Monday, January 18, 2010

Praises, Provision & Professional Dog Sitting

"I will bless the Lord at all times;
His praise shall continually be on my mouth.
My soul shall make its boast in the Lord;
The humble shall hear it and rejoice.
O magnify the Lord with me,
And let us exalt his name together."
Psalm 34:1-3

I usually come across psalms like the one above when I'm feeling especially selfish or needy. I'll be asking God for a list of really big things like a job, housing, friends, etc. and He reminds me of where my heart needs to be—praising my God. How often do I praise Him? Is His praise continually on my mouth? I continue to go back to Matthew 6 where Jesus says to "seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added on to you." Most of the time my earthly needs beat out praising and seeking His Kingdom—but why? Why would I allow that to happen when He promises to provide all we need WHEN we seek His Kingdom first? This is where I've been placing my focus this month—in truly praising God and learning to love Him and his Word with my heart, soul, strength and mind.

Neither Chris nor I have been successful in finding work yet, but somehow God continues to provide for all of our essential needs. Over the Christmas season we were dog sitting for a couple (the Cathey's) just down the road from our original 'host family'. When the Cathey's got home we asked them if it was possible to stay with them longer. They got back to us a few days later and said their neighbors need a dog sitter during the first two weeks of February so we could stay with the them until February if we agreed to dog sit for their neighbors. We were very thankful for their unexpected generosity and a little surprised to see that in our pursuit for careers God has allowed dog sitting gigs to provide our housing.

This week we have an opportunity to attend a conference on building spiritual bridges in reaching out to Muslims. We are really excited to attend and look forward to how it will inspire our love of sharing the good news. It is interesting to notice that if we had work at this point, the four-day event would be out of the question.

This adventure has not been what we had expected at all—but we continue to cling to God's promises, be in awe of how He has provided, and thankful for the time we have to spend together and the people we've met along the way. We're praying for work (and looking at every opportunity) and seeking His will.

O, magnify the Lord with me,
And let us exalt his name together!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Cultivating Faithfulness

"Trust in the LORD and do good;
Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.
Delight yourself in the LORD;
And He will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the LORD,
Trust also in Him, and He will do it."
Psalm 37:3-5

I read Psalm 37 a few weeks ago and have not been able to stop thinking about it. There is so much in that passage that speaks to me at this point in life. We keep asking ourselves—and the Lord—what to do next, where to look next for work, where to move, etc. But the answers never seem to come.

This passage is as close to an answer as we have found so far. What do we need to do right now? Trust in the Lord, delight in the Lord, and commit our way to Him. This passage also contains some wonderful promises—God will give us the desires of our hearts . . . and He will do it! So, even though the Word does not give us directions such as, "Apply Here" or "talk to this person" it does help to realign our thinking and to give us the proper perspective: the most important thing to us in our lives is our relationship with the Lord.

The phrase that quickly grabbed my attention during my first reading was, "Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness." I felt like this command was exactly what Chris and I have been doing for the past two months. We are dwelling here in the Bay area, and we are cultivating our faithfulness to God and each other.

We went for a drive in San Francisco making a stop on Twin Peaks (the highest point in the city). The view of the city from that point was amazing. And I couldn't help ask, "Lord, is this our land? Is this going to be our home, our city?" Did I hear anything in response? No, but I felt at peace and full of hope (even a bit excited!).

The New Year is starting out differently than we imagined, but we continue to commit our ways to the Lord, continue to seek His direction and continue to apply, apply, apply. We know His ways are not our ways, so we wait on His timing and His provision.


• I have had one job interview and the follow up meeting is scheduled for next week. Please pray that if I take this job, it would be something I would enjoy. (At this point that aspect is uncertain.)

• Our dog-sitting gig is almost up and we continue to pray for affordable housing. Hopefully within the next week or so we will find what we need.

• Our first Christmas together was wonderful. We visited some of Chris's extended family in Frenso, CA.

• My sister, Molly, came for a visit after Christmas. It was so great to see her and be able to spend so much time her. (Not possible if I had a job!)