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Scared Silly January 29, 2007

Posted by amybeth in Life.
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I am a teaching assistant for an introductory psychology class. I did not realize that this class included an introduction to statistics. Typically, as a third year student, I should have already taken statistics but due to certain circumstances,  I am only now taking the class. Thus, the principles and formulas and such are not yet fully cemented in my head and now I have to answer questions from confused first years. Ahhhh. Anyways, I had hoped to start off the year with a good first tutorial, sounding strong and confident, ready to tackle anything they threw my way. But now I’m looking ahead to the first tutorial tonight and I’m just plain scared silly. I’m sure I’ll fake it well enough…but my insides will be quaking a little bit. The things I get myself into…sighh. But being scared aside…I’m quite excited about being able to actually teach a bit.

ps. Did I mention that there could be up to 200 students in this tutorial? Yikes!

Gates January 22, 2007

Posted by amybeth in Deep.
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Yesterday we had a guest speaker at church and he spoke from the book of Nehemiah. I’ve heard all sorts of sermons from Nehemiah, usually about building up the walls of the church, being ready with tools in one hand and a sword in another. This speaker, however, put a different spin on it. He works with disadvantaged youth in the downtown of Hamilton and as a chaplain for the prisons and has seen horror stories of broken lives. He talked of how these young people have had their walls completely broken down, their gates destroyed. They have no defences against all that the enemy is bringing against them. For him, Nehemiah is his hero, an example of one, who despite the seemingly impossible nature of the situation, returned to build up the walls and restore the gates. He asked us if we are willing to face the impossible and work with God to restore the walls in the lives of broken people.

I guess it hit me because I’ve looked at the anger and bitterness present in hurting people and seen walls that need to be broken down, but I never thought of how, instead, that could equally be a reaction from a place of complete defenseless and insecurity because they have no healthy defenses. How often have I turned away because it seemed impossible to reach someone behind their walls instead of interceding and standing in the breaches to provide some safe space for them to consider truth and love again?

Fact vs Truth January 22, 2007

Posted by amybeth in Deep.
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A couple days ago, my favorite authors, Brock and Bodie Thoene, posted an entry on their blog that really got me thinking. It was abou the difference between fact and truth…fact being what we see in the natural and truth being what God’s sees and plans to do about it. I’ve heard this preached or taught in numerous forms before, but somehow the way they said it really grabbed me. Since I’ve been pondering on it every day since, I thought I should post a link so you could check it out too. It really is worth reading.

You can find the entry at: http://www.thoenebooks.com/blog.asp?post=0&per=Jan2007&id=158

Scarlet January 19, 2007

Posted by amybeth in God.
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I was driving home today listening to WDCX. The host (or whatever you call him) was speaking with someone who had called in to answer a trivia question. The question was what color God used to refer to our sin. The answer was scarlet. But then he added a bit of trivia explaining that in Bible times, the color scarlet was associated with prostitutes.

That got me thinking. So many times in the Bible God lamented how the nation of Israel turned to other gods. He talked of it as though they were prostituting themselves. In some ways, that picture gets at the very core of what sin is. Its subsituting other things for God, turning to other pleasures to try to fill that which only God can fill. Its not so much a violation of a set of rules as it is a heart response towards the Creator. In fact, those rules themselves can become like another lover when we look to our adherence record for our security rather than God.

There are more analogies flitting on the edge of my thoughts about how the connotations of the color scarlet relate to sin, but I can’t quite pin them down. I think I’ll ponder on it awhile.

Huh? January 13, 2007

Posted by amybeth in Life.
1 comment so far

The other day at a gas station I saw the following sign:

“Without asking, we will clean your windshield and ask to check under the hood.”

How do you ask without asking?

Sacrifice January 12, 2007

Posted by amybeth in Deep.
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Heard a quote on the radio today:  “Sacrifice is giving up something you love for something you love more.”

I found that definition intriguing. How does it strike you?

Battle in the Heavenlies January 12, 2007

Posted by amybeth in Life.
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I know…based on that title you are expecting a post about spiritual realities – light against dark, good against evil. Nahhh.

I thought the title “battle in the heavenlies” was an appropriate description of our current weather situation. Ms. Spring is trying to skip ahead a turn and take over a season not her own, delivering her showers and warmth earlier. Currently, she’s the victor. However, every once in awhile, Mr. Winter reasserts his rightful place and lets forth a howling gust of protest as he did a few days ago.

And so the battle raging in the heavenlies makes its way into the inner sanctum of our homes wreaking havoc on our peace as we struggle with decisions such as which coat to wear – spring or winter – and whether to carry an umbrella or bring mittens.

Light Effects January 9, 2007

Posted by amybeth in Deep.
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The other day I was up quite early (early for me anyways). The atmosphere outside was beautiful. It was chilly, but the light had this gentle quality about it that made everything feel almost other-world-ly (I couldn’t find a good word for this). I spent some time looking out the window at an expanse of trees that at any other time of day would be described as dull, boring, lifeless. But somehow, in the early morning light, the bare limbs were transformed into a gorgeous expanse of golden color that was delightful to look at. 

The scene got me thinking about light. Most photography books talk about how the best time for taking photos is early in the morning or late in the afternoon. The light is best at these times and creates the softest, most pleasing pictures. Light at other times can be too harsh and light at noon can create too many shadows.

Well, that led me to thinking about how God is light. When he shines his light into a situation, even the harshest features of that circumstance are softened. When he shines his light on a person, the most unloveable can appear beautiful. Its a nature analogy for the truth that God turns all things into good for them that love the Lord.

But I also thought of how a judgemental person is described as cold. When I judge a person, shine my light to expose their sin, that light is cold and makes everything ugly.

May I learn to live in God’s light and to extend that light towards others.

Does God speak to you through nature?

Strength or Weakness? January 6, 2007

Posted by amybeth in Deep.
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I read a quote today: “Like Eve, we want to feel smart, but nothing is more ignorant than choosing man’s intelligence over God’s.”

I’ve never heard what Eve did characterized as wanting to feel smart, but take away the first two words of the quote, and the rest struck me. This is an area of great weakness for me. I’m known as fairly intelligent, but that’s not always a good thing, as many times my intellect can get in the way of my relationship with, my dependance on God.

I’ve struggled with the question of how we can be good stewards of the gifts God has given us yet not rely on them above our reliance upon God. To deny the gifts and not use them does not seem to be the answer. But what is?

Here are some examples to make the paradox clearer. Someone has an intuitive gift for music, the ability to play an instrument with skill and to lead others in worship. How do they know where the line between just playing with skill and leading by the Spirit is? For someone who wasn’t skilled at music, leading people into worship would clearly be all God, but for the talented one, the distinction can become blurry, only identifiable within his or her own heart. For me, I am very good at researching, considering the pros and cons of an option, and intellectually weighing things. But my heart longs to be led by the Spirit of God. How much is my use of this skill glorifying the one who gave it to me, and how much is relying on the gift and not the giver?

Today, when I read the above quote, I remembered how it is often said that a person’s strength is their weakeness. I know that my strength, my analytic ability, can also be my weakness because it won’t hold up in situations where God’s ways and thoughts are higher than mine. If I depend on it then, my intelligence will fail me. So, somehow, there must be a submitting of every strength to God, to be used under his guidance.

So…how does the gift remain servant and not master? I haven’t solved this yet, haven’t found balance, but my desire is to be led by the Spirit of God. Any other stories of strengths that can be weaknesses and how you’ve surrendered your gifts to be used of God as  he desires?

Hobknobbing January 4, 2007

Posted by amybeth in Life.
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Well, I wrote my first letter today to a famous person…well people actually. And they might not be really famous…but they are famous to me. They are my favorite authors…Brock and Bodie Thoene. I discovered that they had a website with a blog and that they welcomed letters, questions and feedback. So…knowing me…Ms. Questions herself…I had to send off a letter with a list of questions, along with a great thank you for their wonderful work that instilled in me a love of history that no high school class ever could.

Have you ever written, called, or met anyone famous?