Saturday, September 22, 2012

I'm a whore!

Caught your attention, huh?

The series we're in at Crossroads (where I go to church) right now is "Knockoff". It's all about recognizing when you have the real thing or a cheap imitation. Of course none of you ladies would be caught dead with an "knockoff" Louis Vuitton or Gucci purse! I on the other hand, shamelessly, have bought knockoff sunglasses, watches, wallet, etc. I like the look of them and I suppose the "status" they portray but I don't want the commitment of dropping a LOT of money to have them. Behind that money is a lot of hours of work and, in my case serving in Jamaica, literally blood, sweat and tears. So I recognize that the "real thing" is not worth the effort behind it.

What about our relationships. . . and our relationship with God? In the Bible God told the prophet, Hosea, (hey, they named the book after him!) to take a wife "of whoredom"; a prostitute! What? Why?

Hosea 1:2 "When Jehovah spake at the first by Hosea, Jehovah said unto Hosea, Go, take unto thee a wife of whoredom and children of whoredom; for the land doth commit great whoredom, departing from Jehovah."

God wanted His prophet, Hosea, to represent what God had been putting up with. God's people had turned from Him and started worshiping Baal. They had taken the cheap, easy route instead of putting forth the effort and trust in God. They had essentially been cheating on God, giving themselves to a cheap imitation, a knockoff, of the true God. (of course there is this whole back story of what it means to "worship" Baal by having sex with temple prostitutes) God wanted Hosea to know what it meant to love someone who was unfaithful as God's people had been unfaithful to Him.

In line with my last post, and how God is speaking to me, I have come to realize that I am putting my trust and hope and worship in something other than God. I am worshiping knockoffs! I am essentially "whoring" myself out! I don't want to put the effort into the real thing! It's a lot of effort! It's hard! But He wants me to give Him my all! He wants me to realize that the real thing is so much better than the cheaper, knockoff version. As I continue this journey I am starting to recognize when I am  putting my worship elsewhere. I think it's the first step of eliminating the focus on these other things and putting my trust in God. I want to have a REAL, authentic relationship with my God, not a knockoff!

Are you a whore? What "knockoffs" do you have in your life?

Friday, September 14, 2012

A Year in the Life of. . .

The past year in my life has been an amazing journey! I've been full-time with Praying Pelican Missions now for just about a year and it has literally changed my life in so many ways!

One of the BIG things that has changed is my spending habits! When I first took this position I took a huge pay cut! I've shared that working in one of the top restaurants in Cincinnati afforded me a lot of luxuries that I took for granted. . . I could eat out every meal, go out for coffee every morning, have steak when I wanted to cook out, etc. Part of what God was doing through this "pay cut" was teaching me to live more humbly. I think I've expressed this in the past, but a friend of mine ("The Intern" as I affectionately call her) posted this about her first experience in missions and in Jamaica specifically this past summer:

"One of the first things that anyone would notice if they stepped off a resort in Jamaica is that poverty pervades the country. There is trash along the sides of the roads, houses are half built, animals wander the streets, and there is a general lack of property stewardship. However, if you took the time to speak to a local or play with the kids at the community center you would find that a lack of “nice things” does not equate to a lack of joy. In Jesus’ most well known sermon he talks about putting treasure in heaven where nothing can destroy it instead of on earth where it can be taken away. After all “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Sometimes the tendency of missions and ministry is to fill crates full of “stuff” to give away to people who are “less fortunate.” But if we were really to evaluate the benefit of “stuff” and the label of “less fortunate” would we come to a different conclusion? After all isn’t it the “stuff” in our lives that distracts us from the real joy that is found in relationship with Christ alone? Then how is it that the piles of trinkets, toys, and technology that saturate our lives are the things that somehow make us better off than people who don’t have those things. It seems to me that living without an excess of “things” offers freedom from treasuring stuff that won’t last in favor of faith, hope, and love. Moreover, it makes our gospel so much sweeter when our lives reflect our singular need for Christ alone. How much greater is the testimony of one who offers nothing to be remembered but Christ?" - Stephanie Morse

I've been serving in Jamaica for 20 years now and sometimes the simplest stuff slips by me as I search to gain that little insight about what makes Jamaica what it is. I love seeing outsiders' perspectives because it brings me back to the heart of why I fell in love with missions and Jamaica to begin with.

So not only has this past year been teaching me to live more humbly financially, but now I'm trying to live more intentionally in my spiritual life as well. Thank you everyone for your prayers and support during this past year in my life. Look for more updates to come!