Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Hurting People

Author: Katie

Today, as I was driving to work with my heart still missing my Bestie (who recently passed away very unexpectedly) so much, I started thinking about the people in the cars around me, and watching the people in the streets of Downtown Birmingham. I wondered who's heart was hurting, who had a loved one in the hospital dying, a rebellious teenager, depression, serious financial problems, whatever...

I thought about myself in my car going to work like everyone else...with such an ache in my heart and a feeling of desperation just to talk to my Bestie one more time. Nobody around me knew the pain in my heart. Nobody was aware that the person who just stopped at the red light had just lost her best friend. Then I got to thinking...

I don't know about them either. I don't know the people driving all around me. I don't know if they are on the mountain tops or deep in the dark valleys.

We go through life in a bubble. God wants us to be outwardly focused. I find that my heart doesn't hurt so much and I am not quite so miserable when I put others first. I am miserable when I put me why do I seem to have this constant tendency to do that? I realize that I am in the same boat as everyone else...suffering the same heartbreaks and rejoicing over the same victories. They need to be loved just as much as I do. They want somebody to talk to just like me. And just like me, they long to fit somewhere, to be understood.

What is really amazing is that it helped me understand more about how Jesus came to earth to be like me. As a man, he suffered heartbreaks just like I do. He had celebrations and experienced the same victories as the rest of us. He experienced times of loneliness, abandonment, feeling unloved, rejected, out of place, and abused. He understands my heart because He is not in a bubble. He is with me, feeling my pain with me, rejoicing in my victories with me...always loving me...always there...even when it seems like everyone else is oblivious.

Why is it so hard to realize that He is the One I need most. When I realize that He is enough....He is. It is only then that I can step out of myself and be Jesus to others around me who are trying to find their way to Him.

Friday, July 16, 2010

God and Time

Author: Katie

This question was asked to me via a friend through email...

"Present, past, future... If God is outside of time, can we pray for things in the past?... Can I still pray for God to heal [a broken and dissolved] marriage, or to heal [a sick relative] from 30 years ago?"

Here are my thoughts in response to my friend's question....

It's not a matter of "if" God is outside of time. I don't even think that's an accurate way to state it. God is not "outside" of anything. God IS. He is the God of time...therefore He is not in or outside of the present, past, or future...but He is the ruler over it. If He wanted to change the past, He could. He doesn't have to travel there to do it either. Picture it like this...He is standing in the center of a circle. The circle is time. He sees it all and can pop in and out as He wishes...but He stays in the center and observes. He knows the future...and sees everything in the past...but He is actively involved in what we know as the present. God is the Author of time and we just have to believe it...not understand it. There are some things we can not and never will be able to wrap our minds around and we can make ourselves crazy trying to explain the unexplainable.

For me...I know I am supposed to pray. I know it's not because God needs it. Prayer is not a manipulation tactic. It's not to make a wish come true. Prayer is for me. It helps to create an awareness of my own concerns and my own heart...and it keeps me in communication with God. Without that communication, I cannot make it through life. When I talk to God, He talks back. I grow and am strengthened for battle. He already knows what I am going to say and He already knows the answer to my prayer. He already knows and has already met my need (I just haven't arrived there yet). He already knows the outcome of the situation and His plan to carry me through.

Prayer makes me aware of His presence and His work in my life. Prayer keeps me in communication and fellowship. Prayer does change changes me. It changes how I respond to people and life's situations. Praying for others teaches me to be others focused. Then, when I see God work in those situation, it gives me testimony and it glorifies Him. I am not going to pray for something in the past to change because God is Lord over the past and He allowed things to unfold as they did because it made the present what it is...and since He is in control of all things...the present is exactly how He has ordained it to be...pain and suffering, happiness and health, joy and sorrow, it is what it is by His authority.

He gave us free will from the beginning. It is what we do with that gift that molds the events in life...and we are all connected by that free will and affected by that free will and the connection goes all the way back to the deception in the garden. God allows us to experience consequences because He is perfect and works through those consequences. They are not bigger than Him.

So, in a manner of speaking...the forbidden fruit that brought sin into the world is the past, present, AND future. It is sin that makes life ugly and spreads like a disease...a fire out of control. Everything we do impacts everyone around us. It goes further than we can imagine. Do you think that if Eve could have seen and understood the consequences of eating the fruit, that she would still have done it? If she could have seen the world today as a result of her decision to turn her back on God? Her sin didn't begin with eating the fruit...but with putting self above God and Adam (others)...that is the fruit that poisons us all to this day. But we have a merciful God who has always had a plan to provide for the forgiveness of sin and our reconciliation to Him.

Before Eve was created, God already planned to send the Redeemer...because prior to Eve's sin (the past) God was. He was there when she turned from Him (her present)...and during Christ's birth death and Resurrection (mankind's future). It is all present for God because He is all in all and everywhere. He is perfect. He is Holy. He is just. He is merciful. He is righteous and all powerful. He is God. He is the Author and Creator of all life. I want to know Him more and I am more concerned with growing in faith and trust than having it all make sense tied up in a pretty little package of human logic. His ways are not like mine and my human logic is quite opposite of His. So I trust His because He is perfect. I know He will guide me. He has never failed to do that. I know when I am obedient, His blessings fall...even and in spite of suffering that may be a part of it. He is still God over my circumstances and I trust Him. He talks to me when I read His Word and when I pray. I know I will never figure out his "mind". His thoughts are so far beyond my I don't try to make sense of what will never make sense this side of Heaven. I just want to know His heart...and I want my heart to be like His. Then my heart will direct my mind and my thoughts will be of Him and others...not me. That's what matters.

The Holy Spirit will guide me into Truth. He will teach me what I need to know...on a need to know basis. I accept that there are questions I will never be able to have answered. I accept that there are answers I will never be able to comprehend in my human finite mind...and I am okay with that...because I know my Father knows the answers and my life is in His hands. Faith like a child...that's what I desire.

In a nutshell, we cannot change the course of History. God is not going to change it because He was in control when it happened...why should He change it? He allowed it for His purpose and for His glory...and for our good. (Those are His words not mine.)

Therefore, from a Kingdom is perfect part of His plan as it stands (even as ugly as it can appear from our perspective...but it can also be beautiful depending on how you look at it). He allows things to happen to make things what they are so that what is to come will be as He has ordained it. Nothing happens under the sun that is a surprise to Him....or that He cannot change or control at any given moment. It is what it is because He is Who He says He is.

What we see as good/bad...God sees as a tiny speck in the midst of a huge gloriously beautiful painting that He has already completed. We see the speck and the painting is too huge for us to see the whole picture...we must see through the eyes of the Artist and the only way we can do that is to be open for Him to show us...little by little in His time and His way by His choosing. He is perfect.

Our head must connect to our heart but our heart must first connect to God's...or else our heart will work with our mind to deceive us away from Him. History proves this. "Trust the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes....."

I can really open another can off worms on suffering with this one because I believe that suffering began when man did the opposite of this proverb...and continues because we still do.

That is why I walk by faith and not by sight…..”

Monday, July 12, 2010

Thinking About My Youth

Author:  Susan L. Prince 

I was sitting in front of my computer tonight and something struck me "funny".  As a kid, I was so into music, mostly the music of the day, although as I was so into band I became a lover of all types of music.  I would sit downstairs where my stereo was and play album after album and listen non-stop to music.  I had my favorite radio stations and knew every song on the radio.  I could scan stations and name each song I heard a snippet of; title, artist, album and year.  I kept that skill for many years until it began to die off when my interest in pop music began to wane in the late eighties. 

The table downstairs was the old kitchen table.  I placed my turntable in the center against the wall, and speakers to either side.  The table was then decorated creatively with my beer can collection.  I would display my collection on that table and all over the speakers, stacking them into shining towers of my most prized beer cans, the rare imported ones.  I had some good ones, too!  Often, those cans would come crashing down because the vibration from the music would rattle them out of place.  A few times I think I awakened my parents in the middle of the night when those cans all came tumbling down.  Oops.  My bad!  LOL

I would doodle a lot when I sat there at the table listening to music.  I would write poems, draw pictures, jot down the name of my crush just to see what it looked like next to mine, compose letters, and just fill up a page with doodles.  That's all they were, doodles.

What struck me tonight was that I do the same thing today.  Wow.  It's thirty years later and I sit in front of my computer, which doubles as my stereo.  Two speakers stare at me and I sit and instead of doodling, I surf the web.  I do the same kind of thing.  I don't write poetry, but I could; "Roses are red, violets are blue, you think this will rhyme, but it won't."  I don't draw pictures and doodle much anymore, instead I post to my blog or update my Twitter feed or Facebook status. 

I had such an awesome kidhood.  :)

It just kind of struck me funny tonight that I'm doing exactly the same thing today that I did in the late 70s and early 80s. It bloggles the mind!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Book of Eli

Author:  Susan L. Prince

If you have not seen The Book of Eli yet, stop reading now.  This post will have spoilers.

This is the plot synopsis from IMDB:  Eli (Denzel Washington) has been on a journey for 30 years, walking west across America after a cataclysmic war that turned the earth into a total wasteland. The world has become a lawless civilization where people must kill or be killed. The barren roads belong to gangs of cutthroats who rob and kill for water, a pair of shoes, a lighter, or just for fun. Eli is a peaceful man who only acts in self defense, and becomes a warrior with unbelievable killing skills when he is challenged. After the war and the "Big Flash", Eli was guided by a higher power to a hidden book and given the task of protecting the book and taking it to its final destination. Eli guards the book with his life, because he knows that the book is the only hope that humanity has for its future.

I've now seen this film three times.  The first time I was alone in a movie theater taking it all in.  The other two times it was to see it again myself in order to ponder it with the insight of having already seen it, and also to introduce my friends to it.  I wanted to talk about the movie and you can't unless the people you talk to have already seen it, or you will ruin it for them.  It is a given.  That is the reason I haven't posted about it until now.  I didn't want to spoil it for my friends.

A few things immediately come to mind when I think about The Book of Eli: what it means to love the Word of God, the supernatural protection Eli had, the faith aspect of the film, how evil and desolate a place can be when its inhabitants have no knowledge of God, and how even evil does in fact recognize God's word.

 I remember the first time seeing it, and thinking to myself wow.  If we only treasured the Book like this man does.  Protecting it with his life.  I have five or six bibles hanging out in my house, a few in the car and so there is always one available.  But, do I cherish the fact that I have them?  No.  Not like I should.  Do I read it everyday like Eli does?   No.  Not like I should. And what would it be like to have possession of the last existing Bible?

I remember conviction coming over me as I thought about the fact that some people don't have the Holy Bible available to them, and I do.  It is readily available to me and I should thank God for that rather than take it for granted.

Eli loved that book.  It was evident in how he protected it by covering it and securing it in his pack after each reading. He kept the book locked with a key and he would kiss it as he slid it back into its protective bag.  Eli slept with it always within his reach.  If anyone tried to take that book, it was a sure death sentence for that person.   

Eli understood and respected the power in the words of the book he had carried in his possession for thirty years.  Unfortunately, so did Carnegie, the man who was the leader over a city that was as depraved as any city inhabited by people without knowledge of God.  He ruled by intimidation and weapons, but he knew that Eli had a more powerful weapon and was determined to take it.  Carnegie was evil to the core and knew that the Bible has powerful words and that if he had that book, he could use the words in it to have power over all the people.  He said "it's been done before".   That was an absolutely chilling statement to me.

Some people seem to debate if in fact   [ major spoiler alert ]   Eli was blind throughout the film.  I believe that the scenes at the end of the film that alternated between Carnegie finally getting his first look at the book he stole from Eli, and the camera focusing in on Eli's eyes as he is reciting scripture, are pointing out the fact that Eli was a blind man.  This is a twist in the film that I did not expect and was totally blown away by.  That obviously added an entirely different dimension to the movie for me because then I had to replay some of the scenes in my mind to totally grasp the awesomeness of that.  I mean, how did Eli fight so well as to kill to protect that book and himself when others were so bent on killing him and taking that book?  How could he walk through towns he was unfamiliar with so seemingly flawlessly?  How?  How could he have accomplished his mission to "go west" for thirty years while being absolutely blind?

Once I was aware of the blindness of the character of Eli and watched the film again, there are nuances that are shown very subtly that reveal that he is in fact blind.  For example; in many scenes the action is slowed down and the audio becomes the main focus.  In the very beginning of the movie we hear the cracking of branches as a cat makes its way through a burned out forest.  We hear the cries and purrs of the cat which helps Eli know its location.  Later Eli comes to an abandoned home where he opens some cupboards but reaches up to feel what is in them.  He opens a door, which consequently falls off the hinges, startling him, but the viewer thinks he is reacting to the dead body hanging there.  A few other times in the movie it becomes apparent that Eli is being guided by the faint sounds of his surroundings.  Very interesting to observe the movie again, once you know he is blind. 

I believe that The Book of Eli explains how he was able to accomplish his mission in total blindness by subtly unveiling the supernatural throughout the story.  Eli shares with Solara, a young girl who becomes his walking companion, how he came to be in possession of the book.  He shares that he "heard a voice and the voice led him to the book."  Eli also explains that the voice told him to "go west" and that is why, for thirty years, he's been walking across the country heading west.  In a somewhat humorous exchange, Eli explains a little more:

Solara: You know, you say you've been walking for thirty years, right?
Eli: Right?
Solara: Have you ever thought that maybe you were lost?
Eli: Nope.
Solara: Well, how do you know that you're walking in the right direction?
Eli: I walk by faith, not by sight.
Solara: [sighs] What does that mean?
Eli: It means that you know something even if you don't know something.
Solara: That doesn't make any sense.
Eli: It doesn't have to make sense. It's faith, it's faith. It's the flower of light in the field of darkness that's giving me the strength to carry on. You understand?
Solara: Is that from your book?
Eli: No, it's, uh, Johnny Cash, Live at Folsom Prison.

What an example of what it means to walk by faith and not by sight!  The second time viewing this movie, this scene obviously had more weight to it for me.  He was demonstrating what walking by faith really is, it is "the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." (Hebrews 1:11)   Eli was aware of the importance of his mission to get that book to a safe haven, the future of humanity and the world was dependent on it, and this was his hope.  To anybody who didn't hear the same voice that Eli heard, his mission was nonsense.  An outsider could in no way grasp Eli's determination to finish his mission, or fathom why on earth he would bother trying, let alone see it as something that was even possible to do.  But Eli understood that with God, all things are possible.  (Mark 10:27

I was convicted about some issues in my own personal life and made me question how much faith I have.  I've even said on occasion to a friend who asked me to pray, "I can't.  I have weak faith today."  I want to have a faith that would make me take a sure step in total blindness, fighting off evil at every turn, totally trusting God to be in control, and never straying from the narrow.  Eli was tempted to stray from the course, too, but demonstrated holding his thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ when he came upon some trouble and had to remind himself, "Stay on the path. It's not your concern. Stay on the path. It's not your concern."

The remarkable thing about the Word of God is what it says about itself and the Creator.  It says that "only a fool says there is no God."  (Psalm 14:1) and that "even demons believe".  (James 2:19)  In the Book of Eli, even the evil people were not so ignorant as to say there is no god.  In fact, the evil Carnegie acknowledged the power of the Word of God, even though his purpose was to pervert it for his own gain.  When one thinks about it, that is exactly what evil is, perverting what is good for our own personal gain.  And,  often, it happens so subtly that it can easily be unnoticed until it has totally infiltrated one's heart, until the heart becomes hardened.  Sad.   

The bible teaches that even the demons believe and shudder, and in The Book of Eli, the evil people noted the supernatural when one of the men pursuing Eli, after having come upon a couple of men "only a few hours dead" remarked "it's like he's protected somehow, nothing can touch him." Eli's pursuer's recognized that he was "different" because of how he has been able to escape their grasp a few times already.  Earlier he had miraculously escaped from a guarded room and they had witnessed him walking away from an gun battle in which he was drastically outnumbered.  In another scene they were seeing what was left in Eli's wake as he continued to "go west".   Also, the voice Eli heard did tell him that he and Solara would get out of another gun battle alive.  Eli totally trusted what the voice in his heart would tell him.  Conviction came over me because sometimes I may suppress the voice of God in me, oh me of little faith! 

Evil people understand the power of God's Word, and too often, sinful people use it improperly for personal gain, rather than to glorify God and lead people to a knowledge of Him and His Love.  Carnegie angrily responded to one of his men questioning his determination and fervor to go through all of this trouble for a book?  "IT'S NOT A #$%^*&' BOOK!  IT'S A WEAPON.  A weapon aimed right at the hearts and minds of the weak and the desperate. It will give us control of them. If we want to rule more than one small, $#%^&' town, we have to have it. People will come from all over, they'll do exactly what I tell 'em if the words are from the book. It's happened before and it'll happen again. All we need is that book."

In The Book of Eli, the viewer sees what remains of a world that no longer has knowledge of God and it is a desolate place.  It is filled with depravity everywhere one turns.  After the third viewing of this movie, my friend opened her Bible to Isaiah 24 and began reading.  Wow.  What a comparison to what we had just witnessed on screen.  I urge you to go read it for yourself and just contemplate what life without God is like.

I was really taking note of something Eli said when asked about what the world was like "before"?  He answered Solara saying,  "People had more than they needed, people didn't know what was precious and what wasn't, people threw away things they kill each other for now. "  Throughout the movie it is evident that water was the hot commodity.  Everybody wanted water, and he who had water had power and wealth.  Chapstick was another hot item.

People were desperate for things that give life.  People weren't fighting for the last hot toy of the Christmas season on the shelf.  People were bargaining for, begging for, water, a life-giving substance.  It made me ponder what true poverty is?  It made me think about materialism and I'm pondering if it is sin in my life.  Am I throwing away what people might kill for in the future?

It was amazing to think that God's plan for Eli was to walk for thirty years, read His Word everyday, and protect the book.  What happened was astounding, and that was the fact that all those years of reading the book allowed Eli to commit the entire Bible, chapter and verse, to memory.  It was written on his heart and when the book was stolen away by the evil Carnegie, who later learned that the book was of no use to him because it was all in braille. Eli was able to have the Bible transcribed and humanity would now have the Word of God as it tried to start civilization again.

This emphasized to me the importance of learning Scripture and reading it everyday.  It needs to be written on my heart, my future depends on it!

There are so many discussion points in The Book of Eli.  It is a movie that really made me stop and ponder many things.  I know that it is just a movie, but the spiritual truths it highlights are worth discussing and thinking about.  I've rambled on enough about some of my thoughts on it, and believe me, I haven't shared all of my thoughts on it.  Now I'd like to hear yours if you have any you wish to share.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

"Coming Out" on Jennifer Knapp's Coming Out

Author:  Susan L. Prince

This is a tough one for me.  You see, I LOVE Jennifer Knapp's music.  I basically held vigil for her return after her spontaneous withdrawal from all things music in 2001.  And yes, I heard all the rumors and chose not to believe them.  I would at least give her the benefit of the doubt. Rumors are often wrong about what they say, and they are always wrong to spread or participate in.

Upon her return to music, I was ecstatic to catch her live show in Nashville at The Belcourt Theater last November, 2009.  I saw her again in the Spring at TPAC in downtown Nashville.  Then, in the April 13th, 2010 edition of Christianity Today, she shared her "secret" with the world and announced her homosexuality.

What are my thoughts?   Ache.  Disappointment.  Sadness. Confusion.  I had many questions:  Should I listen to her music?  How can I listen to her music?  Is my buying her music condoning sinful behavior?  Am I sinning while listening to it?  How can a person who has written some of the most passionate music ever written about God's mercy and love, turn her back on His Word?  Does she pray her own prayers, by that I mean her songs, which are humble prayers?  These and many other questions came to mind as I read about the struggles Knapp has endured, and the temptation she eventually gave herself over to.  Heartbreaking.
Stop. stop. stop this foolish pride of mine.
That dares to drag me far away from you.
When I try to do it my way I always lose.
I always lose your point of view.
I don't intend to debate this issue.  I have participated in conversations about this news, especially when it first broke.  I have read what both sides of the spectrum have to say about this, and now I'm going to just put out there some of my thoughts on this.

Lord, come with your fire,
Burn my desires; refine me
Lord, my will has deceived me
Please come and free me
Refine me

It is not sin for me to listen to Jennifer Knapp's music or to buy it.  However, when I hear a song, what does it make me think about?  It makes me grieve.  I think about her sin.  It does remind me to pray for her, but it is difficult for me to listen to her music and not wonder how it can be that she has written some of the most heartfelt prayers set to music, and then fall so far?  This is not condemnation, this is a serious question.  Did she really want to know Him?  Did she really want to be refined?

We are all susceptible to falling out of fellowship with the Lord which is why the Bible teaches us to "be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall..." (2 Peter 3:17) and  "if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted" (Galatians 6:1).

I am sure she has run into her share of "christians" who have demonstrated an ungodly attitude toward her and have heaped condemnation on her, and not tried to restore her gently.  In fact, before her "news" broke, it was evident by some of what she shared at her live shows that she had encountered some "issues" with "church people".  This has not represented Christ well at all.  Knapp is a sister in Christ,  and as with any brother or sister, we should embrace her and love her, just as God loves us.  We can not condone her sin, but we can let her know she is loved and that we would so like to see her restored into a right relationship with the Lord.  You see, when somebody chooses sin, or to live their life in contradiction to the Word of God, they are choosing to serve a different master, they are choosing to serve themselves, or the world, and one can not serve two masters.  Either you serve God, or you serve the god of this world.  It is heartbreaking to observe sin running its course.

Often the argument is "but we all sin".  True, we all sin and fall short of the glory of God, but the difference is repentance.  God can not forgive excuses. God can not forgive alibis. God can only forgive sinGod will make one clean again, but, one must choose to turn from their sin.

In reading some of the interviews Knapp had with the media after the news broke, including some of what was said on the Larry King Live interview, it was noticeable that she was uncomfortable calling herself "Christian" and instead would say "woman of faith", or "I have faith".  She mentioned the difficulty she had and still has singing some of her old songs.  I wonder if it is because the Holy Spirit uses her own words and music to smite her and convict her?  She said she doesn't currently have a church home, and I can't help but question why?  If she had a church home maybe her church family would help restore her to the fellowship, and the reason she stays away from church is because she knows she has chosen sin over submission to God's Word, therefore a healthy functioning gospel church is the last thing she would want.
"For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it."  (Matthew 7:13)
It is apparent to me that Knapp does not want to be some "poster child" for homosexuals and/or to promote a "christian homosexual" agenda, but unfortunately with her fame and notoriety, she is thrust into the spotlight by default and has inevitably become somewhat of a reluctant spokesperson.   I believe she is gifted by God and is a talented artist, but her art right now is being perverted. Also, satan is having a field day using this to "make it ok" for others trapped in the same sinful lifestyle.  What is sad as well, is that many in the Christian community have chosen to condemn, rather than try to restore, and this serves to hurt the cause of Christ.

You in the mirror. staring back at me. O' conscience let me the pure, all things are pure. To those who defiled unbelieving: nothing is pure. Their minds, their conscience defiled. They profess to know God. But deceive him by deeds all the while.

God loves Jennifer Knapp.  He wants a thriving relationship with her.  She is confused and God is not the author of confusion.  Does she not see that she is defiled?  That she is professing to know God but deceives Him by her deeds?  In the interviews I've read/seen, she questions the interpretation of the Bible in places...and most of her songs are scripture!   Or, at least they used to be!  Does she not believe it now?  It is way too convenient to "interpret" the Bible to say what we want it to say so that we can have our way.  God hates sin, and He hates it whether or not we acknowledge a certain behavior is sin.  Sin is sin, and the wages of sin is death.  Choosing sin keeps us separated from the love of God.  It is an uncomfortable place to be which is why Knapp sang "Undo Me"!

Now, the trouble I have listening to Knapp's music right now is not because she has announced her homosexuality.  I am a huge Indigo Girls fan and they are both lesbians.  I am a Melissa Etheridge fan.   I love their music and I have no problem listening or supporting it, but they do not claim to live as Christians. The trouble I have listening to Knapp is that she claims to be a "woman of faith", and for years was billed as a christian singer/songwriter who represented Christ, and now she is out there announcing her sinful behavior and denying that it is sinIt is the fact that she is unrepentant right now that makes it difficult for me to justify supporting her career.  The sin isn't so much the problem, it is the unrepentance.

Knapp has said that she understands that a person purchasing her music or attending a show does not mean they support her lifestyle, and that it only means they like her art.  I am somewhat comforted by this, because I am not about to trash my Jennifer Knapp collection.  It is still some of the best music and will always be, and someday I hope to be able to listen to it with new ears.  I have had to remove it from my mp3 player for the time being.  I have not yet listened to Letting Go, her new release, the new music I've waited so long for, although most of it I have heard from her website and from the demo CDs I got from her live shows I attended before she revealed her sin.  It breaks my heart because I waited and prayed for her, and her return to music, for 8 years.  I couldn't wait for new music from Knapp and when it happened I was absolutely ecstatic, but then I was blindsided.
If I give my Life if I lay it down can you turn this Life around, can I be made clean by this offering of my soul. Can I be made whole again?

God is faithful and just to forgive, but in order for Him to do that, we need to repent.  We need to turn from evil and turn to Him.  I believe that deep within Jennifer Knapp is heart that pines for God and that His Word is hidden in her heart.   I believe this because she has difficulty performing her "old" music.  I believe this because she has difficulty calling herself a "Christian".  I believe this because she avoids church.  I believe that the difficulty she has shows that there is a level of conviction in her, but still, she is willfully choosing her own pleasures over submission to God.    Debbie, a friend of mine, put it this way " As for Jennifer's faith, I think it is one that she has crafted to tolerate her sin, which is why she has such conviction otherwise."

I am praying for her to really cry out to God like she once was able to do and so eloquently shared through her music.  I pray that she will "Lay It Down", be broken, "Fall Down" and allow God to "Undo" her, "Refine" her and make her "Whole Again", because "His Grace is Sufficient".  With God all things are possible.

And when it happens, she really will be Letting Go. 

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Testimony of My Sailor: Meeting with God on the Pacific

Author: Katie

Tonight I received the most awesome letter any Mom could ever want from her Sailor at sea. Physically we are miles apart but the same omnipresent God who walks with me sailing on a Navy ship in the Pacific with my son. Here is his testimony....

"Hey mom. Much has happened since we last talked. But I got asked a question from Sydnie and it was, ”What has God been teaching you?” and this is what spilled out. Feel free to share with anyone. Actually please do. I will leave you to read.

Now about what God has been teaching me. I am going to be 100% honest, I had some rough days after I got back to my old job and was very depressed. And I want you to forgive me cause that is why I wasn’t keeping in touch. I was very upset about where I am in my life, and wasn’t getting any emails from anyone for a few days. I felt that I shouldn’t write any to get any, and that was selfish on my part. But one night I was just fed up of all of this and everyone and being on the ship away from everyone and everything I love and I just bought a coca cola and went outside when it was dark away from everybody. I just wanted some alone time with GOD to talk things out. I prayed and just let it all out. I told God how I felt knowing that he already knew, but it was just good to say it out loud. I kept telling Him how I don’t want to be here and I said it over and over, and then out of nowhere I remembered how when Jesus was in the garden praying for God to let this pass but only if it was his will. And after that I actually just started crying. There I was sitting by myself on a ship in the middle of the pacific ocean, on a ship, crying my eyes out. I felt so selfish. And I was. I still don’t want to be here, and I am still going to try to go army or back to SWCC, but if it isn’t his will and it doesn’t happen, then I am ok with that. I don’t want to be here and He didn’t want to die on the cross for me…..but He DID. So I will be here and do his will. Slowly people are realizing why I am so different from them. They keep saying, “you’re a virgin?!,” or, “why don’t you cuss?” And I tell them why. No more unless they ask. But I can see in there eyes take is something they are not used to. If I cant go army or back to SWCC them I will bid my time here and get out after four years and go to college… if that’s what He wants.

Also after I read the book obsessed He taught me more through it. I need to be obsessed with Him. Not to just want to be with Him but to be like the man who found a treasure in the field and sold everything he had so he could buy that field and call the treasure his own. To be obsessed is what God made us for, and why not? He is OBSESSED with us. Love is an obsession. An analogy that my youth leader told us to get to the kingdom was that your in a large room, FILLED with people moving around pushing and shoving each other. You are at one corner and you have to get to the door on the other side to get out, but the only way to get there is to follow a small line on the floor that you cant see , and that is curvy not straight. All the while people are pushing you and trying to get you off the line.

A way I see it is kind of like that. But you are running with all your might. As soon as you get your speed up you get knocked back sometimes down. But you still run even though you get hit and pushed, your body gets beaten over and over, but your so obsessed that you don’t even feel it, and in a way it seems to even make you speed up with every hit or knock back you just crave it more and more like a drug. Till you finally get there. And He is there so you may finally rest and be with Him….forever. no more running after that. That is what he has taught me.


Justin, your son, Full of justice"

This is what it means to me when Proverbs 31 says "Your children will rise up and call you blessed"