Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Provisional God

Have you ever wondered about people who have such incredible natural faith in God? Those people that always have a story about how this desperate situation happened and they just believed in God and he fixed it. More than fixed it, they received that and more. Somewhere in my brain I always put those people in the category of "special children of God." The ones who I hope to attain to someday. I never felt that I had those kind of stories. Perhaps you feel the same way. Sometimes I wonder if I'm not doing it right...if perhaps I'm not a "strong enough" Christian...or ..."good enough?"

We kinda hate to go there because we know that we can not ever be "good enough." There are no amount of things we can do to gain God's approval...and his blessings aren't dependent on what we do, or on how good we were today. So what is it then that separates us from those other people? How do we start having those stories of his incredible provision?

Since May-ish, I have been going to a Natural Doctor. For those of you who know about these, you will completely understand what I am about to say. But for those of you who don't I'll explain two things. When you first start going the doctor most likely will want to see you once a month for almost a year. To work out all the kinks and get your system running properly and smoothly. The second thing is that most insurances will not cover these types of Doctor you pay out of pocket. I in no way make tons of money or am secretly filthy rich, so I will admit that these visits have been costing me a pretty penny...but during the summer months and early fall these costs have not put me in danger of being broke. However, we all know how those holiday months seems like we turn around and suddenly the only store we can afford to shop at is Dollar General. This is where I find myself currently.

Today I had an appointment with my doctor...I was very concerned about being able to pay for the visit...I did a mad dash to my savings account to escort some money over to checking so that it didn't look so bare. I found myself worrying and fretting over spending the kind of money I knew would be required. I almost came to the decision to call and cancel the appointment...except I still would have been charged the initial cost of a visit for canceling the day of. (That was the only thing stopping me from doing that.) I tried to rack my brain of family members that owed me money so I could desperately ask them the pay up so I could afford my visit. But you know how it is in family...we borrow, they borrow, we borrow some the time it's really all said and done it's mostly unbalanced with myself in debt to every one else.

Somehow through the panic...I remember calming down long enough to just say, "Well God, I'm just going to have to trust you." I continued to get dressed for my appointment. About 15 minutes later my mom walked in (yes I still live with my parents who are so good as to let me stay with them) she looked at me and asked me how much my visit today was going to cost me. After I explained that the price varies from visit to visit...she just said simply, "You can take my card and pay for it out of my personal savings." Out of 7ish visits my mom has never offered to pay for a visit. Mostly because my parents do require I pay for most of my things myself. They allow me house room so I am expected to pay my own bills.

I nearly cried right then. God was so faithful, I didn't even have to ask for help except from him. It's had me thinking all day. I think the reason that so many of us don't have these kind of stories all the time is because we simply don't give God the chance. We have so many methods of fixing these situations ourselves. We are some of the most self-sufficient people in existence. I think instead of attempting to fix situations on our own we just need to give God the chance to show himself to us. It takes us stopping mid thought and saying, "God I just trust you."

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The one for the crazy weeks...

So life has stepped up it's game lately and bombarded me with as much as it possibly could. If life had a fast forward button...someone just pushed mine. What with work, freelance, travel, and friends it seems like I've barely had time to breathe.

One thing that I am disappointed to admit to though is that I have neglected my time with God. For the last few weeks I have been running on the last dregs of my energy and trying to get everything all finished on my own power. My family can tell you the person I become in those days. Just call me Oscar the Grouch. Everything effects my emotions, and my state of mind. If traffic stinks, the rest of the day I'm touchy. If my sister looks at me funny, I want to pick her eyeballs out with chopsticks. God forbid if anyone disagrees with me, because then all my wrath comes down in a flaming ball of harsh words and red face. If I spend one day without someone talking to me or responding to me (and I work from home so this is completely plausible) then I am thrown into a deep and spiraling pit of self loathing, loneliness, and desperation for things that I don't need.

Perhaps you know these days as well. My mentor travels and speaks at women's conferences on occasion, and last month I had the opportunity to travel with her. She was talking through her testimony. Not one of drugs and rebellion, or horrible childhood home life, but one of a lifetime of just surviving the Christian life. Relying on conferences, bible studies, and speakers to give us spiritual highs to help hold us over till the next conference, bible study, or speaker. It's a tale most of us "good Christians" can identify with. The cyclical process of relying on everyone else for our spiritual growth. But the main point she makes is how we all have a cup that we carry around with us, and we want everyone else to fill it for us so that we can be who we are supposed to be and do what we are supposed to do. You see that way it's never our fault for being cranky and hard to live with, it's everyone else's fault for not being the people of God we need them to be. If everyone else would just do what they were supposed to do, then I could do what I'm supposed to do and be who I'm supposed to be. It's God's fault he hasn't brought me a man yet, cause once I get married then I can be the woman of God that I need to be and go and do the stuff God wants me to do.

Do you see the problem yet? She talked about how when we start our day out allowing God to fill us through his word, then there is an overflow effect. Our cup is full and we just spill over into everyone else's lives that we interact with. We are running off the fullness of God in our hearts and so we aren't weary and tired and grouchy. It's no longer an inconvenience to deal with the long line at the store, or the insane traffic, or irritating family members, whiny kids, demanding bosses, or any number of irritations that are thrown in our paths as we go about our day. These things become opportunities to show the love of God that has filled us. To share that with everyone around us.

For my single friends out there...when we allow God to fill us with his word everyday, the loneliness ebbs, the desperation to find someone before we hit 30 softens into a slightly occasional thought that flies through your head and burns out in light of the immense opportunities that God has placed before you now as a single person.
A friend of mine sent me this link today and all I could say was "YES! I like it!" so I'm going to share it with you.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

the one about life...

Have you ever just stepped back and looked at all the mountains in your path? The ones that look like you need to be a professional hiker to even consider climbing, with a PHD in survival to make it to the other side? The ones that go so high up into the clouds you'd need an army of oxygen tanks just to breathe?

Sometimes the mountains only feel this monumental from our perspective from inside the bottom of the ravine before it.

I wouldn't say that I'm standing at the lowest part of my life or that the mountain is this huge for me. But I will say that the panic I'm feeling now that I've been told I must climb it, that there's no other way, is about as epic as if the mountains were all of these things and had grinning fangs plastered across it ready to swallow me at the first sign of weakness.

Sometimes at these moments when things seem so far out of your reach or control you just want to curl up and pretend it doesn't exist. You want to walk around in a few large circles trying to convince yourself and God that you are doing something important, just to put off the climb for a little bit longer.

But eventually God stops your ridiculous pacing and calls you to it. To the task he's set before you. And suddenly it's as if you've never heard the word Faith before, trust is a distant memory, and all those times God has proven himself to you before vanish like an expelled breath.

This is where I'm at. That moment. I've got absolutely nothing. No plan, no PHD in survival of life, no offering.

But this I have, I have a God who cares for me. What more could we possibly need?

This verse has been speaking, and speaking to me over weeks. I've been sending it to friends because it is so applicable to life. This is where I keep finding myself and all I can do is remind myself who God is and who I am to him.

"For you are my lamp, O Lord, and my God lightens my darkness. For by you I can run against a troop, and by my God I can leap over a wall. THIS GOD - his way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him." - 2 Samuel 22:29-31

It's amazing how my mountain becomes an anthill in light of this verse.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

The thing about humility and intimacy with Christ

Ok, so I have a few things I wanted to talk about today. First I wanted to share something that God laid on my heart this week. I went to a youth summer camp as a chaperon this last week, and let it be known that even as a leader God still speaks to us at youth events...just in case some of you assumed you reach spiritual maturity as an adult.

One of the last sermons that the speaker spoke about was the details of the death of Christ, and what a love story this was for us and how we should not be ashamed of Him because of what he went through for us. But his main verse he based his sermon off of was Psalm 56:8

"You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?"

This verse hit me so hard. I had completely forgotten about it. I get so wrapped up and lost in how big God is that sometimes I forget how small God is as well. That He is a being to be feared and respected as God of the universe, but also that he is a God who is actively and intimately involved with us individually. The very idea that he keeps track of every tear I shed is such an incredible and reassuring notion.

I am a very private crier. I don't cry in public and in general I don't cry much at all. But for those times that life overwhelms me, and hurt is so real I can barely breathe...I find my refuge in the shower. Yes. I pretty much have my bawling sessions in the shower...that way no one will bust in on me and ask me a bunch of questions about what's wrong, why am I crying, and try to console me. You can cry as much as you want in the shower, and when you get out, no one will know the difference because you are wet all over. I think just realizing that God knows those moments that I have...when my tears are mixed with shower water...that he knows intimately how many tears I've shed, reminded me that we are not the Israelites of the Old Testament. We don't have to go through rituals and sacrifices and priests and elders to get to Jesus. He is readily available right where we are. Even butt-naked in the shower. It reminded me that I can sit face to face with him and speak directly to him. I have forgotten this, and I wanted to throw it out there for others who may be dealing with the same feeling of disconnect with a God that seems so big at times, that someone so small and insignificant as me might just slip through the cracks a bit. Not with God.

The second thing I wanted to share was about humility. I read this today from Wisdom Hunters and it hit me squarely between the eyes.

'“I waited while you spoke, I listened to your reasoning; while you were searching for words, I gave you my full attention.” Job 32:11-12a

A loving listening ear is a valuable gift you give to those the Lord puts in your path. Do you hear the hurt in your husband or wife’s heart? Are your ears engaged with empathy in prayerful patience, before suggesting solutions? As you listen well, you represent Christ well. As you listen well, you love well. As you listen well, you honor well. Humble listening waits patiently so as not to run ahead of hearing well—it gives space to the process.

Most of all, a servant of the Lord is sensitive to the voice of the Lord. We humbly submit to His speech expressed in Holy Scripture and confirmed by the Holy Spirit in prayer. Godly counsel also validates the voice of God. Lastly, people or institutions in authority over us are a mouthpiece for our Master Jesus. His established authorities are boundaries for our protection and progress. So, listen to and obey the law of the Lord and the law of the land. Indeed, humility is slow to speak, quick to listen and always ready to serve.

“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.” James 1:19-20 '

I don't know about you but I love to help people with their problems. I relish times when people want MY advice about things. This is the wrong attitude. It's something that I need to work on. I find, when people do talk to me, I'm mostly just thinking about what I want to say next instead of seeking help in my heart from the Lord to guide my speech and give me the words that will guide and direct them according to the Spirit. I love the phrase here "Are your ears engaged with empathy in prayerful patience, before suggesting solutions?" ...BAM. I needed that hard core.

Anyway. I hope this encourages you as much as it has me.

Monday, June 18, 2012

It's time

It's been way too long since my last post and so much has been going on. But today I want to talk about what has been hammering on my heart lately. I've mentioned before the reading plan I have been on. It's intense and I won't lie I stink at it. lol. It is so much to take in everyday, but it fantastically keeps the entire counsel of God's word at the forefront of my mind when I am reading. I have a horrible tendency to get tunnel vision and only see the one thing right in front of me instead of the enormity of who God is and how every part plays into his righteous and good character.

Anyway, I have been reading Acts through once a month (or thereabouts since I am an inconsistent human I would say I've read it through about three times this year and am working on my fourth.) If you have never taken time to read through this book do it right now. The first half of this book is more focused on the beginning and wildfire-like spreading of the church and the Gospel. If you are discouraged where you are as a Christian, or you have doubts about all of this...start here. The second chapter in particular you see the power of the Holy Spirit through these men.
I guess that is what has really been picking away at me. We privileged Americans don't really know what it means to live on the power of the Holy Spirit. We are so used to being able to take care of ourselves, provide for us and our families, pay for our next meal...etc. We don't experience his power in everyday life and so when it comes to the big things or even just slightly bigger sharing about our faith with others we freak out. We climb back inside our protective shells and kick the Holy Spirit out.

I just want to take a minute and share with you or remind you the power that we have INSTANT access to. In Acts chapter 2 Peter gives a sermon. (Peter who followed Christ, denied him three times and his origins are of fisherman quality). These men have just received the Holy Spirit and are doing incredible things. But just imagine...Peter stands in front of this multitude and tells them this:

"But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them: 'Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words. For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel:
"'And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; even on my male servants and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy. And I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke; the sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day. And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.'"
Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know-- this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. For David says concerning him,
"'I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken; therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; my flesh also will dwell in hope. For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, or let your Holy One see corruption. You have made known to me the paths of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence.'"
Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Being therefor a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, he foresaw and spoke about he ressurection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. This Jesus God raised up, and of that we are all witnesses. Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing. For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says,
"'The Lord said to my Lord, sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.'"
Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucifed."

After this sermon it says there were about 3 thousand souls who were baptized and received his word.

Some days I just feel so inadequate. I look at myself and I only see the mess. I look at the work and I see the insurmountable. I ask myself who am I to think that ANYTHING I do will help. My problem here is, first I'm looking at myself. In and of me...there is nothing that can do anything good. I am a failure. I will always be a failure. My second problem is that I'm not looking at Christ. In this entire speech that Peter gives, his whole point revolves around and adores Christ. Jesus was the focus. He should always be the focus. The power of the Holy Spirit is in the message. Peter was obedient and opened his mouth and the Holy Spirit came out. I may not be making much sense...did I mention I'm not a writer? haha. We have this power that is seen throughout the entire old testament...i.e.: Moses parting the Red Sea, Joshua marching around a fort for a few days and screaming and it falling over, Daniel camping out with hungry lions for a night and walking out unscathed the next morning, the disciples receiving the Holy Spirit and being able to speak and others hear their own language. THIS is the power that we have at our fingertips and we never use it, we forget it's there. We want the spectacular displays not the ability to get from one day to another, from one breath to the next.

I heard a speaker at a missions conference I went to several years ago...he was a ventriloquist. I know, I know, it's weird...but there are some ventriloquist's that have so much talent that for just a moment you really do forget that, that stupid puppet is not real. You believe it for a moment. This guy was good. He did his little gag with the puppet and then he started to talk about abiding in Christ. You know "I am the vine you are the branches." We have heard it before. What struck me was at one point the puppet was telling him that he wanted to talk by himself. He wanted the speaker to walk away and leave him on a chair and let him talk for a few minutes without him. The speaker informed him that if he did this the puppet wouldn't be able to do anything. The puppet argued that he wanted to try. So the speaker put the puppet in a chair sitting soon as he took his hand away the puppet kind of sank in on itself...all the life was completely gone. He made his point. "apart from me you can do nothing." But more than that we are supposed to be possessed by the Holy Spirit. I had never given this phrasing any thought at all before...but I started to think about demon possessed people. They are completely crazy. It's clear someone else is steering the vessel. What about when we are Holy Spirit Possessed? Is it clear someone else is steering? Do we look different? Apart from the Spirit all we can do is sink in on ourselves...all of our life completely gone...but would it actually look like that for us? IF we didn't have the Spirit would our lives look different?

I'll leave you with this scripture. I hope that some of this has made some sense. I am still trying to wrap my brain completely around it...But I think the last question I want to ask is, is your life different because you now have the Spirit in your life and if not Why not?

Romans 8:26-30 says "Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified."

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Just some thoughts

So it's been a while since I've posted so I'm going to update. It's been a few months now and I wanted to update you on the "not focusing on marriage, but living victoriously in Christ everyday." I can't even begin to describe how freeing it has been. I look back and I see how utterly naive and selfish that thought was. I've been listening to Crazy Love by Francis Chan (Audio version while I walk read by Francis Chan) and he mentions that we are deluded if we think that this life is about us in any way. We kind of have this mentality that we are the star of our movie and that everything therefore revolves around us. No wonder we are selfish generation.

For the longest time I believe that somewhere in the back of my head, filed under "do not admit under any circumstances," was a thought that my purpose in life was this EPIC marriage...where God would display himself. I don't doubt that he can and might do that, but to think that was why I was put here...that my whole life centered on one event. It's preposterous. All I know is that my entire life is to be a reflection of the one who has claimed me. Who bought me out of my slavery and redeemed me. Being rid of the all-consuming need to find my mate has opened so many doors and possibilities.

The last couple of weeks God has been hammering this verse into my brain... "Then he said to me,"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly in my weaknesses, SO THAT the POWER OF CHRIST may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ then I am CONTENT with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2Corinthians 12:9-10

This verse is soooo powerful. It requires nothing of us...but our weaknesses. Which, I'll just be honest, are many and varied. All that is needed is his grace. How cool is it that CHRIST'S POWER rests on us?

Be encouraged that God's grace is SUFFICIENT for you for today. That he has given you exactly what you need for today and will do the same tomorrow and the next day...but today is your reality. Walk in the confidence of your weaknesses and allow God to make you strong. So for the days that it all comes crashing back in...all the things you've been working on and trying to do better in. All the times you mess it all up, all the insecurities and stresses, "MY grace is SUFFICIENT FOR YOU."

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Acts 10:34-43

So Peter opened his mouth and said: 'Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right and acceptable to him. As for the word that he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace through Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all), you yourselves know what happened throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism that John proclaimed: how God anointed Jess of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. And we are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree, but God raised him on the third day and made him to appear, not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.'

Friday, April 20, 2012

A Song for You

I just want to share with you today these lyrics from Kari Jobe's song Find You on My Knees.
I hope that it encourages and speaks to you as it has to me.

"Troubles chasing me again,
Breaking down my best defence,
I'm looking, God, I'm looking for you
Weary just won't let me rest and fear is filling up my head.
I'm longing, God I'm longing for you

But I will find you in the place I'm in, find you when I'm at my end,
Find you when there's nothing left of me to offer you except for brokenness.
You lift me up, you'll never leave me thirsty,
When I am weak, when I am lost and searching
I'll find you on my knees.

So what if sorrow shakes my faith,
What if heartache still remains,
I'll trust you, my God I'll trust you.
'Cause You are faithful and

I will find you in the place I'm in, find you when I'm at my end,
Find you when there's nothing left of me to offer you except for brokenness.
You lift me up, you'll never leave me thirsty,
When I am weak, when I am lost and searching
I'll find you on my knees, my knees.

When my hope is gone, when the fear is strong
When the pain is real, when it's hard to heal
When my faith is shaken and my heart is broken and my joy is stolen, God I know that

You lift me up, you'll never leave me thirsty,

Find you in the place I'm in, find you when I'm at my end,
Find you when there's nothing left of me to offer you except for brokenness.
You lift me up, you'll never leave me thirsty,
When I am weak, when I am lost and searching
I'll find you on my knees."

Here's the video if you want to listen.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Beneficial Life...

Lately it seems that God has been trying to teach me about being unselfish. This seems like a pretty basic lesson to learn...we have grown up with our parents telling us to be unselfish, share with others, and "Do unto others as you would have them do to you." But I've realized that living "unselfishly" goes beyond just polite manners and trying to remember to think of others before yourself. It requires living in a way that is actually beneficial to others. It goes beyond "I won't hurt you so you won't hurt me," but living in such a way that says "If I were in your position, how would I wish to be treated? Then doing that for them BEFORE they "desreve it." It's acting before there is merit earned, and even when merit is lost on their side.

I will be the first to confess to you that I do not live this way. I rarely think of others first much less go out of my way to be beneficial to them. Thinking like this puts others so far ahead of yourself that it is nearly impossible to be selfish. Your entire mental state is looking to see what you can do for them.

I think its funny that we expect everyone to treat us well and when someone doesn't they are blacklisted, and punished by us for hurting us. We are very concerned about our rights as individuals and how dare someone infringe on those rights. But we don't extend that same courtesy to others. We can walk all over them and then we are shocked and annoyed with their hurt. We forgive when it is easiest or there is again merit to deserve our forgiveness. I read somewhere last week that forgiving someone is setting them free. We have the ability, in our forgiveness, to free someone from the burden of having hurt us or the sin they have committed against us. And lest we forget that we have been forgiven and set free by our very gracious heavenly Father for absolutely no good reason at all except he loved us. We definitely didn't merit forgiveness...somehow show God we were "worthy" of his forgiveness...No "while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." So that person that I can barely stand who hurt me so bad with their words, the one who is difficult to love because of their personality...while they still hurt me...while they still dislike me...while they are still repugnant...I must remember that this is me before a holy God. When I remember where I stand it makes the compassion for them so much easier to grasp.

You know God has gone above and beyond what was necessary for our lives. He blesses us in ways we can't imagine or count or return. "He works all things for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purposes." I think we get to a place where we just expect God to bless us. To answer our prayers no matter what they are. We almost feel we are entitled to it...Now I don't want to say that we shouldn't pray for things and Hope (believe it as if it had already happened) that God will answer us, or that we shouldn't live in the knowledge that God is a good God...but sometimes we kind of expect God to just be good to us, but we stop there. It isn't an outpouring of our lives. All we are concerned with is our own personal contentment. I guess I'm just starting to realize that our understanding of God's gracious dealings with us should inspire us to be the same toward others, not inspire us to think more of what God should do for me.

I'm rambling a bit I know...I don't have my thoughts all figured out on this one as I am still learning this difficult lesson. But it has been on the forefront of my mind for several weeks now, and I felt I needed to share and process it here.

My desire has been for God to help me change my mental attitude...just to BEGIN to see a different way. So that my FIRST reaction is to look, to FIND ways to be beneficial to others, instead of my first reaction being to be concerned with myself and waiting on them to be kind to me first.

I had never given much thought to the golden rule...its something that if you grew up around've heard your whole life. "Do to others what you would have them do to you." The Jews used to teach this in a negative way...essentially "Don't hurt me and I won't hurt you." But Jesus teaches this positively "You do first what you wish someone would do for you." I pray that I would be on the lookout for opportunities to do for someone else what I often wish someone would do for me. And that includes at home with my family, at work with my bosses and coworkers, and with my friends, and with the stranger in the store, and the jerk in traffic, and with the annoying person in the theater, and...well you get the idea.

I'm going to leave you with this very timely Wisdom Hunters quote that I read this morning which reminded me to share this:

"Are you motivated first by “He”, second by “we” and lastly by “me”? If so, you are set up for relational fulfillment. The sequence for successful thinking is Him, them and you. “Me” will try to squeeze in and monopolize relationships, cannibalize conversations and hijack heaven’s agenda. Thus, by God’s grace, put to death the “me monster” and replace it with love for the Lord and people. “We not me” is the motto of mature Jesus followers."

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


I don't know about you but I struggle with discipline in my life. I lean on the side of lazy where most things are concerned. It's something that I need to improve on in my life. I read this from Wisdom Hunters this morning and it really spoke to me.

"“Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training.” I Corinthians 9:25

Discipline is a prerequisite for a disciple of Jesus Christ. A wise disciplined person knows how to stay focused on the most important, and trusts other urgent matters will take care of themselves in the right time. Paul uses the illustration of athletic training to motivate us to discipline. A compelling motivation for the athlete is the reward at the end.

The reward at the finish line makes worthwhile the sometimes painful workout process and regimented routine. This is why we memorize scripture now, for wisdom later. We exercise now, for energy later. We rise early now in prayer, for peace later. We give generously now, for rewards later. Discipline in the now creates benefits for the future.

“Since an overseer manages God’s household, he must be blameless—not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. Rather, he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined.” Titus 1:7-8

Discipline becomes a habit of life when there are clearly defined goals and steps to achieve them. Discipline provides laser beam focus through structure and accountability. However, it is not all altruistic, there is progress and fruit along the way to enjoy. You feed discipline when you are able to enjoy its fruit with like-minded friends.

Disciplined people make discipline infectious. Surround yourself with people of discipline and you will become better disciplined. A parent, friend, mentor, teacher and other role models can coach and encourage you through a disciplined process. Disciples are disciplined and people who are disciplined can be effective disciples of Jesus Christ.

“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7)."

I hope this encourages you. Sorry for so many posts based on Wisdom Hunters, but they are just so good!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Be Encouraged!

But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. - 2Corinthians 12:9-10

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died-more than that, who was raised-who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, "For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered." No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. -Romans 8:31-39

I just wanted to throw these two verses out there. They have encouraged me so much today. I hope they do the same for you. I want to be thankful today for my weaknesses and know that my savior is praying for me and that nothing can separate me from him. If this doesn't encourage you, that we are MORE than conquerors, then I encourage you to meditate on these scriptures for a few days.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Wisdom Hunters:

"“Love is kind”… 1 Corinthians 13:4

Kindness is a natural application of love because it makes one feel loved. It is the ability to be accepting when everything within you wants to be rejecting. It is a strategy for forgiveness when you are wronged or when someone takes advantage of you. When your trusting spirit has been violated, you still love by being kind; you stop fighting, and you start forgiving.

Kindness means you are pleasant to be around because your countenance is inviting and shows interest. It is as much an attitude as anything, and it is the ability to see beyond the immediate to the potential. Kindness means you go out of your way to love someone. People who are unlovable become prime candidates for your kindness. A family member who is far from God, deep down desires unconditional love and kindness.

Love keeps you kind, especially toward those who are closest to you. They do not deserve your dredging up hurtful, bitter, and unforgiving words from the past. Love is kind in its conversations. Harsh and abrasive speech is absent from kind conversation. Love produces words that are “kind and tenderhearted” (Ephesians 4:32). Love is able to extend kind words that cheer up heavy hearts (Proverbs 16:24). Pray to God for kindness to reign in your relationships with kids and teenagers. Children translate kindness into love, for it is their language of love.

We all have blown up and lost our temper over disrespectful attitudes and actions from our offspring. The temptation is to disrespect them when we have been disrespected, and the natural response is to become angry when someone else spews out his or her frustrations on us. But God has not called us to natural responses but supernatural ones. Kindness in the face of frustration is a fruit of the Spirit, and only through submission to your Savior will kindness come front and center. The fullness of the Holy Spirit in your life is what causes kindness to come forth.

Lastly, loving others with kindness does not preclude difficult decisions. Kindness is not patronizing, but it is authentic care and concern, and it is able to deliver hard truth that softens hard hearts. You can dismiss an employee with kindness. Likewise, you can disagree with kindness in a heated debate. Harshness has no hold on those who are controlled by Christ.

Therefore, kindly love people through difficult situations. Serve those who are experiencing financial difficulties, for example. Kindness is king for followers of King Jesus, so love with kindness and watch them come around and embrace Christ. Kindness kills sin and sadness, and brings to life love, forgiveness, and hope. Allow Jesus’ loving kindness to flow through you, for kindness toward the needy honors God (Proverbs 14:31). Kindness resides where love is applied, because love is kind."

Thursday, February 2, 2012


Self-evaluation is one of those things that I hate doing...but love doing. Here's a quote from a book by Jerry Bridges called The Transforming Power of the Gospel.

"We will not grow unless we see our need to grow, we will not pursue holiness unless we see how much we are still unholy, and we will not see our unholiness unless we look at the holiness of God instead of what we perceive to be the unholiness of our neighbor. This is why we must face up to the sinfulness of our own sin. Our sins are not mere "mistakes"; no, they are acts of lawlessness, of rebellion, of despising God and his law... dwelling on the seriousness of sin causes us to realize our need of the gospel and our need of embracing it everyday. It is against the dark backdrop of our sinfulness that the beauty of the gospel shines so brilliantly. Nothing prepares a person to understand and embrace the gospel so much as a personal awareness and conviction of one's own sin."

"The best preparation for the study of the gospel is neither great intellectual ability nor much scholastic learning but a conscience impressed with a sense of our actual condition as sinners in the sight of God. A deep conviction of sin is the one thing needful in such an inquiry, a conviction of the fact of sin, as an awful reality in our own personal experience of the power of sin as an inveterate evil cleaving to us continually, and having its roots deep in the innermost recesses of our hearts." - James Buchanan

I don't know about you, but I know that after reading this chapter I was overwhelmed with my own conduct. I don't want to become the person he talks about that focuses so much on others sins that I forget to look at my own and then when I do just see them as mistakes. I think it has been a long time since I have been overwhelmed with my sinfulness. I think sometimes we focus so much on the freeing power of the Gospel that we almost begin to look at our sin as a small thing. The "God will forgive me" attitude is very present. Even if I would never admit out loud that is what my actions portray.

"the gospel keeps us from self-righteousness because the gospel is only for sinners. Embracing the gospel every day forces me to acknowledge I am still a sinner in need of the mercy of God. It keeps me from lapsing into a performance-based relationship with God because I know that my performance is never good enough." -JB

I know that I do not want to forget to feel the weightiness of my sin, but there is the forgiveness. We can not forget the repentance part or that Christ has already paid for our sin. So we can rejoice in that...but how can we truly rejoice if we have never felt the weight of our sin? So I leave you with this line from "It is Well with My Soul."

"My sin, oh the bliss of this glorious thought. My sin not in part, but the whole, is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more. Praise the Lord, Praise the Lord, Oh my soul!"

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Proverbs 30:1-9

"The man declares, I am weary, O God;
I am weary, O God, and worn out.
Surely I am too stupid to be a man.
I have not the understanding of a man.
I have not learned wisdom,
nor have I knowledge of the Holy One.
Who has ascended to heaven and come down?
Who has gathered the wind in his fists?
Who has wrapped up the waters in a garment?
Who has established all the ends of the earth?
What is his name, and what is his son's name?
Surely you know!
Every word of God proves true;
he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
Do not add to his words,
lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar.
Two things I ask of you;
deny them not to me before I die:
Remove far from me falsehood and lying;
give me neither poverty or riches;
feed me with the food that is needful for me,
lest I be full and deny you
and say, "Who is the Lord?"
or lest I be poor and steal
and profane the name of my God."

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Dog Sitting Days Pt2

I have been debating all night and morning with myself whether or not to write this post. I guess it's obvious which side won out. I am still dog sitting for my best friend, and it has been a LONG two weeks, for more than one reason(by the way they come back on Thursday!! :D :D :D). The isolation has been difficult. I want to share what God has been teaching me this last week in particular. As you might know from my testimonies I have been very excited about getting married someday and what that will look like. I thought I had a healthy God honoring view of marriage. It wasn't an obsession like it had been at one point. It was something that I "waited for with patience and anticipation". I have been doing this bible reading challenge called "The 3560 Challenge." Basically its a bookmarking plan where you read ten chapters of the bible a day and by the end of the year you have read 3650 chapters...which means you've read the bible several times over. (it's a clever name I know ;)) You read from different sections of the bible...each chapter from a different book. The books are separated typically by the Pentateuch is one book mark...The Minor Prophets is another...etc. I have loved it. reading the other day started in Matthew where Jesus is talking about marriage, and towards the end he says that it is better to remain single, if you can receive that receive it. I don't know why but this really stood out to me. I suddenly was gripped with fear that God was asking me to give up the one thing I wanted more than anything else. I immediately thought of Abraham and Issac...when God told Abraham to sacrifice the one thing that mattered most to him, his son Issac. Abraham of course complied without comment or complaint. It bothered me for several days. I began to ask myself, "what if God is asking me to be single the rest of my life?" It was a tough question for me. I realized that all I felt after that question was unendurable sadness and depression. Though I am not proud of it, I will admit that the thought "what am I here for then?" cropped into my head. I tried to put on my Spiritual face and say well God is my provider and I will trust Him to provide for all my needs...emotional, physical, etc. So I need not be concerned about this because I can do the rest of my life alone as long as I have God.

That attitude lasted for about the rest of the week...I had a mantra going in my head...every time I thought of marriage I would say to myself "I probably am not getting married so I need to stop thinking about this." But in the very deepest part of my heart, I hoped...I hoped that this was like Abraham. That God would still give me what I wanted I just had to prove that it wasn't as important to me as God. Haha...I love how we think we can lie to God as easily as we lie to ourselves.

A few days later...I was content with my "remaining single life" and so joyful in it. I thought this will be over in a few days. Oh how arrogant. Monday morning...I began my Bible readings...the third chapter I read was 1 Corinthians 7. If you are familiar with this chapter then you will know what I am about to say. Paul is writing to the people in Corinth and in this particular chapter he is talking about marriage...Paul goes on to say how divorce should work etc...then he starts talking for a majority of the chapter how it is better to be single. It's not for everyone, but he was encouraging people who were not engaged or already married to not seek it. So that they could be devoted completely to the Lord without the distractions and the anxieties of marriage. My heart sank. Then I read the next chapter on my list which was James 1. "Consider it pure joy whenever you face trials of many kinds..." I started to bawl. I couldn't give it up. For six years I had been looking forward to it...had scripture to back me up that that was where God had been leading me. How could he now just decide to throw that all out the window? I realized then how much of an idol marriage has been in my life. My whole world revolved around the distant future event that now I could not guarantee would actually happen.

I immediately sent an email to my mentor explaining what was happening. My desire to trust God on this, but the battle that raged within me to be angry with him that he had brought me to a place with all these desires and emotions and was just going to deny me what I wanted. I went to shower...because that is where I think best...and after calming down and thinking about it I decided I was just going to trust God.

In all her vast wisdom my mentor called me. She began to share with me that what I was trying to reconcile was huge. My entire existence. She said when she feels overwhelmed with those kind of proportions she brings it back to today. God has given us strength to get through today. Not the future. He doesn't walk us through our imaginations. He walks us through actual events. She said today you can receive it. Today you are single. She said whether or not I get married will not change my life that much. That the goal was to serve in Kingdom work. To be obedient to Christ, and to seek to be a woman of God. She said none of that will change regardless of my marital state. So she reminded me that we live in right here, right now, and we should focus on what we have before us at this moment. Right now I am single...I have the advantages that Paul talks about. I am free from the distractions and anxieties of marriage. Today I can receive it. So I pray that God will use me today. Use me for Kingdom work today in my availability right now.

She is so wise. :) I don't know if I will ever get married but I realized that it is wrong for that to be my biggest concern. I should be concerned with the Lord's work. I encourage you, if you are like me, to seek his kingdom today and not waste the valuable time you have as a single person "waiting with patience and anticipation" for your spouse to walk into your life. If it comes it is an added blessing to your life, but your true fulfillment and provision comes from the Lord you serve today.

I read this this morning and I wanted to share it with you because it made my heart sing. I hope that it encourages you to go in today and follow the Lord who is good and great!

"Lift up your heads, O gates!
And be lifted up, O ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The LORD, strong and mighty,
the LORD, mighty in battle!
Lift up your heads, O gates!
And lift them up, O ancient doors,
that they King of glory may come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The LORD of hosts,
HE is the King of glory!"
Psalm 24:7-10

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Ultimate Woman...

I've never done a full study on Proverbs 31, but I would really like to at some point. The woman who is described there is someone I hope one day to aspire to. Unfortunately I don't think about this often enough, but again I was sent my daily devotion from Wisdom Hunters and I felt it was too good not to post.

If you have not looked at their website or have not subscribed to their daily email devotions...I highly recommend it.

"“A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.” Proverbs 31:10

A woman of character is not easily found. She is rare and valuable. Because of her appealing attributes, she is a gift from God. Thank Him often if you are blessed with this quality of woman in your life. She is rare because we live in a self-crazed culture, yet a woman of character is others-focused. For the follower of Christ, selflessness is expected. But for our society as a whole, it is an anomaly. She refuses to demean herself to a standard of mediocrity.

Her goal is excellence in living. Duplicity is far from her thinking as she serves with authenticity and industry. No skills or gifts remain dormant in her active life. She channels her energies into the welfare of her family and is resourceful with financial opportunities. A woman of character is an anchor for her family. Her character provides stability when challenges creep into her home. She is determined to do the right thing regardless of the difficulties it may require. Character is more important than compromise, therefore she models the way for her friends and family. She is a rock of hope and consistency because God’s Word has become that for her.

However, be careful to not take the world on your shoulders—that is God’s job. Also, do not hold a standard of perfection over your head. Leave yourself some wiggle room for mistakes. You will make mistakes. Let mistakes be a reminder of what to do and what not to do in the future. They are reminders of your dependence on God. Your goal is not to live a mistake-free life but a life that loves God and loves people. Let Him continue to develop your character and grow you into a mentor of other women. Don’t waste your wonderful experiences. Share them with younger women so that they can grow in their character.

Husband, love your wife of character. Tell her often how proud you are of her. Do not be intimidated by her level of spirituality. On the contrary, celebrate her passion for life and her spiritual maturity. Allow her life to challenge you and inspire you to the same level of character development. Your virtuous woman is a tremendous asset. Your best and most strategic business decision occurred when you married a woman of character. Her wisdom is unparalleled. Her discernment of human nature borders on the divine. She is uncanny in seeing things you do not see—and saving you a ton of money and time (that is if you listen to her).

Her influence is ever-present in her work and home. Encourage her burgeoning influence and opportunities. Become her biggest cheerleader. If she wants to start a business, help her start a business. If she needs some help with the house and lawn, make that investment. Free her to do what she does best. It may be teaching, mentoring, being a mom, sewing or serving in a variety of capacities. It may be to take care of her parents during the latter stages of life.

Allow her to reach her full potential. Give her the cash, confidence and resources to reach for her dreams. Be grateful. A woman of character is not to be taken for granted. Yet this is easy to do. Make a big deal out of her accomplishments, because they are a big deal. Help her to pace herself and protect her from the encroachment of those with warped motives. Her character is a valued asset that needs to be managed with care. Care for her as she cares for you!"

I hope this encourages you as it did me. Not only to see what the standard is for us as women of God, but also how we should encourage one another in the same way. Making much of others obedience to God and their striving to be like Christ.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Dog-Sitting Days...

Among many freelance art projects and my full time job that I have, I also find myself dog-sitting quite often. I usually stay at the house where the dog lives until the owners return. This often leads to much time spent alone, and almost always ends with me spending most of that time talking to the dog. I am currently doing this for my best friend and her husband who are currently in India with both my sisters on a mission trip. So basically everyone that I talk to/spend time with regularly are out of the country, and my companion is their black standard poodle Gracie. It has been one day officially and I have already begun to talk to her. haha.

Typically when I have this much time alone, my mind spirals into places it should not go. Such as pity-parties about not having things to do, lots of friends to call, or lots of friends calling me. Also self-loathing because I have far too much time to focus on myself and all of my many and varied flaws, and past mistakes I have made. I do not make close friends easily. Several years of being burned in friendships have left me wary to dive into new ones. So I have lots of experience with these feelings of self-pity/loathing because I spend a fair amount of time by myself. As I said I am on day two of dog-sitting and have already found myself in these places several times.

I don't know if you struggle with things like this. Perhaps you don't, in which case I am supremely jealous of you ;). But, if you are like me and find yourself in deep dark pits because you have dwelt too long on things that are not honoring to God, I would like to encourage you.

First that God is sufficient to satisfy you in loneliness, in your depression, in your mistakes, in feeling insufficient, or unnecessary, even feeling lost in where you are in life. He is the only one who can satisfy your heart completely. Be satisfied in his word, and in his complete and total trustworthiness.

Second that he has a purpose for each season of your life. He does not do things for no reason, or without or outside his plan for you. "He works all things for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose." Not meaning he will only ever give us "good" things in our understanding of good. But our ultimate good which is being made like his son, and our sanctification.

I read this from Wisdom Hunters this morning and I hope that it will encourage you the way it has encouraged me.

"“I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten—the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm—my great army that I sent among you.” Joel 2:25

God can make up for wasted time. He specializes in redeeming rough seasons in our lives. What has become a torturous transition, He can use to love you into a closer relationship with Him. Where else can you go for eternal life than to the one who is eternal (John 6:68)? Allow God to backfill this blot on your past. He can rebuild what has been broken, and even destroyed.

You may have been embarrassed and humiliated, but nothing is beyond God’s long arm of restoration. Injustice may have invaded your unsuspecting life. Unaware and unexpecting, you lost everything you had spent a lifetime building. Poof, in a twinkle of an eye, it was gone. Your career was gone. Your family teetered on division. Your reputation was tattered and all but obliterated. Your joy was gone, your finances depleted, your energy sapped. And your faith was shot full of holes. Your desire to move forward in life was severely stalled. Worst of all, you wondered where the Lord was in all this reversal of fortune. You were on the fast track to bitterness because of your feelings of betrayal. You may have hit rock bottom, and now there is nowhere to look but up.

Look up to Jesus. He is your hope, your rock, and your refuge. Look up to the Lord, even though He may seem a million miles away. Now is the time to practice what you told others all those years. Trust God during this time of turmoil. God wants to backfill your loss. He can fill your pit of pity with hope (Psalm 40:2). Your broken relationships that are buried in a cistern of hurt, He can retrieve with forgiveness. Into your financial black hole, He can shine the light of His provision and opportunity.

In Christ, your best days lie ahead. Submit to His healing. Let go of your hurt and pride, and hang on to Him. He is the best thing you have going for you. Let these failures forge a stronger faith in you and in your family. Face the fact that you are forgiven, and move forward in the power of the Holy Spirit. Lean on the Lord. He can handle it. He is your stability in this storm of insanity. God is there for you to rebuild your reputation, and to give you daily doses of hope and encouragement. Your eruption of raw emotion will cultivate you into a more sensitive and compassionate follower of Christ.

He has brought you through this crisis of faith to allow you to coach others through the same. You are a living and breathing testimony of the grace and love of God. Project His faithfulness onto other fledgling followers of Jesus. Let the Lord backfill the hole in your heart and life with His love and faithfulness. His filling of right attitudes and actions will bar the door of your mind from bitterness and backstabbing. Invite the Holy Spirit to backfill your soul with His fruit of love, joy, peace, self-control, purity, forgiveness, and humility. What God fills proves faithful. What God fills, He controls and comforts. Use the lessons of the past as a reminder for the Holy Spirit’s filling in the present. His backfilling results in faithfulness going forward."

Monday, January 9, 2012


This past week I was able to go to the Passion Conference in Atlanta. For those who may not know what this is, it is a Christian conference for college age students. I had my hesitations about going...mountaintop experience among other things, but I am so glad I went. God really moved and did a work there and in myself.
I guess what I really want to talk about was a few things that hit home with me yesterday. I was in my church service, my father was preaching on joy. How joy isn't based on outward circumstances but on an inward condition. He asked us a very potent question. What brings you the most joy? I thought very hard about that. What did bring me the most joy? After coming off a week at Passion (my mountain top) all I could think was the times in my life when I have been most joyful are when I am most satisfied in Christ. The times when I spend the most time in his word and soak up every sentence. When my heart sings praise to him all day. Those times the joy is inexpressible. It surpasses the most epic movie I could ever see, the most awesome of roller coasters, etc. Because with all of those things there is an end to the "joy" it brings, and I think in my heart I know it is coming to an end and therefore the "joy" is cheapened a bit. But with the joy from a relationship with Christ that joy is eternal and fresh everyday.
Here is a quote from Wisdom Hunters again.
"Our joy is in our Lord and King, Jesus; we choose no lower delight. The religion of men remains dead in sin, sad, and contingent on circumstances. We however serve with gladness, a risen Savior who rules by grace and truth. Gladness comes when you go to God to govern your life. It is the Lord you look to when life is spinning out of control. Children of God are happy to be His. Be glad your Maker made you for Himself.
He wants you, He desires you, and He invites you into the joy of His presence. Time with Jesus in stillness and solitude generates joy in your soul. Your glad heart will make music, and sing praises to your King. You may find yourself dancing with the stars under the canopy of heaven. Sing the new song written on your heart by the Holy Spirit, and you will be glad in God."

“Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.” Psalm 100:2