4/25/2011 - That same Bible today is starting to tear at the seams :)
A brief reflection on the journey of being called "out of darkness into His marvelous light," "having been born again ... through the living and enduring word of God"
On July 5, 2005 - about three years after opening this journal - I started a small, separate online journal. It served as the ground on which I wrestled with numerous spiritual struggles. I didn't feel comfortable posting about these on livejournal at the time; but since then, I've reincorporated them into my journal here under the tag serephes journal.
When I began the journal in 2005, I was not "abiding in Him" in the sense that I was not reading the Bible. I felt confused and uncomfortable. I likened it to the way you feel when you fight getting up in the morning. Passages from the Bible did come to mind now and then, but I couldn't name the context or find them in the book.
Along with this, I felt fearful. We were studying Revelation in church at the time and while I knew of the blessings of eternal life, I was also keenly aware of the curses of eternal damnation. I intellectually felt that I was a Christian, but I was very uncomfortable studying Revelation. I was beginning to see that I had many sinful attitudes and habits. These included my hypocritical lifestyle, violent daydreams, selfish obsessions, and my lack of love for others and for God. While aware of this, I tried to convince myself that it wasn't a big deal and that I just had to try harder to live rightly before God and men. I was dissatisfied with the way I felt at the time and wanted to live a wholesome, godly life. I also knew that I had swung between the two extremes of Ecclesiastes, and I was searching for the happy medium, the right path in between. Deep down, I knew that I had to get back to the fundamentals. And I knew that the answer to Dune's riddle ("the real universe is always one step beyond logic") lay in the factor of God. I knew that I claimed to value religion very highly, but my "functional theology" was a "chasing after the wind" (Ecc 1:17). I prayed sporadically and not about the topics I should have been praying about. I knew it was not a sign of good spiritual health, but I didn't take concrete steps to address it. Instead, I reflected on my ideals (my idols) and wondered why they left me feeling so abandoned. (I now know the answer from God's response in Habakkuk 2, but at the time Habakkuk was probably the farthest thing from my mind.)
I was dead in my sins (Ephesians 2:1). Yet, the Spirit was quickening me. Among the entries, there appear meditations on how to apply the truth of Scripture in my own life here and now. I was appreciative of verbal blessings and eager to look again to my favorite author of old, King Solomon. I began to see that I am human like everyone else and that I need the same things as everyone else. That gave me hope to keep seeking.
And then I look back on my entries from this journal. There were hints of hope amidst a flood of school stories, film obsessions, and random foreign language ramblings:
4/4/2006 - So, yes, my Bible is getting dusty, and thus I decided to look into somethings, starting with I Kings. I don't think I have ever read I Kings...(O.o)
4/6/2006 - Wow, I Kings is really exciting!
5/29 - ...I will follow the God of the Bible...I don't wanna be lukewarm anymore!! (Revelation 3:16)
6/26/2006 - True to myself, perhaps, but who am I then true to? Which master do I serve?
6/27/2006 - If only I could convince myself to wake up!
7/13/2006 - The answer was right in front of me! It sat dusty on my bookshelf.
7/29/2006 - Our church is going to start a "Through the Bible in a Year" study, and so I am trying to get prepared for that. In addition ... I am going to combine my study of Psalms with study of Hebrew... It's all very exciting^^
8/26/2006 - There was a lot in my mind to sort through and a lot to read through! I have been reading the Gospels and am now up to the third chapter of Luke I think.
9/5/2006 - Where to start in a new look at my faith? ... And here is the key: Ephesians 2:4-5
9/10/2006 - I read the first half of Genesis today
9/21/2006 - I was just sitting here eating bread and reading Nehemiah.
9/24/2006 - I finished reading Exodus today.
10/1/2006 - I want to be watchful like this.
10/5/2006 - We are forgiven through faith in Jesus, and this faith calls the Christian to a new life.
10/7/2006 - So why do we feel so tied to such empty pursuits and the need to 'prove' something. Everything is already finished, already proven - we need only seek that out.
10/9/2006 - In terms of Bible study for the day, thanks to Isaiah 58 I now understand [Psalm 1:2] better
10/14/2006 - I am half-way through Numbers.
10/31/2006 - unsettled settling into freedom
11/6/2006 - I have a ways to go, but at least there is the encouragement in Joshua: "Be strong and very courageous" and "I will not leave you nor forsake you."
11/11/2006 - I shared a meditation at church called "Come to stay with Jesus"
11/13/2006 - My mind is dragging something. It's pulling with it something as it plods along, but I cannot see what it is.
11/29/2006 - In the way of Biblical thoughts for this week, I was reading 2 Samuel and for some reason this verse caught me: 2 Samuel 7:21
12/1/2006 - Better to focus on depth and truth than on this shifty, sandy self. I will admit, some things are not so easy or pleasant to consider, but-
12/8/2006 - A warning (with an implied promise) I really need to keep in mind at the start of this Christmas season: Jeremiah 2:13
12/16/2006 - I had been curious hearing different people talk about "a personal relationship with Jesus" and wondered what my dad would have to say on the topic.
12/26/2006 - From my parents, I got the Indiana Jones Trilogy! :O Hooray! Also, a nice earth-toned sweater, ES Posthumus CD, and a new Bible! The Bible is a study Bible, the kind my Bible study recommended to me. My parents got me a copy in blue leather with my name engraved in silver on the cover :) They also gave me a nice carrying case for it. I am going to try to keep this Bible free of notations, while continuing to mark up my older one. I am really excited^^ Oh, and I got a Spaghetti Western - woohoo. Now I have a growing collection of movies complete with adventures, one western, one sailing movie, and a silent film.
1/6/2007 - "God is my strength" is so true^^
1/7/2007 - My theme for the new year is 'Finding fulfillment and delight in the LORD alone'. I have two (well, three) key verses: Jeremiah 2:13 & Isaiah 58:13-14.
1/11/2007 - 'Longing to long for God' is my theme for the year.
1/15/2007 - May I focus on God with my heart, my soul, and my strength. Through His Holy Spirit, may I be transformed so I can do this. I want my strength to be found in the joy of the LORD and no other.
It is true when the writer of Hebrews says that the word of God is living and active, sharper than a double-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12)! Praise the Lord :)
This spring, I finally wrote a letter to one actor whose work spurred me on to open and read 1 Kings five years ago. I'm not sure whether the note came across as the fragrance of life or death - or just plain crazy - but I felt that I really wanted to send that letter. It was sent in all sincerity, knowing that it probably sounded foolish. "But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light" (1 Peter 2:9) I pray that my letter was received in recognition of the humility and joy in which it was sent.
May God continue to keep me in His word since he drew me close in April 2006 for His glory and the good of many. "Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You." (Psalm 73:25) Therefore I hope and I am not disappointed. "They shall be Mine," says the LORD of hosts, "On the day that I make them My jewels..." Malachi 3:17 (see also Exodus 28:29, Isaiah 40:11, Ephesians 2:13)