Posts Tagged ‘hope’

the new year is here

I’m strangely sentimental this New Year’s eve.

Partly, this is because 2009 hasn’t been the best year for me in a lot of ways.  Partly, because newness always brings with it a sense of hope.  It’s a renewal.  A ready expectation for something else.

Neither do I normally make New Years’ resolutions.  This year, I have decided to make one.  It’s more a list of hopes for myself.  🙂

1) Talk to God – Seek even when I don’t feel like it.  Listen.  Fall in love.

2) Take time to write to Dimas – Shoot for once every three months.  Be more hands-on with my financial giving.

3) Try out different ethnic restaurants – Have fun doing it.  Get others to join.   Experiment, explore culture, enjoy life.

4) Keep in contact with the important people in my life – Call, write, spend time with them.  Invest in the lives of others and stop being so self-focused.

5) Spend more time in studies – Spend less time on the internet and watching tv with friends.  Carve out particular time in schedule to do school work instead of waiting until the last minute.  There’s a time for everything, but grad school takes priority.

Have a happy New Year’s day, everybody! 🙂

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We always want to have sense of knowing what is before us. There are those with whom the future prospects are of great concern, while there are others who “live in the moment.” But both extremities have to acknowledge that the future is a great and vast unknown, one in which there may be great anticipation or may be a cause for great fear. It would be nice at times to know what the future holds. Then at least we would feel some sort of control. And how desperately we seek to box in our future, to plot out the little details so that we would have even greater control. While there certainly is merit in planning and preparation (I’m not advocating that we do not do those things and do them well), we can’t ever really be prepared enough for the surprises that life brings us. To seize at control over that which is uncontrollable is an absurdity. So what is the proper balance?

I find my thoughts oscillating between present and future. There is something great about the anticipation of the new. The feeling is giddy, somewhat similar to the feeling one gets in starting a new relationship. Not only that, but in times of great change, there is a sense of renewal. I enter into this newness as in a ritual, allowing myself to be reborn into a new circumstance and new prospects. A new hope perhaps? It is in times like these that I appreciate it when Jesus says, “Behold, I am making all things new” (Rev. 21:5). He can and does breathe new life into our circumstances… always so that he may make things better, perfecting it. At least, that is my belief.

But because there are so many variables that are unknown about the future, it is also stressful. The “what if’s” and the “maybes” linger around and occupy our attention. We become nervous, fretful, frustrated — among other things — and perhaps there is something to be said about God wanting us to live in the present. Is not the faithfulness at the present more important than obsessing over how we will respond to situations that have yet to occur? Would we not be going astray if in getting caught up with thoughts of the future we neglect to do our duties to God at the present? The Christian walk may not be always exciting. In fact, there will be times when it is downright tedious. Maybe even horrible. But perhaps those times are most revealing about who we really are.

Did our Lord not impart upon us wisdom that speaks to how we are to live presently? He was very practical about his approach to our spirituality in our daily lives. This is something I appreciate in his teachings. As is recorded in Luke 12:22-34, Jesus said:

Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you.

Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

I do look forward to my tomorrow. But I will not overlook the blessings or the struggles of today. How can I not appreciate my Maker who is molding me with his very hands? I think I am very much in love with him. 🙂

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the old and the new

I am blessed.  God provides for me and loves me far beyond what any person is capable of doing.  And for that I am grateful.  I do not know where he will lead me still.  There are many uncertain variables.  But I am thankful that he has opened up some doors for me, even if part-way.  Yesterday, I received a letter from Andover Newton about my acceptance (I had previously found out that I had been when I called them, but it was nice to get the official letter).  In the packet were some forms which I hope to fill out sometime in the near future. I’m still waiting to hear about financial aid.  And I’m waiting to see if anything turns up with Gordon-Conwell, but I think that Andover is the better choice.

Oh, the bittersweet nature of graduation time.  Certain events have brought up painful memories.  At the same time, those memories were good and I do not wish to divest myself of them, and when it comes down to it, those things that happened have made me completely and utterly what I am.  I did not think events would have that effect on me, but strangely enough, they have.  I accept it as that.  They are things of old, but they are also part of the new, part of who I am becoming.

Our faith journey follows a similar path.  On the cross, a past event, we find a point of change, a catalyst.  From that profound and unique event, we embark on a journey.  A quest for our self in the vast scope of what it means to be human, and more importantly, what it means to be a child born of God.  Do we give up the pain of what it means to be Christian simply because it is painful?  Do we not accept the good and the bad and realize that God will use both for the best?  My God is certainly not limited by events, be it positive or negative, and I feel no reason to restrict him.  The God who has made from the same clay vessels both for honorable and dishonorable uses can certainly make from certain events good and bad results according to his purpose.   I choose to think that in these cases, he will use them for good, and in that, my hope rests that my God, the justifier and the just, will protect and vindicate his own.

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