As long as I live there will be something worth fighting for, worth writing for, and worth dying for.

Monday, February 9, 2009

There is a Time

And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.
Luke 10:41-42

I have heard this passage many times before. The sermons usually center around being a Mary not a Martha. It wasn't until a day or two ago that I first read this story in its context. It was a context that intrigued me and made me realize that maybe we are preaching the wrong approach.

It is very important to spend time at the feet of our King. It is very important to have a time of devotional fellowship with Him. To fail to do so will cause harm to our Christian life or stunt our growth. The problem comes when we believe that the only position of the believer is sitting in front of Jesus.

The story immediately preceding this is the story of a Good Samaritan. While Martha was encumbered by service, this man honored God through his service. Before that story, Christ informs people that inheriting eternal life comes not only from loving God but from loving our neighbors as well.

And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.
Luke 10:25-28

The story of Mary and Martha is demonstrating that there is a time to love the Lord. The story of the good Samaritan is that there is a time to love others. No life is healthy if only ever spent at His feet. If all we do is draw closer to God and love God without expressing that love to others, we are empty. Our life is only half full. There is a time to rest, and we can't judge each other for resting, but there is also a time to serve.

Friday, February 6, 2009

A man and his wife, scientists by trade, decided to go on a trip. A backpacking trip, mind you, through the neighboring mountains. It had been a while since they had shed the starched white lab coats and safety goggles to explore the great outdoors.

As they began their trip, they chatted with each other excitedly. They were grateful for the time alone together. Too many hours had been spent in different wings of the lab. Three days alone together seemed like a second honeymoon.

Hours wore on and the couple at last reached their campsite for the night. Relieved, the wife sat down by the campfire and stared up at the stars. The night was quiet, and she spent moments breathing in the fresh air and staring into the endless darkness of space. Her husband sat beside her for a few moments, gently holding her hand. He got up. Within minutes the night silence was broken by the crackle of twigs and brush underfoot.

"Honey, what are you doing?" His wife asked.

"Oh. Just looking around."

"Come back over here and sit by me."

"I can't! I am a scientist! I can't sit still. There is stuff to be understood, to be discovered. There is much I could learn. Why does this tree grow like this? How can this moss survive in this climate? How can you just sit there staring off into space. Get your notebook! Make observations. The night wildlife is fascinating."

"I'm more fascinated by the stars. Aren't they beautiful?"

"Well, yes dear, but the stars... that's all been seen before. Nothing new there. This... this is new, fascinating, exciting. I wonder what it is. I want to understand it. I'm going to get up early tomorrow to investigate these strange holes in the forest canopy. I wonder what lives up there."

The next morning, the wife found herself enjoying a trail breakfast on her own. With amusement, she watched her husband attempt to climb a large oak tree. After many failed attempts, he glared at her in frustration.

"I could use a little help here." The sarcasm was thick and the anger was evident.

"Help with what?"

"Getting up this tree."

"Why do you need to get up the tree? You can see the leaves just fine from here."

"I need to get closer! I need to take measurements. To evaluate. To analyze why this tree has grown this way."


"I am a scientist. It is what I do."

"Well, this scientist is going for a walk. The leaves are beautiful and I can see them just fine from down here. You climb your own tree."

With that, she began a leisurely stroll through the surrounding wooded area. She spent an hour lying on the bank of a rippling brook. Even drank water from a crystal clear spring. For hours, she wandered through the breath-taking scenery and made her way back to camp. Her husband was obviously disheveled and annoyed with something.

That night, she slept outside on the ground, staring up into the stars. Her husband climbed into the tent and slept. In the morning, they packed up camp and headed home in akward silence.

When the work week rolled around, coworkers commented on the drastic difference between husband and wife. When confronted with the reason for her joy and refreshment, the wife says, "For once, I put aside my agenda and my training to just step back and enjoy this world. I didn't have to understand how it worked. I didn't have to be running an experiment or making some discovery. I enjoyed the simple. The things that have been studied over and over and over again. The basics. I relished in those. I knew the time would come for great discovery, but while the earth was quiet, I learned to quiet myself and I found rest."


This is true with our spiritual lives sometimes. Too often we get caught up in knowing more about God. So caught up that we forget that knowing about Him and knowing Him are two entirely different things.

As humans, it is our natural tendency to stress about details. But Scripture tells us not to worry. We are concerned about our futures, but we are promised a future of hope. We get caught up in the details of the faith. What does the Bible say about this or that? What Bible study should I do next? What passage should I memorize this time?

We get caught up in motions and when our spiritual life seems to lack motion we feel there is something wrong. We panic. We being to worry about the fact that we are worrying. We begin to despair over being in despair. We get so caught up in ourselves that we forget to just be. Just be in His presence. Just fall in love with Who He is. Just take one moment, and instead of tearing apart the hidden meaning of some obscure passage, find the treasure in the stars of the familiar.

God does not promise us a life of constant activity. He knows we can't handle constant activity. He knows we need time to just rest. There is a reason why, in Psalm 23, the Psalmist says of the Lord,
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul:

Lie Down.

If you are at a slow point in your life, embrace it. Lie down, be still and let Him restore your soul.

Monday, February 2, 2009

At the moment, my mind is torn between two different topics. On one hand I want to write about 'fairness' on the other, I have been greatly intrigued lately by the thought of love and our inborn desire for it. I had fully intended on writing about 'fairness' as it has been a topic of much discussion recently, but instead feel led to banter on about the human heart and its need for love. It is February, after all.

I wouldn't call myself an expert in the field of love. I would call myself an expert at desiring it, but as far as understanding it, I cannot. What is love? really. More than that, what is it with humans and our desire to be loved?

A friend and I were talking today. We chuckled when we realized that we both struggle with the problem of losing focus when it comes to loving God vs. loving men. It isn't that at any point in our lives we hate God; we just find ourselves distracted by butterflies, by fleeting thoughts of our knight in shining armor. The temptation is ever-present, to take measurements of men around us and see if they will fit in the suit of armor we have in the halls of our heart.

Many are taught to ignore that. Taught to fight through life without getting too close to people. We wouldn't want to get hurt.

We do more harm than good when we promote such reaction. That longing is a God-given one. More than that, it is meant to be filled by Him and Him alone.

For this month, I have decided to read 1 Corinthians 13 every day. I have prayed that God would teach me to love. Not the roses and chocolate covered cherries love, but the love that sees people the way God sees them. The love that knows our flaws and our weaknesses and still perseveres. That is the only true love.

As hard as I try, only one person will ever fill that need, that desire, and that is God. As I read through my Bible this month, I want to take note of the different 'needs' that Christ fills. Today, I was reminded:

Christ is my Protector.
Christ is my Provider.
Christ is my Healer.
Christ is the Source of Wisdom.

When it is all stripped away, we realize that all we ever need finds itself fulfilled in Him.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Linebackers and Princes

Welcome to February! The month of 'love.' This month I really want to make it a goal to write on here daily. We'll see how well that works. I cannot guarantee that all of the posts will be lengthy or deep, but surely February is filled with enough topics and few enough days to generate substance sufficient for a daily blog.

Today's topic: Nobility.

It does tie in to the topic of love. In recent discussions with a young man, he mentioned that number one thing he was looking for in a wife was noble character. That being said, it was in my best interest to figure out exactly what that meant. What does it mean to have 'noble' character? I was pretty sure I had it... but then again, if I couldn't define it, how could I know? As I sat here in front of the computer, checking my various emails and websites, the thought crept up to research the exact definition and meaning of 'noble.'

Modern-day man has a problem with 'old' words. If it can't be shortened into texter-friendly symbols then it is no longer worth speaking. I wouldn't say that I am completely immersed in the text world... my text messages are written out and take up all 160 characters I am allotted. It is a last resort for me to shorten "you are" to "u r." Still, this man had used a word that I should know the meaning of but didn't.


It has many definitions, actually. One thought is-
distinguished by rank or title.

My rank or title does not distinguish me as noble at all. Jessica Harris, high school math teacher and monitor. No noble blood runs through my veins. This is referencing the nobility- the kingly line. Royalty.

Then there is another thought-
of an exalted moral or mental character or excellence; lofty: a noble thought.

The first thing that popped into my head was 'holier-than-thou.' Lofty. Lofty just kinda shoots the idea of noble out of the sky. It makes it sound most unpleasant.

very impressive or imposing in appearance; stately; magnificent: a noble monument.

Again, not exactly fitting the bill here. When I think of imposing in appearance, I think of a linebacker. THAT is imposing. Somehow the connection wasn't being made. I don't see how thoughts, linebackers and princes are all able to be defined by one word.

Then, yet another definition for 'noble.'

of an admirably high quality; notably superior; excellent.

And then things started to make sense. Noble serves as an adjective. It describes something. I looked up its synonyms in a theasarus (two more anti-text words... look em up). Want to know the thought that noble carries?


Seriously. That is the idea of 'noble.' It causes whoever is near whatever is noble to step back and say, "Woah." It brings admiration and respect. Think of a princess. She is stately and elegant. When she walks, speaks, smiles... people say, "Woah." Think of a large monument, a world wonder. People stop and say, "Woah."

So what this man is looking for in a wife is someone who causes others to stand back and say, "Woah!" Not because she is going through with this attitude of "I am so amazing" but because her character and conduct set her apart from the rest of the pack. Some more modern words for 'noble.'

dignified, excellent, benevolent, charitable, courtly, cultivated, dignified, distinguished, extraordinary, first-rate, generous, gracious, great-hearted, high-minded, honorable, humane, magnificent, meritorious, refined, remarkable, reputable, splendid, stately, sublime, supreme, sympathetic, upright, virtuous, worthy

I see a few words in there that ring a bell. One really sticks out because I just read it yesterday. "Virtuous"

Prov 31: 10 "Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies."

Who can find a noble woman...

Go one step further.

Who can find a princess...

A little too far, a little eccentric. Probably. That's exactly why this question is asked, "Who can find her?" Look at what such a discovery is worth, "far above rubies." Rubies. Not silver or gold. The author chose rubies, a brilliant radiant gem. A virtuous/noble woman is worth far more than that.

So, Proverbs 31 becomes the standard for living a life that makes people step back and say "Woah!" And it is a standard greatly lacking in our age. Women are encouraged into full time careers, to climb to the top of the corporate ladder and proclaim equality and leave the husband and children behind. No woman belongs 'bare foot and pregnant in the kitchen' they say. They cry for justice and for tolerance. They have murdered the woman God intended for us to be. By no means less than man, but a fulfiller of a completely different role.

Look through the 31st chapter of Proverbs. See how it references the husbands relationship to his wife. He cherishes her. If I had something that was priceless, I would cherish it too.

As a side note, the rise of the modern women has also murdered the Godly man. The prince we all dream of marrying... we killed him. When a young man strives to serve a woman she, in her climb up the ladder, ridicules him. How dare he treat her like she is incompetent? Who does he think he is to open her door? To offer his arm? She can handle herself, thank you very much. And so, our quests as Miss Independent leave us very independent and, consequently, miserable.

Today, too many women have a price. They can be purchased with money and the promise of power and respect. Young women do not know what it means to be noble. To be above the pack. To live by a different standard. A noble standard.

As daughters of the most High King, we are Daughters of the most noble birth, and it is high time we refine our skills and live the life of a princess. Strive to live a life that catches the world's attention and makes people step back and say, "Woah!"

A fancy suit: $300
A plastic face: $2000
A master's degree: $20000
A woman who fears the Lord: priceless