Monday, July 16, 2012

Monday 198: Psalms and Acts


Charis, taken in June 2008. She's a smart one!

I am into the Psalms and the latter half of Acts.

I admit that I don’t understand Psalms as well as I would like to, yet even if I mastered Psalms, it would still have an air of mystery and wonder for me.

When I read it, I feel as if I am reading someone’s intimately personal journal. I’m rather sensitive to that feeling and hold a sense of honor that I get to glimpse into someone’s thoughts like this.

I guess the sensitivity I feel is partly due to the fact of me posting things on this online journal. I have gone back and forth about having it private, for only good friends to read, but now it is open for all. I took the decision very seriously to open it and keep it public. I am a deeply private person.

I had been in contention with someone I once trusted to be a friend, someone who knew about this journal and used to read it (may still be reading it or not), and I was gutted when that person twisted and tried to use something I posted against me. I get it that I opened myself up for that kind of thing by sharing my thoughts here, but to have someone I personally knew and trusted… I just felt utterly violated.

Anyway, all that is to try to convey the honor I feel whenever I read Psalms, and in how I would like to do it justice and treat it with care.

In other parts of the Bible, we’ve read about David’s life, the things he did, good and bad, the things he went through. In Psalms, which I understand to have been written largely by David, we read the Psalmist’s thoughts and inner struggles to remain focused on God’s power and God’s plan.

I can relate to that, whenever I post here publicly about depression and such. Can you relate to David in the Psalms?

I just had a thought to wonder if David, when young and before the anointing through Samuel, would have thought to be content to be a shepherd the rest of his life. I wonder if he imagined himself to have a freedom to simply write and sing out songs of worship to his God. Even though he did the fighting- and then the king-job well, or rather that he did pretty much anything well because he did it for the Lord, I wonder if music and songs were his most favorite expression of his devotion to God.
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On the side of Acts, chapter 18 was a part of the reading and includes something that has been on my mind for quite some time, ever since the E&I Conference of 2011. We’re following Paul on his travels and reading about some of the people he’s meeting on the way, reading about some happenings and Paul’s firm stance on the gospel.

Then in verse 24, we start reading about a Jewish man named Apollos. He knew the scriptures well and “had been taught the way of the Lord, and he taught others about Jesus with an enthusiastic spirit and with accuracy. However, he knew only about John’s baptism” [v. 25; NLT].

Apollos is heard by Priscilla and Aquila, people whom had travelled with Paul some, and they “explained the way of God even more accurately” to Apollos [v. 26].

The point that Pastor Carl Moore made at the conference, the point that struck me, was that Apollos didn’t know the full thing about Jesus, but he gave what he knew. And then when someone came along to explain things more fully to Apollos, Apollos took it in and then he shared more fully.

It says in v.27-28 that Apollos “proved to be of great benefit to those who, by God’s grace, had believed. He refuted the Jews with powerful arguments in public debate. Using the scriptures, he explained to them that Jesus was the Messiah.”

For my personal take, I guess I feel like that’s what I was trying to do, to give what I knew, and to learn more and then give that. I wanted to teach and show others that this faith in Jesus is a living and amazing thing, that God is real and powerful, that the foundational disciplines, like constant prayer and Bible reading, are foundational for a true reason.

And no, I’m not a great debater (I don’t enjoy debate but could be good at it if I tried), I’m not a natural teacher (I’ve only tutored a friend in Geometry), but I feel like people discounted me from the beginning, that I didn’t really get a chance to try and to grow into being the leader (I believe) I was called to be at that time.

I feel like people discounted me just because they’ve seen how I behave, which I admit isn’t always right or “Christianly,” I don’t hold myself out to be “perfect,” and/ or they discounted me because they don’t think that I’m as smart or smarter than them. I think they think that because they “know” more than I do that I have nothing of value to give or teach.

That may or may not be true, but it’s certainly my impression of things. The thing that I thought I could give best was that I’ve been actively seeking out more about this faith and to grow and had been at this longer than they have. That may or may not be true also in terms of “how long,” as some of them probably had accepted Christ at an earlier age than I did, maybe, and because of my episodes with depression, though the part I thought I had was mainly the active part, especially at that particular time. It came after a year or so of actively seeking God as a believer, of actively doing things I am unaccustomed to doing in order to give God more of my trust. And it weighed on my heart to see people of a rather stagnant faith when this faith is meant to be alive and active.

That’s my thoughts on it. Why I let myself be discouraged by those people, … let’s face it, I didn’t have that much faith in myself. I had very little faith that I could do what I was being called to do, and so when faced with others saying to me what I was already saying to myself, I was sunk from the start anyway. I mean, who am I to do such things?! That part is on me, as it wasn’t about my faith in myself; …

…rather, I was meant to continue stepping out in faith in MY GOD who did the calling.

I was supposed to have courage and give what I had.

So now, as Carl Moore teaches to do, I’m trying to “be ready in season and in out” with what I have in faith. "Give what [I] got for as long as [I] got." Perhaps I might be more courageous and just give it everything I got next time … if there will be a next time.
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How are these reflections going? Am I a little clearer with writing my thoughts now that I’m current with my readings? Let me know if I’m being at all interesting or if I’m just zzzzzzzzzzzz---

And to be clear, I think of myself as of average- a little on the higher end of average- intelligence. It’s just that I rarely sense the need for know-it-all moments. I like to be goofy and say off-balance things, so I often come off as not-so-bright. I just don’t care much about sounding smart, so I think that some people actually believe that I am not so smart. Plus, I have a bad memory for certain things so I know I am fully capable of being wrong.

Even when I disagree with someone or they are flat out wrong about a detail, I try not to have the know-it-all air in saying something in reply. I try to always be respectful of the other person. I’m not always respectful in the full sense of the word always, I will say, but I was raised that way, to think of others.

You’ve probably guessed in reading this journal that I am okay with making fun of myself too! I’d rather make someone laugh than to be right. I would rather remain friends with someone than to be right.

If I ever do know-it-all to you, just like, you know, punch me in the arm or something.

Thank you for reading and as always, feel free to leave a comment/ suggestion/ hello/ ni hao ma/ in the comment section below- it could be done anonymously as well for you ninjas out there!