny because we received free t-shirts when we got to the hotel. As a college student I love free shirts, but these super fans were a little disappointed because they had their game wardrobe picked out already. This morning when we boarded the bus to return to Waco, most everybody grabbed at least two newspapers to read about Baylor from the night before, and the Lady Bears were the topic of discussion the entire trip.

Their enthusiasm for Baylor made me think about my enthusiasm about my Savior. Yes I love Him and He is first in my life and I am satisfied in Him, so why don’t I talk about Him more often? Why do I not eagerly grab my Bible in the morning (with multiple cups of coffee) to see what He wants to tell me for the day?

 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.    – Romans 1:16

I take pride in my team because they are No. 1 in the country and, more importantly, are solid on the defensive end. Well, Jesus comes to earth and goes to work telling people about his Father despite their hatred. He dies and then kicks death in the face by rising from the grave.  I mean, Brittney Griner’s two-handed slam against Georgia Tech was awesome, but Jesus has her beat. So why have I not brought that up in conversation?

I always say that I hope people can tell I’m a Christian by the way I live my life, but that is not enough.  Speaking truth to people is what I’ve been called to do according to Ephesians 4:1-2,5.

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching…As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

This week I pray that God becomes a part of my daily conversations.  I pray that He works through me to bring courage and boldness when I fear the response I may get.

Who am I to keep Him to myself?

His gift of salvation is so much more than a national championship will ever be.

 

Wait

I am a hot mess when it comes to being patient.  Earlier this afternoon I stepped off a charter bus in Des Moines, Iowa, that I rode for sixteen hours. And I couldn’t sleep. Imagine cruising through Oklahoma and Kansas at night…

Anyways, grumpy would be an understatement.  Waiting is definitely not a strength of mine, but that should not be used as an excuse. In the wee hours of the morning, I switch my iPod over to Jillian Edwards and Bethany Dillon because their voices are soothing and make me sleepy.  Bethany Dillon recently released an EP with a song entitled “To Those Who Wait.” Funny, Jesus. You would make sure this played.

 

I am waiting on You

I’m waiting on You

You say You’re good to those who wait

My heart’s discouraged so I come to You expectant

You say You’re good to those who wait

 

Lord today You know what I need to do

But You could do more in my waiting than in my doing I could do

So I won’t run anymore

I’m waiting on You

 

O wretched man that I am

Free me from my distractions

You say You’re good to those who wait

Then confession and repentance

Find me in the quiet

You say You’re good to those who wait

 

O my soul wait on the Lord

Keep your lamp filled with oil

O my soul be not deceived

Wait for Him

Don’t be quick to leave

 

This reminds me of Sarai in Genesis 16. God promised her husband Abram that he would be the father of many nations, yet she was old and had not born any children.  So, she had her husband sleep with her slave, Hagar. Hagar became pregnant and gave birth to a son, Ishmael. Sarah later sent Hagar and Ishmael away because she was jealous (Genesis 21.) Basically, if Sarah were to have waited on the Lord, Ishmael would have never been born, and we would not have another religion. Yet she thought she could fix the problem herself.

 

I do that a lot. I am very independent and I want to do things myself. But it is not bad to ask for help, something I ignore.  In the most recent Narnia movie, Eustace puts on a golden bracelet and becomes a dragon. He can’t fit on the boat anymore and the things he could do as a human weren’t as easy as a dragon.  He ends up by himself scratching at his scales trying to get them off. Then, Aslan shows up and rips off the skin.  Duh, that hurts. But the skin came off. No matter how hard Eustace tried, he needed Aslan to help him.

 

God will use our weaknesses to show his strength to the nations.  We should not become impatient when He does not help us right when we want Him to.  His timing is perfect.

 

But those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.  Isaiah 40:31

Image

I woke up this morning to the sun streaming through my window, my Bears and Lady Bears in the Elite Eight and a packed suitcase ready for a long bus trip to Des Moines. After grabbing coffee I was getting ready for the day when the song “What Love is This?” by Kari Jobe came on my iTunes.

What love is this that You gave Your life for me and made a way for me to know You? And I confess You’re always enough for me. You’re all I need.

That chorus brought an overwhelming sense of satisfaction in my Savior.

I decided to listen to the Breakaway podcast from last week titled Attraction that covered the first two chapters of Song of Solomon. Ben Stuart pointed out that we the readers know nothing about the appearance of this couple. However, we do know their character.

Getting ready to go to Des Moines, I was going through my closet looking for something to wear to cover the game. ESPN is there, and I want to make a positive impression to land some connections for a potential job in a year. After I narrowed the selection down to two, I walked in my bathroom and looked in the mirror. Dissatisfaction set it. I began to compare myself to the reporters I watch on television, always coming up with the short stick of the bunch. Normally, I’m not like that. At the camp I work at in the summers I talk with girls about their appearances but this time it seemed different.

Song of Solomon is full of metaphors that have both confused me and weirded me out. Stuart broke down the imagery and pointed out the words of the woman in verse five:

I am very dark, but lovely, O daughters of Jerusalem, like the tents of Kedar, like the curtains of Solomon. Do not gave at me because I am dark, because the sun has looked upon me. 

In that culture, the men found the exotic attractive. Think of the movie Mulan. When she is taken to the Matchmaker, she is robed, and her face is painted chalk white. Why? To distinguish herself from the women who were tan from working out in the fields. What the woman is saying in this passage is that she is dark from working out in the field, but even though that is not ideal, she knows she is lovely. This woman’s self image is right on! She trusts who God made her. She is secure in herself and trusts God with her life.

Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

Proverbs 31 describes the ideal woman. In the original order, Proverbs was followed by Ruth and Song of Solomon was after that.

Love God and look like it.

That stood out towards the end of the message. I should not be so caught up in my outward appearance. It will fade away. But my relationship with my Savior will continue to grow stronger and stronger, and that is what is most important.

If God blesses me with a job of reporting from the sidelines on television, I don’t want people to notice me because of my appearance. I want them to see Jesus in me.

Talents

So today I started out studying about the salt and the light in Matthew 5. As I read, I noticed that the lamp was not merely shining but was placed on a stand to maximize its usefulness. I started thinking about maximizing what God has given me.

This led me to the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25:14-30. The modern meaning of the word talent, denoting a natural ability, stems from the application of this passage to the stewardship of one’s natural gifts.

There’s a master who goes off on a trip and calls his servants to him. To one he gives five talents, to another two and the last one. Both the servant with five talents and the servant with two talents went out and doubled them. But, the one with the single talent dug a hole in the ground to preserve it. When the master came back, he was pleased with the ones who doubled their talents and angry with the one whom merely hid his money in the ground.

When the servants who doubled their talents present them to the master, he says, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.”

To the other, the master takes his talent away and casts him into the outer darkness.

Concerning the reception of five talents against two talents, this parable shows that the reward is based on faithfulness, not results. Salvation is found in faith in Jesus, not in how much we can do, which is so cool. I don’t deserve salvation and I definitely don’t deserve not to work hard for it.

After reading it in my Bible, I decided to look it up in the Message. I like the way this translation describes the servant who received the one talent. This is what he said to his master. “Master, I know you have high standards and hate careless ways, that you demand the best and make no allowances for error. I was afraid I might disappoint you, so I found a good hiding place and secured your money. Here it is, safe and sound.” That sounds a whole lot like me. My biggest fear is failure. I would rather play it safe than walk out on a limb and try something. I am such a people pleaser and I forget who I am living for sometimes. Galatians 1:10 is a good reminder in those times. “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

Back in the parable, when the master hears this, his response is solid. “That’s a terrible way to live! It’s criminal to live cautiously like that! if you knew I was after the best, why did you do less than the least?…And get rid of this ‘play-it-safe’ who won’t go out on a limb.”

Alright. God has blessed me with many talents, yet it’s sad how often I am complacent with using them casually. I should work hard and use them for His glory. If there is a talent He has given me that I don’t use, that is wickedness.

Go hard or go home. This brings me to March Madness. Each game is win or go home. There is no double elimination. If I were to live life like tomorrow was not promised (which is isn’t) how radical would that be? What is stopping me from going that hard on a day-to-day basis? A fear of failure. But, God has clothed me in His righteousness and placed me feet firmly on His grace. Nothing can shake me, so why not go for it?

 

“For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken.” -Psalm 62:1-2

 

Victorious

I am a Baylor student and a passionate fan of my Bears. Currently, we are smack dab in the middle of March Madness as both men’s and women’s teams have advanced to the Sweet Sixteen.  The guys tip off in hours, yet I am anxiously pacing until the ball is thrown up in the air for Perry to tip.  I do not know what the outcome will be and I cannot control it.  I have studied the stats and analyzed what I have seen of Xavier, but that does nothing for forty minutes on the hardwood.  The fact that I am extremely competitive does not help me wait for the outcome either. People say to play for the fun of the game. For me, it is only fun when you win.

As I was watching Sportscenter with my basketball in hand earlier this afternoon, I was reminded of a famous verse that has been taken out of context.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. – Philippians 4:13

We take that verse to mean that Perry will score 31 points again, Brady will hit nine threes and Quincy Acy will dunk over everybody because Jesus gives them strength.  This verse means that we can be content with anything because God has put us where we are.  We have Christ, so we can do what He wants us to do.

Victory, however, is in our future.  Maybe not against Kentucky in the Elite Eight to advance to the Final Four and wreck shop in New Orleans (although I hope we do.)  Revelation 19:11-19 talks of the battle.  The heavens open up and a rider called Faithful and True emerges on a white horse. White is most often seen as the color for purity.  It also symbolizes victory. Man, verse 12 describes the rider, and you would pick him over Michael Jordan in a pick up basketball game in the early nineties. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood. Back in Luke 8, Jesus is on his way to heal a man’s daughter and is walking through a crowded street. There is a woman who had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and no one could make it stop. She went up behind Jesus and touched the fringe of his robe and was immediately healed. Her faith made her well. As the white horse advances with Jesus, an army appears, also dressed in white atop horses of the same color. Who are they? They are the children of God…aka those of us who are Christians. What’s up?! Jesus does not need us to go whoop up on Satan yet He allows us to be in His army and go with him. Later in chapter twenty, the defeat of Satan is described. Not the possible defeat but the imminent defeat.

Knowing that I don’t have to anxiously walk around daily about whether or not I’m going to heaven or not, I am confident that I am His and that He will lead me to victory. So, after this game is over, I can watch it again with confidence because I will know the outcome.