Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Selfless Sacrifice

Oops. I have a blog, don't I? I'm sorry I've neglected you. Life's been busy. So much has been going on, and it's rather annoying and hard to deal with sometimes. Some of it has been nice, but it was kind of like the calm before the storm.


I've been trying to keep up with reading, so I've been reading My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers. There is some GREAT stuff in there, a lot of which I haven't thought much about.


There are a few things that I haven't thought about before that now keeps coming up: selfishness, selflessness, and sacrifice. (Ooh, alliteration!) While selflessness and sacrifice go together, selfishness is the odd one out.


Selfishness is what prevents us from being selfless and being willing to sacrifice. It's taking ourselves into account first, which isn't what God commands us to do. Someone I know has said that there's a three-tier structure of how to think. God first, others second, self third. Last. On the bottom. Yeshua had to get on his hands and knees to wash his disciples feet. Servanthood (bahaha, more alliteration. You'll never get away from it!) is also part of being selfless and sacrificial. But just because you are willing to be a servant doesn't mean that you are one.


I got the opportunity to serve at a retreat center this past summer and it was amazing. I loved being with everyone there and doing everyday chores with them. I enjoyed the chores...until I got home and had to do dishes. I hate doing dishes. It takes forever because you have to clear the table, put stuff in the dishwasher, take care of the extra food, wash the pots and pans, sweep under the table, wash the counters and the table...there's just so much in relation to setting the table. I keep thinking of this as time that I could be better using by working on homework, writing, reading, learning music, playing piano, playing with my brothers, etc. It's all about me!


Well it's not. When has it been about me? Never. We might grow up believing it to an extent. I know a four-year-old who is the oldest in his family and he's spoiled on a few levels because his daddy especially, loved giving him treats and stuff. Then his little brother came along and he quickly learned he had to share attention, toys, (Mommy and Daddy) with this baby brother. He thinks he's the center of the universe. There is only ONE center of the universe, and that is God. But we don't often think that way. We're too wrapped up in our own little world where the weather is too cold, the food too bland, the house too frigid, the internet not working. At least we have sunlight, food, shelter, and even things that have become commodities - cell phones and computers. I know I take things for granted sometimes.


We keep forgetting about the selfless sacrifice that Yeshua made for us. Being selfish isn't His way. It's Satan's. "It's MINE!" I've heard more than once. Sadly, I hear similar words from myself. "You are my friend and nothing's going to change that," or "I got up early and showered for church and now we're not going." The second instance happened just this week. I wasn't thinking about the ramifications for my family. If I wanted to go to church so badly, I would have thought about helping the rest of the family get out of bed, ready for church, and breakfasted, I would have thought about the weather outside - cold and rainy, I would have thought about the rest of the day - Mom and Chad, my stepdad, going to a wedding that afternoon and my sister and I would watch our brothers. But no. I showered, got ready, and lay on my bed reading for an hour and didn't even come down until, as I later found out, after church started so there was absolutely no chance of going.


Selfish things. If I had been thinking about everyone else in my family, I would have remembered the wedding and the weather and that they would need help getting out the door anyway. If I thought more about my sister, maybe we wouldn't fight as much. If I wanted the best for her and tried to make them work.


Recently I've been thinking of this in terms of how I've been viewing life ahead of me. I've been so focused on "me" that I'm forgetting what I need to do know so that I can pour out to others in the future and not be so selfishly focused on me. Which means, now I need to sacrifice my desires and selflessly think of others. I need to consider them more often than myself and try to do the best for them.


Stop thinking selfishly. Start thinking of selfless sacrifices.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Power of Prayer

There can be miracles...when you pray!


Yesterday, on the second-to-last day of September, I sat down at my computer, preparing to write. I wrote, but something gnawed at me to look back at the testimony I wrote the year before, October 9, 2009. I read through it and was in awe once again of how God answers prayers. I decided that it had been about a year since my last testimony, why not rewrite it to reflect this past year?


So I started doing that. I pulled up old prayers and journal entries to see how God connected the dots. Miracles happened. Lots and lots of miracles. But they only happened when I sat down to pray and to let God do the work.


Last summer, I read a book by Eric Ludy called The Bravehearted Gospel. It's a very manly book, but it stirred me so much. I remember praising God for giving Eric the courage to write this book--it stirs you to the bone! Recently, I lent my copy of the book to a friend, and earlier today he told me that he was really enjoying the book as well! Since it had been so long since I looked on the Ludy website, I checked it out.


And was floorstruck as I read some of the things on the blog! Eric Ludy and his wife Leslie started a school for the bravehearted about a year and a half ago, and some of the things that have happened there just blew me away! For instance, one week over the summer, the girls spent praying without ceasing. They each took an hour with two or three others over the course of the day to pray. They had a list of prayer requests in hand and just lifted them up. At the end of the week, so many of those requests had been answered.


When the school was just starting, Eric and Leslie went through an old journal of his from seventeen years ago, in which he wrote down the idea for a bravehearted school. The details of the first class were just amazing because God had answered that idea in the flesh. He opened the doors for them for this school to open.


I don't know about anyone else, but all of these testimonies (including my own) have completely inspired me to fire up my prayer life again. Life is so busy, but if I want God to be working, I better get praying first!


Delight yourself in the LORD; and He will give you the desires of your heart. ~Psalm 37:4


Shalom to you!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Yom Kippur

I'm so sorry! Both to myself, and to this blog and its readers (the few that are). This is not working as well as I hoped. Life is crazy (when is it not?), so when I have something good (soon...) I will share that.

On the other hand, last week I celebrated Yom Kippur. Yes, that's a Jewish holiday. Yes, Jesus died on the cross and rose again so we don't need a 'day of atonement' other than Resurrection Day. I chose to fast and celebrate/commemorate Yom Kippur for historical significance, and as a day for myself to sit down and spend all day with God.
So I fasted. Fasting is such an amazing thing. It's hard, but it's so good. The hard times were when I got hungry around noon, 3 PM, and 6 PM, but the good times were all the times in between. I spent a large amount of time in prayer, searching my heart, and reading the Bible. After 6 PM, I got to spend the rest of the evening with some really great people who were also celebrating and fasting. We had some amazing discussions, and the memories of those conversations I will treasure deeply. Not to mention that when you fast and the break the fast with someone, it builds the friendship. Nevertheless, it was a great day despite my hunger (which I didn't notice except for those three times).

More on Yom Kippur later, when I have some more information about it (due to lack of free time, it might very well be next Yom Kippur when I write more about it >_<)

Music Update: Ha! I bet you didn't even know there was a music update. Well, there is now. I've been working on learning three new pieces. One is called Bloom, it's a choral piece set for SSA, another is a composition of my own writing that I didn't really learn how to play because I have a program that plays it for me, and Cassabrie's Song.
Yes, the song I had in the last post. I've been learning how to play that, and also to sing to it, so I can make some kind of recording for a contest for it. Speaking of that... PLEASE tell me if you are going to buy and read Masters or Slayers or other books by Bryan Davis! It would be really great to get some points for that...

On to play music, and to dance! Blessings to you all!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

For a purpose

The chapter today was "You are not an accident." It's easy to think that when reflecting upon my twisted background, but the truth is, I wouldn't be who I am today if it wasn't for those times. The trials that really hurt then I look fondly upon now. I am a stronger person because of them. For that I am thankful.

A stanza of a poem I wrote a long time ago read "God's planned you, your future, your life, don't ever think that not so. Don't ever believe that Satan's knife could cut you away from God's love." He planned my life to go as it is. I am who God made me to be. And the great thing is, you are too!

That doesn't mean that we can do whatever we want and God still loves us. It means that he created us to be the people we are, and we are to use that to the best of God's glory.

Speaking of God's glory. Remember how I mentioned something different for today? A new book is coming out soon! (No, not mine. I'm far from getting published.) And I mean really soon! It's called Masters and Slayers and it's by Christian fantasy author Bryan Davis. Mr. Davis is a pretty cool author, and his books are pretty awesome as well (one series actually helped me strengthen my faith. God's done some neat things through Mr. Davis). He's written Dragons in Our Midst and Oracles of Fire (a companion series) as well as this new series. It's actually two series', a teen series and an adult series (they can be read together or separate). The first book of the teen series came out earlier this year and it's called Starlighter. It was a great read. The characters draw you in from page one and the plot moves quickly. You don't want to miss it. The first book in the adult series is Masters and Slayers. Website? http://www.mastersandslayers.com/ Since you all loved my review so much, here's the website where you can buy these books at a great price. www.daviscrossing.com/shopping.htm

And now, for a special sneak peek of MaS...

(watch and listen...not only is it pretty, but I had to type out the full embed code and it'd be nice if you repaid me for my hard work. >.<)

Something else to look forward to...I hope to have a recording of this song soon. A recording done by me (and possibly someone else...we shall see).

*tired* Goodnight!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

It's not about me

I plan to talk about my devotional book. Really I do. I don't have a good reason for missing yesterday. But I did start this morning. I was awake before the crack of dawn, reading. The chapter was on something I've known but have not thought much about until today.

It's not about me.

But it is about God. How funny it is in this day and age when everyone is all about 'loving yourself' and making you feel good about yourself. It's all about YOU, they say. That becomes a million times more amusing when you realize that you find so much more worth when you make it entirely about God.

The question at the end of the chapter asked how I can remind myself that life is really about living for God. Well, for one thing, I got a song stuck in my head that says "It's not about me; it's all about You" as part of the song. Every time I thought about the chapter for the day, I remembered that line. It was a great reminder. Now to put it into practice. ^_^

The chapter was pretty short, so next time I might have to do some extra work for a post. Next time, however, I'll have something a little different (yeah, I know, there's not much to work with to say 'something different'). There will be a lot of different things going on for the next couple weeks until craziness passes and I can get on with the posts that will be a little more 'normal'.

Until next time, shalom!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Welcome!

Hello, all. Since this is my first post, I must say welcome!

Before I go into what I'm going to be doing with this blog, let me explain the title. 'Chayil' is a Hebrew word meaning valor and virtuous. It is used to describe Joshua, David, and the infamous Proverbs 31 woman.

I've been planning on making a blog to talk about a lot of theological topics. I just got a new Bible study that I will be talking about, giving my thoughts on, etc. Of course, I won't only talk about this Bible study (and others to follow), but I will try to keep this blog to heavier things that I've been thinking over.

I'm going to try to post at least once a day so I can keep myself accountable to staying on track with the Bible study, but the one-post-a-day won't be limited to the study. There are a lot of holidays coming up that I'm learning about, and thus will share about.

Okay, that's enough for now. Shalom!