Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The China Buffet vs. The Gym

"The foundational work of man is to nurture the place of encounter with his Maker."

This is a quote from Allen Hood that really struck me when I read it yesterday. I think the context that Allen wrote it in has more to do with "nurturing the place of encounter" by worshiping, praying and simply just spending time with the Lord. But when I read it I took it from another angle and it made me think about all of the things one needs to do in order to nurture the heart, soul, and mind so that you are ready for that place of encounter.

It's kind of like this...

On Sunday night I hung out with my dad and stepmom and some of their friends. We went to the Main China Buffet and we all ate a lot of food. I love Chinese so I fully enjoyed two platefuls of food. I enjoyed them so much that my stomach began to cramp and I realized that I totally overdid the eating thing. Generally over-stuffing yourself at a buffet is enough to give you an upset stomach for an evening but once morning comes you are good to go again. Well, I must have really overdone it because once morning came, my digestive system was clearly not functioning properly. The major problem with this was that I had to go to the gym for another session with my personal trainer.

As I got in the car for the drive to the gym, my body was crying out for me to go back in the house and sleep for another 3 hours while the digestive issues subsided. But I knew it was too late to reschedule and so I simply had to face the consequences of my poor eating choices the night before at the China Buffet. Well, about 30 minutes into a pretty intense workout I thought I was going to die, pass out, or at least puke all over my trainer. But I held it in and finished the rest of the hour, probably not performing as well as I could have had I not just gorged on spicy beef, frog legs, and that oh so delicious stuffed seafood roll.

Moral of the story... I did not nurture my body for the place of encounter at the gym that morning. Instead I thought little of my nutritious intake and partied hard at the Buffet. But of course, having this experience the very morning before I read this lovely quote by Hood really helped me to grasp this concept of nurturing the place of encounter with my Maker. For instance, if I spend 3 hours in front of the television (don't worry Carol, you have taught me well and this is just an example) the evening before I am to go spend 3 hours in the Prayer Room at IHOPNW, that place of encounter is going to be a little harder to engage in.

Whatever you let enter that is not of God, whether it be sexual immorality, gluttony (yes I already repented), jealousy, pride, you name it, if you enter that place of encounter with those things fresh on our plate, then that place of encounter is going to be compromised. You'll end up spending all of your encounter time repenting and seeking forgiveness and probably falling into a pattern of guilt and shame instead of focusing on the BEAUTY of the Lord. Of course the Lord is ready for those things, because He wants to release you from that guilt and shame and forgive you for eating too much at the buffet, but there are a lot of things that you and I can do to better prepare ourselves and nurture our heart and mind so that we can enter that place of encounter fully ready to engage with the heart of the Lord. And there are a lot of things I can do to better nurture my body for that place of encounter at the gym!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Where are the VOICES?

It's time to start this blog up again. A quick update... I moved back to Washington and I am an intern at the International House of Prayer Northwest in Federal Way. It's a 3 month program, although so far I'm not really sure if you can call it a program. There is not much structure and mainly I spend 8-10 hours a day in the Prayer Room, either praying, worshiping or studying. There is some class time which has been awesome, but mostly it's just me and God here. Lots of time to think and process, and time to just rest before the Lord.

And now for what has been on my heart...

My heart has always been heavily burdened for this generation and the hardships that the average teenager and college student have to get through as they try and "grow up." On Tuesday my heart was hit yet again with the reality of what we are up against. Gary Weins (the director of IHOPNW) was leading a discussion time and he mentioned that there are two "windows" into which we can look in and see the heart of God. The two windows were, fatherhood and marriage.

Neither of these were a surprise to me. It doesn't take much to peruse through the Bible and realize that God is all about fatherhood and marriage and that He often reveals Himself through both of those things. What struck me was hearing both of those things in the same sentence. I think something along the lines of righteous anger began to rise up within me, because when you put fatherhood and marriage side by side it is so easy to see how the enemy has attacked them, and the war is on in this generation to demolish both fatherhood and marriage.

I'm 28 but I'm a prime example of the way the enemy came in and attacked those areas in my life. I have nothing, no experience from my own life with which to compare the Lord to in the way of fatherhood and marriage. I did not see either of those modeled well, and as a matter of fact I learned to mistrust fathers and hate marriage. Now before you get all worried about me, just take note that I have come a long way and have been healed of many of those wounds. I am in the place where I would love to get married and I would love to be a mother, so naturally I would want my kids to have a fabulous and godly father.

Sadly, my heart is aching for the numerous young people out there who have had similar or even worse experiences as mine. Satan has attacked these windows into the heart of God so much that now these two windows strike fear, anger, hurt, and even terror into the hearts of so many in this generation. What's crazy is that I should never have made it to my college years before someone stood up and declared the way I have grown to know fatherhood and marriage as an ungodly thing and helped me to see them in the correct, godly way. I spent years not being able to relate to God as His beloved daughter, let alone His bride. I feared all of those things. If God was my father then that meant that he would leave me and reject me. If Jesus was supposed to be my bridegroom then that meant that I would eventually find Him to be unfaithful to my heart that already had so many deep, deep wounds.

I can't even begin to express in this blog the emotions that are welling up within my soul about this. I want justice and I want righteousness and truth brought forth in this generation! The attack is only getting worse. It's totally "normal" for a kid to grow up with an abusive or passive father, if they even have a father to begin with. And then when a kid has no father to truly guide them through life they flip on the television to watch the latest episode of Modern Family, in which a modern family is portrayed as a gay couple with an adopted kid, totally desecrating God's holy intent for marriage. These are the norms of our society and so far removed from the way God intended it to be.

But where are the VOICES? Where are the ones who are crying out that this cannot be? And where are the ones who are going to steer this generation back toward the way God intended it? To call forth the fathers and pray for the marriages? I don't hear those voices much anymore. I hear the voices of compromise and the voices of those who have very good hearts but yet no longer know how to fight. Are we ashamed? Are we afraid? Why are we not rising up? Where are we when they need us?