Dwell in Me

Seeking God in the Every Day


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Lessons from Seminary

I am so blessed to be in seminary! I am more sure than ever that this is where I’m supposed to be right now. I was so nervous, and frankly I had a bad attitude about some of the classes I’m required to take for my degree. I’m interested in the academic study, and wasn’t looking forward at all to classes like “Spiritual Life” or “Evangelism.”

I had my first Spiritual Life class last night, and I’m happy to say I’m a convert. I LOVED it. It promises to offer so much spiritual growth. True, it’s not an academic class, but as my professor wisely pointed out, there is little merit in gaining academic knowledge if the heart and soul are getting left behind. Throughout the two-hour meeting I could just feel the Holy Spirit working in my heart, changing my perspective. What great joy! My evangelism class is tomorrow, but I’m looking forward to it now. I just have a completely differnt attitude.

Coffee Love

My professor, Bruce Fong, is also a dean at the Houston campus of DTS. More importantly, he is a man with an obvious heart for the Lord. He imparted so much wisdom in two hours–and half of that time was spent going over the syllabus!–that I could probably write three different blog posts based on the insights gained through him in one class. I feel so blessed to be in this class, and before yesterday I was absolutely dreading it and expecting it to be a waste of time. Amazing how God can change a heart and attitude so quickly!

One of the things he talked about was the importance of asking for things in Jesus’ name. Jesus says,

“Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.” (John 14:13-14).

But what does it mean to ask for something in Jesus name? There are plenty of things I’ve asked for that I haven’t gotten in the end. And I always add, “In Jesus’ name I pray” at the end of my prayers. I had never thought that I may be missing a key element.

What Dr. Fong said last night is that we are good at asking for things, but not as good as asking in Jesus’ name, in his character, in line with who he is and his goals for us, as one who walks closely with him. As my professor┬ásaid, if we ask for something because we want it for ourselves, we aren’t asking in Jesus’ name. But if we can become like Jesus in our prayers, we will see our prayers answered out of his divine power (2 Peter 1:3-4).

Wow.

To ask in the name of Jessus, I need to grow more in my relationship with him. I need to seek to know what he wants and what his goals are for me and for my life. And then I can be confident that what I ask will be given to me.

I am glad to have this new insight to guide me and help me grow in my prayer life and in my relationship with my Lord. And I am feeling confident that he will answer my request that I might grow deeper roots in my faith this semester. Praise the Lord!

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The Production of Hope

I had an interesting question in a comment the other day, and it’s sparked a lot of thought.

From anchortomysoul:

I do take comfort in that knowing he said this would happen, and that trials produce perseverance and perseverance character and character hope which does not disappoint! Although the end of that verse confuses me! Ha how does character produce hope?

The verse referenced is Romans 5:3-5

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

Last year, I studied Revelation in my Bible study. At first I really struggled with it–and not just because it’s such a difficult book to read through. I struggled with the idea of the world’s end, and especially with the idea that we were supposed to be looking forward to it and even praying for it (“your kingdom come,” in the Lord’s prayer, is just one example). Frankly, it was hard for me to say truthfully that I wanted Christ to return and for the world to end. There are things I want to do. Like have babies, for example.

But suffering makes you think about these things differently. When we were first diagnosed with IF, I felt oddly in tune with the suffering in the world. It was like my personal tragedy somehow highlighted tragedy around me. It was probably because I was so emotional at that time. Uncharacteristically emotional–though I don’t know that “uncharacteristic” is still an accurate description nine months later.

And when I watched the news coverage Monday of the bombings at the Boston Marathon, it was all I could do to hold back tears. Maybe that’s a normal response, but I know it wasn’t a normal response for me 10 years ago. When 9/11 happened I was glued to the TV in fascination, but I don’t remember any real sense of empathy for the people whose lives were lost or who lost loved ones. That sounds terrible as I reread it, but it’s true.

Suffering–through the longing for a family, the challenges that infertility has wrought on us, and, yes, the growth we’ve experienced through IF–has led me to be more aware of the fact that we live in a fallen world. A world of pain. A world where people are hurting every day and all.the.time. This is not my home. And I don’t want this to be my home.

I don’t have an official answer to the question posed, but I have a response. Suffering produces hope. Through suffering, we persevere; perseverance builds our character (I think, primarily, our trust and faith in God, our recognition of our own powerlessness and incompleteness alone, etc.), and we end up with hope. To hope in a place where there will be no more crying. To hope in the perfection promised. To hope in Christ, in his offer of salvation, in the redemption, and in the completion of that story when he will come again.

And now, when I say the Lord’s prayer each night, I mean it. Especially “Your kingdom come.”