Knowledge for Action

The things that have gotten me through the last few days include, but are not limited to:

1.) My amazing cohort

2.) Cheery phone calls home to family and friends

3.) Motivational penguin

4.) Pictures of kittens

5.) the Word of God.

I keep a little list titled “Walk with Christ Passages.”  It’s sort of like my QuoteBook (which contains absolutely hilarious or particularly poignant gems from different conversations that I’ve had, TV shows, etc.), but it’s exclusively passages from the Bible that have been convicting or excellent reminders of important truths.

One that I reread today I labeled “Perspective.”

Perspective

1 John 2:16-17, 20-21 ESV

For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth.

Here’s my little summary of the main points from this time around:

– “the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions” are a) not from God and b) not permanent

– the will of God, and those who do it, are here for good (in both the sense of good vs. bad and eternal permanence)

– those of us with the Holy Spirit have a knowledge that we need to be actively embracing and using

These things seem pretty basic, but I seem to forget them, or at least fail to employ them, constantly. “The desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions”- that sure covers a lot.  It probably covers most of what I spend my time doing and thinking about. It covers what I’ve decided I want for my life. It covers the adorable, but frighteningly-priced $200 dresses that I see on Pinterest. It covers my cravings for take-out and chocolate when I’m starting to get stressed out. And yet, these are the things that are frail and are passing away.  Why, oh why do we lean on the frail things when we have a strong, holy and perfect God who isn’t going anywhere? I’m supposing it has something to do with the brokenness that introduces these distracting desires, but the passage reminds us that broken is not all that we are.

We have the incredible gift of the Holy Spirit and the knowledge that we are frail and these desires are frail. That is a gift in and of itself. If you don’t know that it can be harmful to spend hours and hours under the blazing sun without sunscreen, you won’t take precautionary steps. You won’t change, and you therefore won’t get better, but rather continually worse. But we have this knowledge- and we can and should use it!  I love the wording here- “I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it.” For all that we don’t know about what’s happening tomorrow and what some of the significance of what happened today or yesterday may be, we know the truth and we can therefore discern what the lies are. We can tell that something is a little wrong with the cracking branch we’re putting all of our weight on, and then we can turn with confidence to what is surely right.

True Talk: I’ve felt a little bit like I’m at the beginning of a marathon with all of the busyness going on in my own life and around me right now, but this isn’t even the main marathon that I’m running. This is a jog halfway down the block that coincides with the race that I’m running to and for Christ- a race where I live according to His will and for His glory and can’t help but bask in the perfection of both.  This is a journey where my love for Christ and the people around me needs to radiate more than my love for my research interests or theory for practice.

I get really excited when I hear songs on the radio that have a unique sound and are still sharing the truths of the Gospel and Christian life. One such song is “Oh How I Need You,” by All Sons and Daughters. As they sing,

“Lord, I find you in the morning

Lord, I seek you every day

Let my life be for Your glory

Woven in Your threads of grace.”

I love this stanza. I find God in the morning whether I want to or not. I wake up breathing, mentally functioning, and excited about different things. I discern and reflect.  I seek Him whether I want to or not- I think that we all do. (C.S. Lewis worded it famously and excellently when he said, “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”). And I pray that God will use me for His glory. I’m so thankful that He reminds me again and again that I know the truth. Through His grace and His love, I know the truth. I’m praying that He will continue to turn each of us more and more towards knowledge and towards action.

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Called to Blessings

Well, it’s almost Thanksgiving!  Unfortunately, due to this new schedule that I so excitedly advertised a couple of days ago- wait, a couple of MONTHS?!  Um, anyway- Parakaleo is no longer on Thursdays, and it’s no longer weekly, so I won’t be able to do a post on Thanksgiving.  However, I’ve noticed that a number of people have taken the opportunity to spend the month listing things for which they are thankful, which I think is fantastic!   One of my friends is researching gratitude and its effects and did a very interesting presentation that revealed many positive effects of being thankful.  (I’d like to note that this is a prime example of science and faith overlapping.  Many people think they’re mutually exclusive, and I’ve found the opposite!  Science makes my faith even stronger and challenges me to think about different things.)

Thankfulness is such a huge part of who we are as Christians.  In Colossians 2:2-7, we read, “My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments. For though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit and delight to see how disciplined you are and how firm your faith in Christ is.

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

We are called to give thanks to God, which brings me to a rather exciting point.  Just as the way we are called to love is something that we should express throughout our lives, thankfulness is as well.  This suggests to me that we will always have something to be thankful for, just as there will always be someone to love in Jesus’ name.  It is a tremendous blessing to be called to thankfulness as part of our lives in Christ.

So I’ll hop on the Thanksgiving list bandwagon, too!  I’ve mentioned my gratitude list in the past on Parakaleo and today, I’d like to share some more of it with you.  Don’t worry; there are currently 224 things on the list- plenty to go around.  I might even have one to add- I’m thankful that the things that stress me out in grad school are things that I either love and find fascinating or know that I’m going to be able to use.  Oh, make it two- I’m thankful that I can be stressed, but not depressed.

This is exactly how this list got to be so long.

15.) clean water

22.) contentment

55.) AP Bio  (What?!  I know.)

70.) those really, really, REALLY tiny seashells that are so small that you can barely see them on your pinky finger.

78.) dance

79.) memories

100.) being able to count this high.

134.) taking criticism constructively

151.) chai tea

158.) sentences that you can’t finish because you’re laughing so hard

177.) chapstick

195.) that someday I’ll see home, and spend all of eternity with my Father and Savior who loves me more than I can even dream of loving, in His peaceful, beautiful, perfect heaven

209.) pressing on to take hold of that for which Christ took hold of me.

210.) that God can do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.

Fun fact: By the end of this post, the list was at 234, due to the fact that I kept thinking of more things to add as I scrolled through my list.  Dear readers, what’s making your gratitude list today?

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, everyone!

p.s. I was looking back over my blog for other posts on thankfulness to link to, and found quite a few!  I’ve included some of them in this post, but if you would like to see more, search “thankful” in the search bar right underneath the Parakaleo banner at the top of the screen.