Sunday, February 14, 2010

Just trying to love a little better...

So life here has got it's routine, but the people are always changing. Myself included. I have spent more time in a pool this summer than I have my entire life...just kidding, i was a fish as a kid. But seriously, i have my own part of the swim team, i teach the oldest and youngest groups of swim classes, and help teeny tiny little kids learn how to put their faces in the water and kick with some decency. And last weekend i competed in a swim meet. WHAT!?! We got 3rd!! I got 2 bronze medals myself in breaststroke and freestyle...who knew? And it made all my work at the pool pay off. The girls on the swim team took me out for coffee ice cream this week cuz they wanted to hang out with their cool coach. THere is also this lady named Enedina who has a nerve degenerative disease that is slowly eating away her muscle control. She is so wonderful though, and yesterday she came to the bible study that we have. Yesterday in my quiet time i asked God to help me be a part and witness a spiritual transformation, and guess what happened!!...Enedina accepted Christ on the poolside!! So incredible!! So things are definitely still challenging here, but my energy levels have skyrocketed and i'm loving it...and trying to prepare myself to come home, which we graduate in less than a month now. There is a family here, with 4 girls who are always at our house. And they are way too mature for the ages they are, and we just try to love them and give them all the attention they need because i don't think they get very much from their parents. I made cookies with the youngest, Noemi, and went on a bike ride with the other 3, Linda, Geraldine, and Naly. Their father came to know Christ aobut 15 years ago when he was training women to be he teaches dance classes here just for the joy of using your body for God's glory (appropriately).
And i just finished reading the Shack, and picked up Irresistible Revolution...which I highly recommend. I am remembering all the things I want to do with my life, starting by stepping across the poverty line and just loving better. It's the hardest yet most important thing we can ever do...that is the purpose of our be loved by God and to love other people.
And now i'm hoping and striving to live a holy and blameless 1 thessalonians...this is a letter of encouragement, for them to live this life, not a letter of condemnation for not living that way. God gave us his Holy Spirit to love others, and living holy and blameless alllows us to be near God and to love others the way he calls us to.
I love it here, and am excited to DO more of this, instead of just talking and learning about it. is your love? How well are you loving others around you? It's not a feeling, it's a sacrifice..
and for those of you who don't know...Ashley Ruder is engaged!
and i really love my family...

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

So lots has happened this week, and it's only wednesday...poop. I am being so challenged with everything. One of our team is leaving today for good. He doesn't feel that he can fulfill what God is calling him to do in his time in the DTS, so he's off to work in a food shelter for street kids in a Mapuche town. The Mapuche are the indigenous of chile. VERY interesting.
But he's leaving in about 2 hours. Two nights ago we threw him in the pool as a last hurrah, and the WHOLE DTS and the surfers from Cali are here for a mission trip. We were up till midnight just jumping in and out of the pool, slowly getting everyone thrown in.
Then last night something very sad came to us. One of the guys in our group is very close to turning his back on God. He's never really been loved, nor does he have an accurate representative of a father, so it's hard for him in everything related to Jesus and God. So pray for him. Don't let him turn to the ways of the world. We prayed for a while last night, everyone crying. There are events that have happened in our group that have divided us, but with this, and surprisingly Exequiel's departure, we are being brought back together. Half the dts is in santiago for CONOSUR...which is a gathering of all the YWAM's in chile, argentina, peru and bolivia. Lucky five of us are still here because we can't afford to be away from the activities here at the sports center and lose ministry opportunities.
SO pray for us all. For unity, perserverance and strength as this week lots is changing and so man y are coming and going.
In spite of all this i still managed to get to the beach to go horseback wonderful!!!
Full gallop canter whatever down the beach. And my horse loved the water so I was in the waves practically. I did get a little nervous and now have a blister on my finger from holding so tight. But it was well worth it. The sun,waves, and horse, and the laughter of everyone was a perfect reminder that God is in control. He loves us all and wants peace in our hearts.
Miss you all so much and wish i could get a bucketload of hugs!!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

A brief of the last weeks of class

I'm too busy to go into such detail...but here's the general idea...

Fuego de Dios...As you draw closwer to God, the fire gets hot. He refines you. It's hard. Don't seek easy and comfortable, it's not as incredible. As you draw closer to God, you find out he is and ALL CONSUMING FIRE. The only reason to exist is to glorify God and to have communion with Him forever. God is giving gems and jewels to live the best life that I can in my own unique and wonderful way.

Discipling the Nations through the New Generation
This class focused on learning that there are so many areas of society right in our own cities that need to be reached. We can cross social barriers, bringing Christ to them. Urban Tribes were the most interesting to me. The kids seek identity and acceptance, which is something that they can only find fully in the Lord. And this was a class focused on getting to know kids, relating to them, gaining their trust, and just reaffirming who they are. The very things that people all over the world are doing in and out of ministry.

We had a class called Levels of Development and Strategy that talked about Child development and at what ages things happen, what affects them for life, and how to best affirm who they are at every stage of their life. Very enlightening.

Sexual Restoration: Reaffirming and healing wounds of sexually abused people of all ages.

ATTRIBUTES OF GOD (finally, someone came and actually talked about attributes of God, not just the need to get to know God and that it's found in the Bible (DUH) and guess what, he was from Boulder Colorado, baby).
1. Identity of God:
God is living
God is personal
God is spirit
2. Transcendence of God:
God is infinite
God is eternal
God is unchanging
3. Character of God
God is holy
God is love
God is truth
4. The Perfections of God
God is omnipresent
God is omnipotent
God is omniscient
We incorporate all of this into our lives, and our relationship with Him becomes a journey beyond our understanding.

Shame and Dishonor vs. Glory and Honor
Brought to light all the things in our lives that made us ashamed of who we are, lack of value, or what we do, lots having to do with the way we were raised and the rules our parents had and the friends you had. I have WONDERFUL parents, but i already knew that. This class was taught by the same guy who taught about child development. Parents need to reaffirm their children, show their faults, show their children that they are accepted and valuable, never compare to anyone. The value that parents place on their kids can determine their child's destiny!

A guy from argentina came to talk about missions and how missions can be done anywhere...Missionaries are people who cross barriers...cultural, linguistic, social, economic, geographic. We looked at other religions and their foundations. We looked at ways to impact cultures and the power of world views. If Christians are still holding on to world views then they have not yet been transformed by the Truth of Jesus Christ. We are to lift up the principles of God. Don't be preoccupied with things that don't go against God's Absolute Truths. Be agents of change, show Jesus to everyone in all places in all settings. This is hard, but these nations and communities live in far greater blessing than those that go against principles of God.

Spiritual Warfare: recognizing anything that is your enemy. The church can use the power that raised Christ from the dead!! Make decisions after consulting God. Eve bit the apple because satan told her not to talk to God about it. And the most important thing to remember is....This is a battle that has already been won! Satan keeps trying to take lives from God, and he is succeeding, but Christ won this battle for us, we have to use that power to gain those lives back and to increase the Kingdom of God. There are 3 battle grounds: The Mind, The Mouth, The Heart...And all need to be protected. God gives us full armor for all of those things! We can't win this battle on our own, we need God's power. Eph 6:10-20 speaks of the armor of God: Belt of Truth, Breastplate of Righteousness, Footgear of spreading the Good News, Shield of Faith, Helmet of Salvation, Sword of the Word of God. Go! Fight! Win!

Living in the Truth-What you say has power
Words cause wound, and bring out old what you say.
Also, it is important to SAY the truth, and it will surprise people.
No lying...our culture accepts it. That's BAD.
We reflect God's character in what we say and how we say it.

And our last motivation class was FAITH AND FINANCES...Also known as GIVING.
You won't be able to pay for life with your own strength, you have to use God's power and have faith in that power. What is your character when you have money? when you don't? Does it change when you do? Our security needs to be in God, not in our bank account. Money effects our emotions, attitudes, and our relationships with God. Materialism is strong battle. And the best way to fight it is to give things away. It increases our intimacy with God. And tithing is important. THE most important thing we do with what we earn. It's not "i have to give 10% away of what I earn" but "God is letting me keep 90% of what I made!! how nice of him! it' snot even mine in the first place! And she gave us a long list of symptoms of materialism. The class then had a half hour break where we were to pray about giving something, blessing our classmates. Man was this incredible. The first guy to go felt that God was telling him to give away the only thing he had that he considered valuable....a ski jacket. SO, this gets deep. almost everyone felt that they were to give to him. Even me! He always borrowed my favorite scarf, purple and black checkers, so I gave it to him. Someone else gave him a soccer jersey, a book, a cell phone for his soccer school he's starting, and SOMEONE PAID FOR HIS ENTIRE OUTREACH!! THINK...if he hadn't obeyed God, God may have no blessed him with so much more!! I recieved about book about women in the missions field and the battle fought there, as well as mascara!! Don't know if i told you, but mine fell down the toilet. And it's like $10 here, yuck. Someone gave a video camera, perfume, headphones. It was interesting to see what God has us give, and all had to do with things that were a great part of who we are! To top of this story, we had a secret santa christmas party. I was sad that I had given away my purple scarf. Guess what i get from a girl i don't even know! a purple scarf AND purple earrings!! God is so good! This story is just exciting me so much sitting here. He is so good.

Our last class, which was followed by one of the best barbecue's ever, was on how to do an inductive bible study. Thanks to the navigators I have been doing that for 2 and half years! love it!

And class was done. the being poured into part ended and the time to see it all applied, to let it all manifest itself in me has arrived. Week one and I see the importance of everything I have learned. I see the importance of washing my hands before the Lord DAILY so today's dust doesn't just pile up on top of yesterdays. And once again, the theme, the humbling theme of CHOOSING it all, of making God more important than me, of getting up everymorning for my quiet time (which has now been moved to BEFORE breakfast...gag), of focusing on how to lift up others, when you pray for someone it's hard to criticize their character. You want to stir them up as Joseph put it. And it HAS been hard. The fire is hot here by God. He is refining me. But i cannot even express the ways he has changed me, the habits I have wanted to break for years are now being broken (slowly, but it's happening). Of being filled with energy from the waking moment because the first thing I get to do is spend time in the light of the Lord.

And this week was especially hard and it made me SO homesick. It made me realize so much about my fellow students and urging them to do their best. It's hard to see much of the positive side when everyone is negative and it seems that my journal is full of venting fuming and bitterness relief, followed by quiet time notes, and then the revelations that the holy spirit brings to me to get my eyes off of my surroundings back onto God. It's hard. It's so hard. But I'm glad i'm here. Satan still gets to my same struggles, but i'm learning to battle that and live in my identity of who GOD says I am, not who I think I am. Pride is hard to see, you know. Even low self-esteem is pride. Live one day at a time.

Group unity has been a big problem. We have no time to sit down and talk to each other. And the guys just struggle with their mosquitos and respect.

I did flowers for a wedding...Maia and Beto...thanks Ash for your inspiration, there are pics on facebook if anyone wants to see. I got up at 6 in the morning and did it all. The wedding was a dream...on the beach, no chairs, just sand in the toes.

God has been challenging me to increase my faith. Faith eliminates the pride of human effort because faith is not a deed that we do. Faith exalts what God has done, not what people do. It admits that we can't keep the law or measure up to God's standards. It is based on our relationship with God, not on our performance for God.

My wet suit got stolen too...stealing is the game the Chile plays with itself. I pray it will turn up.

Never decorate cookies for Christmas with 3 year olds, they don't get it. But chocolate no bakes are an international hit!

Question: Will you stumble over the rock? or build your house on it? Jesus is the rock.
Jesus allows us to know God. He is wants makes God understandable, otherwise He is beyond our tiny minds.

2009 was a pivotal year....I graduate from college and life is no longer planned out for me. I stepped out in faith and am finding a new direction.
2010. What do I want to do with this year? It's actually a really long time.

And i'm learning to play guitar. The callous thing is hard because i spend so much time in the pool I have to place twice as long to not undo everything I worked so hard for.

And TRULY love people. Jesus would never fake love anyone. Take genuine interest, dont just be polite. Love them because they too were created in God's image. Love and forgive as Christ does.

Faith and Love are my push right now.

Did you know that 3 is a special number for homesickness? 3 days, 3 weeks, 3 months. This week is the 3 month mark. It's been hard, i just want to say that again. One bad moment for me sent half the week spiraling out of control. But i regained my footing in the end of Romans where it talks about Love. God can guard your life, bring joy. You need his help for you to be able to love Him to your greatest extent! Ask Him to increase your awareness of Him, improve your obedience. psalm 86. Let the spiritual realm of your Holy Spirit be known in my heart andmind. And give me an undivided heart! He can be your strength and your attitude, your words, your love, your example, sustainer, and guiding light. romans 15:2-Please my neighbor for his or her good, not mine; 15:5-seek commin ground. 15:13 As God is giving me encouragement I must also bring the Spirit of Unity that I am looking for. 15:14-Then i'll get the joy and peace because I am trusting in Him. God knows I am capable, complete in knowledge and competent. Then i glory in Jesus Christ. Be refreshed with other believers. AND desire for the peace of God go be with you. Thank God for the grace given to the people around you. And be so glad that it is not with Human words that the gospel is spread.

And i rode a ride last night that is a law suit waiting to happen in the USA. It spins you around, no seat belts, and then kinds shakes when you're at the top of the circle. there'll be a video on facebook for that too I think. And it'll be here all summer ( my summer...yes, I'm sunburned as we speak).

And as I continue my outreach I remind myself that the kingdom of God is POWER, not talk. It has to be lived, not just talked about.

So it's been a while....

AND there is so much to share. God has done SO much in my life and the lives of the people around me. So much has happened since the Nov 24th post, i should have been updating more but i have SO much to share i never found ENOUGH time to write it all out!! i may start doing shorter posts,and some may be incomplete because i may get called away from the computer at any moment. Since november, we finished our classes on Dec 22, i'll share a lot about what i learned in the last month of the theoretical phase. I celebrated Christmas here with an awesome family on the base. Then on Christmas night 9 of us started a long treck to argentina to renew our tourist visas. We stayed for 2 days in San Rafael hanging out in the great outdoors, walked for miles looking for some water to swim in and finally found a beautiful river flowing down from the Andes. And a girl named Becca from England and I rented cruiser bikes and biked all over one morning and found ourselved picnicking in a cute park with big fountains. Then I came back and we all started planning the 1st Annual Pura Vida Surf Competition that was last saturday. This was the kickoff, as we call it, of our 2 months of outreach and evangelism that we'll be doing here in Pichilemu. We are the first in 17 years to stay here for the summer. This week I spend countless hours in the freezing pool teaching kids to swim, and I even get to coach my own part of a swim team. (In spanish!! yikes!!!!) I will also be helping with volleyball classes, English classes, and a few other things. But we basically are starting what people in the US would easily and typically find in every recreation center. But sports programs, and non-corrupt ones at that are VERY hard to come by in Chile, especially in small town Pichilemu. SO you can all get a perspective of this wouldn't even have a Wal-mart. It's not tiny, but it's not even Wal-Mart worthy, so it needs a lot of work. and as a bonus, most of the classes are free or very cheap. VERY. And that doesn't really matter much to us because it's all about the relationships we build with the people walking through those doors, living in integrity before them, and making sure that they know that everyone is special in God's eyes. Schedules are still a struggle, initiative is still lacking in our leadership, so i'm growing in patience and just going with the flow. And we're all having a blast, which is good. We're tired, and the girls are blessed with a cute little pink house (beach house on the outside, log cabin on the inside) while the boys are sleeping in the classroom we used and it's infested with mosquitos. Poor guys. But they're working it out. And four days of quiet times got stuck on the same 4 chapters at the end of Roman's and God lead me through those verses very intentionally in accordance with what i was struggling with, learning, and needing to hear to be encouraged. My focus should always be on Him. Filled with marvelous thoughts of Him. Not focused on what I need to be doing to solve the problems that I feel I have, but on Him and His destiny for me, that He's already put inside of me.
Speaking of Destiny.....I have wanted to share this with you since I had the class at the end of November. I guy named Joseph came from Tennessee. He doesn't have a home there, but that's where he calls home. He spends more time speaking all over the world than he does at home. And before I begin I have to note that my notes from him are 9 pages, front and back, so this no way will equal what he taught us the week he was here. But he was a man sprinting straight into the arms of God. Our destiny is the preplan that God has made in our lives. It's already in you, you just have to take it, believe that God is truly big enough to make it ALL happen. You don't have to go anywhere to find it, it's already there with you. You have to stir it out of yourself, and stir up other people's destiny's that are within them. God has put all of His glory in your clay jar, but God wants that jar to break. And until it's broken, God's glory won't come out. And when you need encouragement, the best thing to do is to be an encourager yourself. PLUS, when you're so focused on encouraging other people you don't have time to get distracted with yourself, to get bitter, to be tempted by sin. Satan has a mold he wants to fit you in, and he gets you in that box by lying. He first lies about who God is, and if you believe that, then he lies to you about yourself. Cuz if you believe a lie about GOD, who never changes and is verywonderful, you will easily believe a lie about yourself, which in turn separates you from God. The lies are lies that prevent you from walking in who you are in God. Stirring you up creates dreams and taps into your destiny. God WILL change you. He will rip your heart out, show you your lies, take the liesout, puts it in with truth, and then puts your heart back. Your identity is WHO GOD thinks you are. He lifts our heads from our paths to His face. We seek Him, and our destiny unfolds before us. Some boxes that satan puts us in: Intelligence, Appearance, Money, and what you do. The last box is the biggest box. Our world tells us that it's what you do that makes you who you are....that is a LIE!! Your destiny is never ever ever ever ever ever what you do!! It's who you are becoming!!!
It's important to remember that we are predestined to looking like Jesus. The bible says, away from me you evildoers, for I never knew you. He wants to know you, to know what you bring. He created you, but do you share with Him? have loud times with him? He wants you to open your heart and tell Him who you are. Jesus learned obedience through what he suffered. He didn't come to earth knowing everything. He had to wrestle with God, with who he was. Remember, Satan challenged him and his identity too. Romans 12:2...THEN. Do not conform any longer to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. THEN you will be able to test and approve what God's will is, His good, pleasing, perfect will. Your life is broad, His holiness is narrow; not the other way around. He sees us like a baby, we can't do anything without his help. The baby isn't thinking about what next. The baby isn't worried about anything! it is a SIN to worry about your life or anything. Worry is an external manifestation of an internal fear. Fear comes from not having something that you need or won't get, or something that I have will be taken away. Faith and Fear CANNOT coexist. it shows that we don't have faith. it's puts us in boxes. Daniel 11:32b: Satan is lying to us, blocking us from seeing who we really are, because if we even get a glimpse of that he knows we will change the world! When you get an accurate picture of who you are IN GOD you can change the world. YOU + GOD= The Majority. And like what is happening with the boys...Anyone who believes that one life cannot change a life has never spent the night with a mosquito. And when your identity lines up with who you are in God, you begin to do the works that God has for you. If you keep getting your identity from the world, you'll always be lacking and you won't get to go onall those adventure's God has for you.
It's also important to remember that we are God's KIDS, not servants. Servants don't inherit the house, the children do. Children have rights that servants don't. God wants children who are willing to serve, not to be servants.
There are 5 gospels...Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and YOU. What God do people see on your pages? You cannot hate yourself and love your neighbor. You can't be self-conscious and turn around and be Mother Theresa. I am beautifully and wonderfully made...David believed that was his identity in God and so God made him a KING!! God has so many thoughts of us, of who He knows we are. God IS love, he doesn't DO love. And the more that your self-concept looks like the self-concept of God's, the mroe of the world you will change.
How often do we ask for God's help? as daughters and sons? Begging God to provide for your needs is the prayer of the orphan. But we are His children. Even Christ had to ask for help carrying his cross. He wants to give us everything we ask for! that's why we can't just simply ask Him to provide for us, cuz clearly he already is or we wouldn't be breathing and eating. God wants so badly to give us everything we ask for! and He CAN provide and HE loves us so much He will provide it if our faith lines up with it. The size of our faith is how big we think God is. Orphans look for survival, they are not thinking about their father who provides everything!
Have you ever asked God what he thinks of you? Ask Him, you'll be surprised.
Remember, your value is not in what you do, it's in who you are in God.
And as you walk as a child, you don't worry about a thing. God has a picture of you on His fridge! How are you going to show the world that your God is trustable if you go around worrying , just like they worry. Their worry wouldn't change in coming to know your God. We have to walk in faith FOR THE WORLD TO SEE, that is our gospel that the world sees. Let God love you, that is all He wants, and in that kind of love you can conquer the world. You have to LET God love you. When you find yourself worrying, you need to ask God for a fresh revelation of His love for you. I did this, and He showed me. It was incredible. And I believed it was from God.
So I want to ask all my readers, are you dreaming? Sons and Daughters dream. Workers just look for survival. God doesn't want you to do that, He wants you to let him in and love you, to fulfill your dreams. If God were in a board meeting and you knocked on the door, have no doubt that He would adjourn the meeting because you are there and YOU ARE WHAT HE LIVES FOR! God will answer your dream and then ask you...WHAT ELSE DO YOU WANT!!! IT"S YOURS!!! When you start dreaming you wake up God. He gets so excited taht you are dreaming. you can't slow Him down once you start dreaming. So will ignite you walk with God so you can start dreaming WITH God. He loves it!
A lie that satan tells us is that our sins are the deepest part of us. But they are not!! You have to go through them to get to your dreams. God wants to heal you of all that so He can bring out what is strongest in you...your destiny. Staying away from your wounds is safe, you can get religious without having to get real with God. So how big are your dreams? How big is your God?
Joseph pointed out that it's sad that we're trying to get people into churches instead of trying to get God's kingdom into the people. Show people you have something deeper than all your junk, you have the power of God working with you to fulfill your destiny. He related the light of God to the facets of a diamond. This reminded me much of my grandfather who used to facet stones. when we listen to the lies of Satan, it's like we are diamonds covered with mud. God's light can't shine out (or in!) to reflect His holiness.
There is so much about me that I can't change...and God made me that way on purpose, with a deep purpose i'll never fully understand. My family, nationality, birth order, gender, race, age, body, etc. And all of these things have specifics of why we are that way, and GOD USES THAT! The enemy wants us to compare ourselves to others instead of glorying in His creativity and power, something unique in every culture that only they have, that is very descriptive of WHO GOD IS! That's why EVERYONE is so different because God is so many things, He expresses who He is in His people so we may know Him better and to be assured that He exists. Everything about your destiny is about Him, your place in Him.
The biggest insult to God is comparing yourself to other people because you are telling God that He messed up when He made you. That He made someone else better than you. And He DOES NOT see you that way! Walk up to a nation, look past their junk, stir them up and ask for what they ahve that ou can get only from them. When Christ sends us to the nations, it is to share your Jesus with them. To spread your gifts around the nations AND collect what they have.
Satan somehow knows your calling since your birth. He tries to make you regret decisions you made in Christ. When you try to rationalize sin, it brings out the idea that we get to decide what is and isn't sin, once again making what we do define who we are. When we do good things God loves us, when we don't, He doesn' a lie. God ALWAYS loves us. We are to worship God in's not something we do, it's who we are that worships Him. We have been put into various boxes by satan. There are 8 to be specific: Linguistic, Math-logical, Spatial, Musical, Bodily-Kinesthetic, Interpersonal, and Naturalistic. In our school systems, we use 2 of these, and only 30% of the worlds population best learns in these 2 Satan has made it look like 70% of the world's population is stupid! SO they can't dream because they are stupid according to the world's standard. Universities are full of math and language people who raise up more math and language people so they can look down on the 70% of the world that is not math and language. So don't be put in a box by the world!
There are many types of Spiritual Gifts that people have. Everyone has all, but some are more prominent than others. Motivational: Perceiver, server, teacher, encourager, giver, administrator, mercy/compassion. Ministry: Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, Teachers. Manifestational: wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophesy, discernment of spirits, tongues, and interpretation of tongues. And Joseph goes on for about 6 pages describing all of those...too much for this space and time.
So he asks....Why am I here?
What do you do? what jesus did. What are my hours? 24/7. What's my pay? Eternity in heaven. It is your destiny to look like Jesus, so what you do is what he did. The more you do what he does the more you'll llook like him. Make your own testimony! your own gospel! don't rely on others! Show others God in you, what they don't have and what they need. Luke 12:49 says we are called to bring a raging fire to the earth, burning with the love of Jesus. So where ever we go we catch people on fire. A nation is discipled when you can see the lordship of Christ in every area of society that influences the world view of the people living there. Those areas are: Arts/entertainment, Business, Church, Distribution of information/communications, Education, Families, Government, Healthcare/medicine. And anywhere you can do the work that Christ did is spiritual.
With tears in his eyes, Joseph finished his week here with a story of Greta in the 1984 Olympics. Miles ahead in the marathon, it took her an hour to go the last mile. She said, if you don't want to have pain, then don't enter the race. She was supposed to win. And She was hurting BADLY. But she kept going. Why? Because of her Coach at the finish line, standing there with his arms wide open, ready to say good job. Satan is counting how many times we fall down, but God is counting how many times we get up. Your race is your own race, and you have to allow God to finish what He started in us.
Christ did not come to enprison you, but to SET YOU FREE! Let the whole earth flood with His kingdom by finding His fill for you here. Keep your eyes on your coach and Keep. Moving. Forward.
Don't let your past keep you form running into the future.
And remember... You are God's child and your picture is on His fridge.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

DIOS ES.....(God is...)

So another week has passed, crazy!! It's flying by! This week was pretty laid back. Nothing super-inspirational or super-spiritual. God is teaching me the lesson that life won't just be fed to me, even in YWAM. One of the very first classes we had way back in October, was Intimacy with God. I had to really search that out this week. And as the week went on, I needed help with that more and more. God gave me two words to work on: Holy, and Helper. I am to strive to be holy; God is my helper. I have been trying to get to know more and more WHO God is, knowing characteristics about Him. It always seemed to be a challenge, and here God is giving me words to remember and to focus on.
Classes this week were very thought provoking, and challenging: things you have to CHOOSE to incorporate into your life.
Monday, we talked about Submission. It is about humility first and foremost...caring about people before yourself. One important thing to remember, and one thing that is very misunderstood in Christianity, is that submission is NOT subjugation. it is not forced. it is not demanded. it is done out of LOVE. Men and women BOTH do it. And when people are willing to do this to one another, there is UNITY and power. Think about how powerful the Christian community could be if they could unite with LOVE for one another. Phil 2:1. Without humility, we look at the cost of what we do, not at what we WILL GAIN! (like the world for Christ!) Submission is a weapon with a guarantee of victory. It is important also to note that when you are submissive to God, you are submissive to everyone. And this looks different in everyone's lives. This builds great integrity for us. When you submit for your well-being, so God can do His greatest works in and through you, you are showing how much you honor, and love, and respect, and appreciate yourself. And when serving God is your lifetime project, you will serve many people (with the Golden Rule!). It takes great humility to do this for people who love and care for you, but even more for people who don't (persecution will come, but you will impress them with your heart of servanthood and submission). You have to be constantly inserted into God's divinity so nothing else can enter you, it's a fire that will protect you! People will see you, they will follow you because you follow God...He is simply irresistible! So the question we have to ask is, Do you want to be a servant? or do you want to stay outside of God's glory?
That night, we also talked about a Spiritual Covering. Submission and covering go together. You can't move without a covering (like our skin!). Our covering watches over us, and acts as our protector of our well-being. I'm covered, like, I have life-insurance. It's a security that God is with me. If you give your life to God, you are covered by Him. He takes care of the things I can't. And by allowing Him to cover us, we are protected to do things we couldn't do without Him. God will cover you in your mistakes. HE WILL PROTECT YOU.
Tuesday we talked about Faith. It is God's power in action, it is dynamic, it can grow. It is a product of God. If we want to have faith, we have to go to the one who has it, otherwise, why would you need it? No human can create faith, it comes from Jesus. Faith is not seen. Faith works because of Love. True faith is founded on God's word, not man's. God's hand doesn't move because of our needs, but because of our faith in Him. If our situation with God is out of order, our faith is out of order and His power can't work in us. When you choose to walk with God and you want His blessings, you have to have FAITH that that will happen. Many people have Bibles, but how many lives does it actually affect? they don't have faith that it will. You have to have a faith big enough to believe in the things you are praying for. A BIG faith WILL change the circumstances for which you are praying. We live in a world of senses. We respond to our 5 senses. When we act according to faith, we ignore our natural senses and live in what God has for us. Hebrews 11:1 says, 'Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see'. This is present tense. God supports himself on our faith. It is real, and it keeps us until what we have faith IN manifests itself. AND: we CAN'T think, force, feel, or produce it, that's God's job. We create it in ourselves, in our hearts. It is a spiritual possession, it is invisible. So when we believe in our hearts that we receive something when we pray, God has begun to grow our faith in the amount of time that it manifests itself. If our faith fades, we don't receive what we prayed for. And the Enemy is afraid of people with faith. it gets stronger as it is used. The enemy tries to take our faith. If it is in our heads, where it can be reasoned, He can take it, but in your heart, it is safe! And the verse that I felt got me to Chile, is Hebrews 10:23. Let us hold unswervingly to hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful. Hope is future. Our faith gets us there. What is your measure of faith? We have the same Spirit and force that raised Jesus from the dead living in us, our faith is that faith! If you're a Christian and are looking for a faith that can get you anything you want, wake up! You already have that faith! Our faith moves God's hands. Your measure of faith will be tested. A persistent faith is not moved by temptation, and does not get prideful when God uses us. Our faith needs to be focused on God and expanding His kingdom, in everyone's lives, and our own first. If God is with us, who can be against us? And our faith, rooted in the word, WILL affect people. Know what God wants you to do. Obey what He shows you to do. Trust that He does what we can't. If we want to see God act in our lives, then we have to believe and have faith that He can.
Wednesday, we talked about Faith and Finances. To sum it all up, if God calls you somewhere, He wants you there, and He will provide the resources for you to be there. And tithing shows that you trust Him to multiply what He HAS given you. AND, our treasures are in heaven, and that is where our heart should be as well, not on our paycheck. Tithing gives money to God's kingdom, it opens heaven to send back blessings. We have money, He CAN multiply it, you just have to give it to Him.
Thursday, we talked about Loyalty. Loyalty and faithfulness go hand in hand. We have to have TRUST in God. And He needs to know that we will follow no matter what happens. And it comes with having a WILLING HEART!! We do face attack and spiritual warfare, and in these times it is hard to be loyal. When it comes to the Great Commission, it requires our whole life. If we have the truth of God, we have to give it. It's hard, God calls me to have the same enthusiasm I had when I got here, and at times that can be a challenge. But I do desire God to continue to change me and my character, and to be used by Him. And that requires loyalty. No matter what happens, I will follow. And I have to always have a willingness, because the blessings will be greater than giving in. You are being disloyal to God when you refuse to confess or repent of sin. You have to make it right, or God will not bless the path you are in to the fullest extent that He can! It is not easy to live in loyalty to God's word. Living in holiness is being loyal to God's word. Treating people right is living in loyalty to God's word. When you are loyal, God will give you what you reach people, to start a church, to pay your bills, to get a good night's sleep. This is for everything!
On friday, we had the challenge to teach our own class. But we were all given roles. And my role was translator! I guess I haven't talked much about my spanish, but I have had to translate a few times from spanish into english. And I had to that day!! It was so exciting! I understood practically everything, and was faced with the challenge of people who don't realize how much respect and patience is required for people in that arena. I was excited, and I'm glad my spanish is getting so good. BUT i still need to be working on my gringa accent.
THis weekend was awesome...we had the Olympics. For all the single people on the base....and here, single means not married, so engages people participated as well. That occupied most of saturday, and sunday was pretty laid back, played ping pong and learned a group salsa dance, so fun!!
This week has started off wonderfully and i´m gonna wait to write about it till the end because it is going to be lifechanging for sure!!!!!!! I´m over the hump, wish i was home for thanksgiving, but i´ll make some mashed potatoes and stuffing, maybe i´ll find a turkey too.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Change is a Choice

Sorry it´s been a while, it´s been a busy 2 weeks. And i made a promise to myself to use the internet less...i get you guys when i get back home. And that´s so many more fun things to do than get on email, like go to the beach and lay in the sun for an hour before class.
So...let's start with classes!!
We've covered MANY topics over the last 2 weeks, and i've been able to see a change in myself, it's been really cool.
Monday, Nov 2, we talked about a Clean Conscience. We talked about whether our conscience is a good thing or a bad is something given to us by God to remind us of His principles and to help us stay on the right path: a weapon given us so we do not sin. However, when we repeatedly sin, our conscience becomes dulled. Proverbs 32:3 says, "When i kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long."...Sin has it's consequences, when we try to silence the voice inside we experience physical suffering. After repeatedly silencing the inner voice, it develops a hard covering, and the only way to restore it is to draw closer to God. And if we have gotten to the point of searing our conscience, God will find another way to speak to us. As a result of our sin we may feel guilt OR conviction. Guilt is not from God, Conviction is. Conviction urges us to repent, to change what we did, and understanding the pain that we brought to God's heart. We have to silence the voice of Satan, Recognize our Responsibility, Confess it All, and Find Restitution (which has to be the size of the sin). And the greatest thing about Sin, and restitution, and a clean conscience, as well as everything else we do, it is a one is a victim of their character: you can CHANGE. And choosing God's path will always bring blessing to your life. AND we take away Satan's authority over our lives. that in itself bring confidence and peace, clarity and stability, power to overcome temptations, freedom to come to a new stage in our friendships with everyone, and it brings PHYSICAL health. Remember how i said that i was really changing? it's true, i'm experiencing all of this. And when it comes to the physical healing, i have a story about that. I have been harboring bitterness and sin in my heart and mind for a few years. I started cross country right after getting cut from volleyball my senior year of highschool. So running has alway come along with negative thoughts, and lies told to me that I am incapable. When I began to process through all of this and renounce all of this, I felt a physical change. I went running two days after and it was the easiest run I have had in as long as I can remember. I TRULY run better and lighter than ever!
The next day we had a class called Free Us From the Claws...very cheesy, but still awesome. It was to recognize and break the Enemy's strategy. We had to see Unhealed wounds, Sin, and Binds in our life, and get rid of the shame that satan brings. Shame is the first claw in the heart, and the last one taken out. It's hard to feel without shame. Because of these things, we have great FEAR...fear of man, fear of being hurt, fear of being rejected. People HAVE hurt us, they have not respected us. They have opened doors that Satan can get into and out of with great ease. The door stays open til we close it by repenting, or forgiving people who have hurt us and breaking binds that hold us. He went through different doorways we may have: early sexual awareness, sexual abuse, ignorance, neglect, disobedience, sin. We are to break any lies that hold us and to live and let people know that through the blood of Christ and through renouncing any of these things we are CLEAN and FORGIVEN, and we do not have to be held accountable to those things any longer. And we can't ignore open doors, and don't have to worry about doors that we have already closed!
We spent wed, thurs, and fri talking about SEX: the Lie and the Truth. VERY interesting. we went through the value of sex and of our sexuality, the purpose of it, Family values: what parents teach their kids about sex and how kids learn about sex. If parents don't educate their kids with the truth, there is a world FULL of dangerous and false information they turn to to find out about it. We talked about abuse of all kinds, myth's about sexuality, Sexual relations, fornification, masturbation, homosexual relationships, lust, the list goes on. We talked about the risks of youth having sex and premarital sex, STD's, birth control and lack thereof, abortion. We went through the 9 months of pregnancy, statistics on child development (results of abuse, information obtained, physical development). We talked about the physical side of relationships and the progress of relations while dating engaged, and married. And it was cool because she talked about all this Biblically, Culturally, and politically, financially...we looked at it from so many different perspectives and how people are hurting from what they have experienced in their lives in many of these areas. We finished by talking about marital relationships, adultury and the effects of pornography on your partner. It was very educational and gave me a lot to think about.
This week began with the Father Heart of God. Do you see God as a father? He asked us questions about our own parents (and I couldnt help but feelings VERY lucky and blessed to have the parents he gave me). The main theme was: Children have rights that servants don't. Many of us are just simply servants, we don't look to our Father the way we do our earthly fathers. But what God wants is a child willing to serve. If we are following Christ's example, God is FATHER. When we see Him as our father, we can move ahead in our IDENTITY and know or value in God, we receive Self-Esteem, and have SECURITY so we can rest in God. And then we dug deeper into the characteristics of God the Father. Think about all the things that your earthly father is willing to for you (amazing, i know), God wants to do all that for us too!
Tuesday we talked about the Authority of God. Authority is delegated and legal. God has all authority, and gives us authority as well. In the Great Commission, Christ gives us God's authority. That is HUGE!! we can do SO much with that power if we take hold of it. It is a gift, it is to bless and free and heal us, it brings redemption. It comes from our identity and from living and walking in integrity. Honor God in private, through time with Him, and He will honor you in public when you need Him. Don't worry about impressing people, God will do that. It doesn't matter if you have the approval of people, you only need the approval of God. Get to know God so you can use His authority. CHOOSE, resolve mentally and with determination to rid yourself of your sin. This DTS changes people, things are different. WE choose to live in God's blessings, as a free servant. And the authority we are using, with our testimony, will be backed up by a transformed character. Wednesday we talked about Obedience. This is the greatest thing God asks of us. Is obedience to Him. And when we obey, we live in God's blessings. My destiny is to live in God's blessings. And i CHOOSE to live in blessing by obeying God's word. And it's important to remember that obedience in parts is still disobedience. God will bless you in what you do, but he will bless you MORE if you choose to live in the dreams that He has for you. Ask yourself: DO you go after the blessings? or the God of blessing? the "consequences of obedience" are: We will be blessed, We defeat the Enemy, And it is a testimony for those who don't know God so that they may know Him too.
Thursday we talked about Self-Esteem. Who am I? God's truth about you is different than what you believe about yourself from your friends, family, and culture. God says we are: Created in God's image, His children, God's work of Art, Beautiful, Precious, And worthy of Honor. People look at appearances, but God looks at the heart. It is not wrong to think about how you look, what people think of you, but remember your motivations behind it. I AM A DAUGHTER OF GOD!
And Friday, we talked about Serving. Think about a stage. Do you ever think about who made the stage? NO! what matters is what happens on the stage, the hearts of those who perform, the hearts of those who see the performance and change because of the performance. If you built the stage you may want credit for it, but, as a true servant, you are happy to be building the stage because of everything that will happen onthat stage. We read the verses that made me get my tattoo...Nehamiah 8. the JOY that comes from serving. FOR THE JOY OF THE LORD IS YOUR STRENGTH. you should be affirmed for what you are doing, but that shouldn't be the focus of WHY we do it. We do it for God. Seek excellence, not perfection (only God is perfect). We are asked in the Bible to work as if we are working for God, not men, and that perspective changes the heart with which you work. Col. 3:23 says Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.
SO...outside of classes!!....I blew fire. It was amazing. We had the March for Jesus, where we walked through town singing and praying and dancing and holding signs, and blowing fire. We were supposed to have better training, we learned to spray with water, and then the first time i actually blew fire, i was IN the parade. SCARY!! but amazing. And sports have improved exponentially. Running is fun, i've gone surfing a few more times, played lots of soccer, and had more Jesus Boot Camp. The man named JuanDavid made a circuit for us in the gym, and then some sprinting stuff outside. IT WAS SO HARD! And I was so sore!!! for like 3 days! But i'm finally feeling stronger and more capable. love it.
I was a pingpong nerd for Halloween, thanks Kira! Some pics may be up soon from that.
I may have mentioned that the Directors youngest daughter has Down Syndrome. She is wonderful. Last thursday was special education day, and kids from her school came to hang out with us for the day. We played sports, did skits, ate snacks, and just enjoyed these kids. That day we were also fasting with all YWAMers all over the world....thousands of people were praying for leaders in China, for people to have religious freedom there. It was really cool to be part of that. My friend James had his birthday this week. And guess what kind of cake he wanted....German Chocolate. SO we made him one. It looked like Vomit, but tasted amazing. Brown Sugar is so hard to find here.
Early this week we had a cabana clash. The girls in my cabana, and me, all started clashing. Leaders vs. students. It was really bad. No one thought anyone was playing their role. So we had to work through that. Three cultures, six girls, 2 positions, all in different walks of God. Now that is a challenge. i am learning so much from these girls. The honeymoon was over. The director said this was normal for this time, so we just had to work through the glitches and learn what it means to love in spite of. It's all better now for the most part, and we have a girls night in a few hours. I'm excited.
The director, Mitch, has been asked to be in a movie. It's about a gringo who comes to pichilemu before the coup in 1973, and it's him here and everyone thinks he is part of the CIA. He is never seen again though.
So that's pretty much what i'm doing. Minus some details of everyday life. I came here without a life, and now I have one. I'm learning things, moving away from any bitterness and critical attitude, and really trying to CHOOSE to CHANGE. It's hard, but I'd rather face those challenges now with a great support team by my side than later on with no one to help me. I am very lucky to be where I am and to have lived the life I have. I do miss my family and friends, but the time will come for me to come home, so i'll just be here fully now. i'm speaking better spanish, eating better food with the frequent chocolate overdose, running more and more, trying to be less and less lazy, working on submission and punctuality and obedience. I want God's blessings! I want to be HOLY. So here's my verse to finish with
Revelation 3:20: Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Taking Out the Trash...

That title has many meanings. And i have actually have to take the trash out in ten minutes but i couldn't wait to tell everyone all the wonderful things God is doing and how He's helping me take out my own trash. This week my work duty has been to pick up trash and trash bags from buildings and all over the YWAM property. SO humbling. FIrst of all, i'm by myself...human accident, God's intention. One thing I have to say first is that trash is all over the place here. When you walk in the street you see bottles and bags and wrappers. Coming from having a smallest piece of trash contest at Eagle Lake to thinking i'm going to murder whoever it was that gave styrofoam to Chile is quite a big step. But i have to pick up trash from the dining hall which is is flimsy black trash bags that easily rip. And then don't have garbage disposals or dishwashers so EVERYTHING but water gets tossed into the cans. I have had goo flung at me. Then when i get to the dumpster, the trash guys came, a bag had been wripped accidentally, so instead of peacefully controlling the situation the trash guys leave it for the wind and dogs to spread out, all over the hill i spent the day before picking up trash. It's just a different mindset. and another gross piece of trash information...they can't flush toilet paper down the toilets, it'll clog the pipes. So you also have to pick up what i like to call poopy paper bags. Girls have their own mess, and guys only wipe for number two, so you can just imagine the horror i have been facing this week. and yes i did just talk about it on my blog. Then i empty other trash cans in different buildings. THere is no such thing as a vacuum here, no real carpets, so everything gets swept. And then that gets dumped into trashcans that don't have solid sides. so the piece fall through. and no one puts the trashbags back into it. SO it just makes a mess again. God has taught me lots through this: first, i made friends will all the stray dogs that live on the base. my favorite (ComeNunca-translated to eat's never) follows me around, and even let's me pet him after i pick up the poopy paper bags. Second, God's land is beautiful and we need to keep it that way, but with or without trash nothing compares to the beauty of Him and eternal life with Him. Third, I need to do things right the first time, take it easy, and have patience. I get stinky, I get sweaty, the sun is bright, but i've made lots of friends trying to find trashbags and gloves and wheelbarrows.
And on top of that, we've had Jesus boot camp for sports this week. Monday we learn dances and skits that we'll be doing on our outreach, and we'll actually be doing one this weekend in the Marcha de Jesus. Tuesday, James took us running through the greenbelt, then made us do 20 sets of stairs, jumping stuff, and sprints. THen we ran back, some people lifted weights, others danced, and some played ping pong. Ping pong is now our sport of choice, we're all getting pretty good! Then Wednesday, Carlos, one of the trainers here, made us run circuits on the side of a hill, then sprint up, run down, and then streeeeeeetched more than ever. Felt SO good. He also taught us about the importance of our attitude while we work out. Sports are another artistice expression, we need to let the Holy Spirit run with and for us. It's for physical abilities to increase in other areas of our lives as well. Yesterday, sports time became Tie Dye time, and I taught everyone how to tiedye, what to do, patterns, colors. And as i type my fingers are still slightly purple. SO I am sore and tired, but feeling GOOD!!
And through all the taking out the trash and Jesus boot camp, my classes have really been rocking my world. I am healing and overcoming and forgiving and releasing and repenting in so many areas of my life. Monday was about Pride and Humility. I have SO much pride...who made me queen of the world around me? Pride is what got Satan kicked out of heaven. I need to LIVE, not act my faith. Pride destroys you, wages war against your soul, it is an illness, it is selfish and individualistic, i'm not the target of any injustice. And humility is a CHOICE. All of the things I learned this week are something you step into out of CHOICE, sacrifice, submission, and when you do it is freeing and beautiful in ways that I can't even describe. It is a constant process of breaking yourself, of surrendering your rights. We live for GOD'S glory, not our own.
Tuesday, class was about Sin, and Repentance. Sin is not an accident, a sickness, a need, or a weakness, it is another CHOICE we make. You are breaking God's law. ANd that hurst HIM as well as you. Everytime you sin you put Christ back up on the cross. Repentence is not an emotion, it is a choice to change your attitude and your actions. You become transparent and are willing to give up whatever it is that is causing that. You recognize the sin, Confess, Abandon that sin, and then make restitution. Do you decide to walk into the sin before you? or walk with God? Christ is waiting on the cross for us to repent.
Wednesday, we talked about forgiveness. I had MANY things to forgive. There is a difference between wanting to seek vengeance from someone, and forgiving them, like Christ forgave us. Forgiveness is looking back on something and not feeling any pain. And that is HARD. But when you do that you are so freee! You put your selfishness aside, and we don't demand what we think people owe to us for hurting us. It redeems relationships.
In acts, a man name stephen died for his beliefs, in front of Saul. ANd because of His death Saul was saved, He came to know Christ, and became Paul, and saved SO many people after that. And Christ did that for us on the Cross. Forgive them father, for they know not what they do...
Thursday, the girl who sleeps on the bunk above me, gave the talk. It was about renouncing our rights and the humbling action of doing that. Jesus gave up a lot of things, and we need to too. He renounced a dignified birth, perfect love from the father and Holy Spirit (when he went into hell), His reputation, and His own life. We renounce to give total Lordship to Jesus (he is not just our savior), for personal benefit, and to evangelize to the world. As a missionary, you have to be willing to renounce: your food, your own home, your own land and culture, material things, your dreams, your reputation, money, freedom, and your own life. If the Lord is with you, then that is enough.
ANd today we talked about HOliness...You can't just contain a problem in your life, you have to get rid of it c0mpletely, eradicate it, so it doesn't come back. WE need to eradicate many things in our past so we can focus on and be useful to the Lord. Say to yourself, the blood of Christ sets me free.
There is just so much everyday, i am loving it here. I am redeeming relationships, and taking up walls that i've put up, and it is truly incredible. The Holy Spirit is MOVING!!!!
God is perfect, and figuring out how to dwell in His glory, like the temple that Ezekial forsaw, allows us to be holy, to walk towards Him, away from sin, and into LIFE!!
Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let uis run with perseverance the race marked out for us.