Thursday, December 30, 2010

Wherever You Go, You Take Yourself

Skype is amazing. Truly, a gift from God.

I told Surrogate/Adopted Dad last night that it was the only thing that kept me sane toward the end of living in Papua New Guinea. There is a powerful difference between reading someone's typewritten, standard font words on a screen and their unique, personal sound waves as they resonate over their vocal chords into your attentive ears. Oh, to hear my sister's unsuspecting voice on the other end of the phone was a moment I will not easily forget. I think I might have wept tears of simple pleasure and joy.

Aside from the occasional chat with my sister (who is frequently on Skype in the midst of her long-distance engagement), Skype has been nearly eradicated in my life. Until this week. Dear friend Heather has called me not once, but twice! And the second time, dear friend Aimee was with her! It was like a 2-for-1 deal. Two friends, one video chat conversation. So many emotions, giggles, updates, prayer requests, teasing remarks, and fleeting moments of life were shared over the great thing called video chat. 

One strand of commonality the three of us have shared since our initial friendship is college is that of a desire to see foreign people know the Lord. We have all had a desire to serve outside our own American culture, and Heather and Aimee are there right now. They're living the life that I envy even though I know that it's mostly romanticized in my mind. We were revisiting my discontentment with current said life during our 17 minutes of video chat bliss this morning. They are on one side of the experience, me on the other. Heather said something that struck a chord in me, particularly meaningful coming from the other side of reality in real-time life. "Wherever you go, you still take yourself." You still take your sin. You still take your discontentment. You still take your "woe is me"'s. You still take your pet peeves and "the grass is always greener" attitudes. We talked about 100 reasons to be discontent in America versus 100 reasons to be discontent in Africa. They're different reasons, but the reality is that "wherever you go, you still take yourself."

The point is, though our circumstances change around us, our contentment lies not in those circumstances. Our contentment lies in our own self-pleasure with the Lord. Speaking on contentment, Alistair Begg says, "the key is in distinguishing between external circumstances and an internal relationship with God." Alistair reminds us, in light of Psalm 139, that our changing circumstances are to be viewed in light of what is true of God:
  1. He made me (v 13)
  2. He knows me (vv 1-5)
  3. He hems me from behind and before (vv 5, 7-10, 15-16)
  4. My times are in His hands (v 3)
  5. He is always with me (vv 7-10)
  6. He is favorably disposed to those who are His children (vv 17-18)

There's some food for thought.
Now that I've totally derailed from the original post topic and am horrible at writing conclusions...ONWARD.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wise Men Relocation

This is my mom's nativity scene. She hand-painted each ceramic figurine some time ago before marriage and children. She also crafted the manger from popsicle craft sticks. Vintage, I know.
 But what she doesn't realize missing is....the three wise men. 
They were relocated to the east.

Because the wise men were not present at Jesus' birth. It took them 2 years to get to Him. 

Side note: No where in the Bible does it state that there were three wise men. That tradition comes from the fact that Christ was given three gifts (gold, frankincense, and myrrh) by the wise men who arrived.

So Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, and the lone shepherd eagerly await the three wise men from this nativity set.