Friday, December 28, 2012

Never fear about the future.

"Let us never fear as to the future! While we see our Lord and Representative sitting in quiet expectancy we too may sit in the attitude of peaceful assurance and with confidence await the grand outcome of all events. As surely as Jehovah liveth Jesus must reign, yea, even now He is reigning, though all His enemies are not yet subdued... Those rebels who now stand high in power, shall soon be in the place of contempt. They shall be His footstool. He shall with ease rule them. He shall sit and put His foot on them..."
-C. H. Spurgeon

Our King is sovereign over every single, itty-bitty thing. That's so comforting, isn't it?

So even though it may seem at moments, that life is going crazy and confusing and out of control, it isn't. The view ahead my be a complete fog to you and I, but it is intensely clear to our Lord. And these bumps in the road are sanctification tools, they leave us clinging closer to Christ and trusting His promises.

So if I really believe that God is God, that He is gracious... That He sent His son to be born of human flesh, to live, to know temptation, and be crushed on the cross for my sins... that when He looks at me He smiles because He sees His son...

...Then why, oh why, would I ever worry about the future? Ever feel hopeless? Ever feel forsaken? Ever be afraid?

Even when evil seems to triumph over good, that's all just temporary. Christ has won the ultimate victory.

In 2013 may we ever remember that His love for us is steady, His sovereignty is sure, and that we didn't earn this acceptance into this eternal family of God by any merit of our own.

We were chosen.  The Lord is in control. He has all our ways in His hand.


"...casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you." 1 Peter 5:7

"...fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." ~ Isaiah 41:10

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Why we were created.

"Why did God create man? To show God! He created little images so that they would talk and act and feel in a way that reveals the way God is. So people would look at the way you behave, look at the way you think, the way you feel, and say, God must be great, God must be real. That is why you exist. God didn't create you as an end in yourself. He's the end, you're the means. And the reason that's such good news is because the best way to show that God is infinitely valuable is to be supremely happy in Him. If God's people are bored with God, they are really bad images. God is not unhappy about Himself. He is infinitely excited about His own glory.

That's why the Son received the words: You are my beloved son. With you I am well pleased. Take those words, "Well pleased." God doesn't say He's okay with Jesus. He's not just okay with Jesus! He is absolutely thrilled with Jesus as the image of Himself  So if we go about the world making our choices in what we watch on television, do on the computer, handle money, use food, so that it communicates to the world that these things are our treasure, rather than God, that these things make us satisfied rather than God, He's getting the bad press, and we're not doing what we were created to do. We were created to image God. So, God predestined for His glory and He created for the display of His glory."

-John Piper, A Holy Ambition

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Merry, merry Christmas, friends! :) 
After praying about something I could share with you for Christmas day, I turned on my laptop this morning and found this poem in my inbox! A friend of mine, Lauren Bleser, had just written it and she gave me permission to share it here. 
May it be as much of a blessing to you, as it was to me. :)

"Saved from death.
Saved from sin.
But even more...
We are saved from meaninglessness.
Christ fills us with purpose.
A reason to sing.
A reason to love.
A reason to give.
He fills us with compassion for others.
No detail is too small for the God of the Universe.
No person insignificant.
No moment a waste.
Our time is an opportunity to impact eternity.
To know Him.
To show Him.
He fills us with hope because He is our hope.
Our trials.
Our hurts.
Our accomplishments.
He is in them and above them and will see us through them.
All things fade.
He remains.
He remains.
And our lives carry great purpose.
He asks us to lift feeble hands towards heaven.
To take someone else's hand and draw their eyes up.
To look beyond ourselves.
To go past our pains and our pleasures.
To see something bigger.
Our lives tell a greater story.
We are saved from being the center.
Only divinity can bear that.
We are saved from being slaves to our passions.
Only He satisfies.
We are saved from emptiness.
And our cold, dark hearts are traded in for His heart.
Our will aligned with His.
So rejoice!
Rejoice that we are not the beginning or the end.
Rejoice that we are not the judge. Rejoice that there is One much greater.
We are saved from ourselves.
Behold the only One worthy of our praise."
~ Lauren Bleser ~ December 24th, 2012
John 3:30
He must increase and I must decrease.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

No Detour from Calvary

During a mealtime each day my family and I have been going through the advent booklet that Desiring God provides called Good News of Great Joy. I found this portion to be amazing! Oh, how unwavering is Jesus' love for us! :)

And while they were there, the time came for her to 
give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and 
wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a 
manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
 —Luke 2:6–7

Now you would think that if God so rules the world as to use an empire-wide census to bring Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem, he surely could have seen to it that a room was available in the inn. Yes, he could have. And Jesus could have been born into a wealthy family. He could have turned stone into bread in the wilderness. He could have called 10,000 angels to his aid in Gethsemane. He could have come down from the cross and saved himself. The question is not what God could do, but what he willed to do. God’s will was that though Christ was rich, yet for your sake he became poor. The “No Vacancy” signs over all the motels in Bethlehem were for your sake. “For  your sake he became poor” (2 Corinthians 8:9). 

God rules all things—even motel capacities—for the sake of his children. The Calvary road begins with a “No Vacancy” sign in Bethlehem and ends with the spitting and scoffing of the cross in Jerusalem. And we must not forget that he said, “He who would come after me must deny himself and take up his cross” (Matthew 16:24).

We join him on the Calvary road and hear him say, “Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you” (John 15:20). 

To the one who calls out enthusiastically, “I will follow you wherever you go!” (Matthew 8:19). Jesus responds, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has now here to lay his head” (Matthew 8:20).Yes, God could have seen to it that Jesus have a room at his 
birth. But that would have been a detour off the Calvary road.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Our Father loves us.

After the fall in the garden of Eden, "this whole universe is now an orphanage." {Russell Moore}

Life here on earth is an adoption process. And this journey, though I trip and fall, time and time again as I learn to walk, is just a short piece of time until I am Home. {Romans 8:23}

On this journey I feel like my heart is so often numb to the wonder of the cross. I barely take the time to stop and taste His goodness, and fully grasp what Jesus did for me.

You see. In sin, in pride, I easily forget that it was my sins that killed my Savior. He died to redeem me, us, His chosen ones so that we might know Him.

My Savoir, my Father, was crushed for me. He took all of the penalty, and placed it on Him. A perfect sinless man dying for this destitute orphan.

"He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities." ~Psalm 103:10

Amazing, amazing love! Amazing redemption. Amazing grace!

He knew disgrace so that I might know grace. He knew rejection so that I might be accepted in Him. He new death and Hell, so that I might know life and the glories of Heaven.

And I did nothing good to deserve this love. Nothing. And nothing can take me away from this love.

Because of His love I can repent, turn and run back into my Father's arms where I can rest in Him.

With such a Sovereign loving Father how do I even have the audacity to doubt His guiding hand in my life? To worry? To think that I can mess up my life by my own frailty? He has not left us orphans. Our life is hidden in Him... but, sanctification hurts.
"We don't fully believe that our new Father will feed us, so we hang on to our scraps and long for the regimented schedules of the orphanage from which we've come. And when our Father pushes us along to new tastes, we pout that he's not good to us. Bet he's readying us for glory, preparing us to take our place on thrones as heirs." ~Russell Moore
This life isn't about pacifying cries for what I think I may need. We have a hope that far surpasses anything we can even fathom here on this earth. And each stripping away of earthly pleasures is an act of love because all earthly cisterns take us to dry and dusty desert lands. Our Father, knows what we need most!

As my Pastor reminded during the sermon this morning... God's timing is always perfect. If you are His child, cling to Him, because He loves you more than you can even fathom! When we fall or sin or worry, we can repent and know that He loves us still "and we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose." {Romans 8:28}

"For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience."
~Romans 8:18-25

>Our Father loves us<

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Come To Me

I came across this on Together for Adoption's blog. This is a perfect reminder that the Lord is the only One who gives us rest and refreshment in everything we do! Always, always may we keep our focus on Him!

"Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.""
~Matthew 11:28

"The sacred center of Christianity is Christ himself. Coming personally to the Person. Coming directly to the Mediator. No one but Jesus can call us with such authority, and no one but Jesus can encourage us with such a promise. No one else can give us rest.

If our primary purpose in church is to connect with one another, that's what we'll get - one another. And we'll end up angry. Only Jesus gives us rest. If we put Him first and come to Him first, then we'll have something to give to one another.

If our primary purpose in church is outreach and mercy and justice, we'll end up exhausted. Only Jesus gives us rest. If we will put Him first and come to Him first we'll be renewed for endless missions.

There are as many false and disappointing centers as there are impulses in our hearts. Everything else will let us down. Everything.

Only One has ever said and can ever say "Come to me, and I will give you rest."

His offer stands. And we don't have to deserve it. He gives it. But he does come first."

~Author Unknown Source:  Together for Adoption

Sunday, November 25, 2012

~Sweeter than all pleasures~

"How sweet all at once it was to me to be rid of those fruitless joys which I had once feared to lose!... You drove them from me, You who are the true, the sovereign joy. You drove them from me and took their place, You who are sweeter than all pleasures... O Lord my God, my light, my Wealth, and my Salvation."
~St. Augustine

Friday, November 23, 2012

All is grace

What a lovely Thanksgiving my family and I had yesterday with friends... and we also had some of the most beautiful snowflakes filling the air outside! Don't you just love this cozy time of year?! :)

Every morning for the past week I've read in a book called Comforts from the Cross. It has daily reminders of the gospel and it has been so wonderful to read! I'm so thankful for the gospel...

The Lord chose us to praise Him. This is baffling... but I'm grateful that He takes hell-bound sinners and washes them clean, casts rags of self-righteousness away and clothes them in His complete righteousness. And He tells us, His children, to "...give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." 1 Thess. 5:18 

Christ's children are so loved. Loved with a perfect love. And we have so much to be thankful for.

What else, but deep praise and thankfulness should we offer to such a faithful Father and King? I'm so thankful for the truth of the gospel that convicts and comforts me again and again.

This quote was shared by a facebook friend and I love what it says:

"A thankful heart is one of the primary identifying characteristics of a believer. It stands in stark contrast to pride, selfishness, and worry. And it helps fortify the believer’s trust in the Lord and reliance of His provision, even in the toughest times. No matter how choppy the seas become, a believer’s heart is buoyed by constant praise and gratefulness to the Lord." 
-John MacArthur

I've had many opportunities to write down what I'm thankful for this November. At the beginning of this month I joined a girls' online group where we each record 7 things we're thankful for each day. Also, my Pastor requested his "flock" to write down 2 lists of what their thankful for, using the alphabet. One list from A to Z of spiritual things we're thankful for and another A to Z list of material things we're thankful for. That's 52 things to be thankful for plus the 210 at the end of this month. 


At first these thankfulness lists were easy...
I'm thankful for, my family, my friends, the Lord, abundant grace, the gospel, my home....etc, etc... so forth and so on.

But something eventually happens when you're required to write out that many things...

I had to look deeper. And see the grace in the common and sometimes not so beautiful things. This is where faith and trust in God's sovereignty is tested. And where trusting my Savior comes in.

Sometimes it's the things that I would love to rip out of my life that I have the most to be thankful for... our King molds each of us in His image with these sanctifying tools of grace. And sometimes they're hard to be thankful for {i.e. weaknesses so that His power is made manifest.}

I'm learning all of this ever so slowly. 

...That all is grace...

Thursday, November 15, 2012

~Ask of Him~

Because of a few issues I had with tons of spam comments, the comment section on my blog has word verification again... and now? No more spam! Yay! Although I'm sorry it makes it a bit more of a hassle now for you all to comment. :( I really enjoy every comment from each of you! They're a true encouragement! :)

So today, I got this quote in an email and I just had to share it! Such a wonderful encouragement to pray more. :)

"Dost thou want nothing, O, my fellow-mortal? Hast thou nothing to ask? Yes, thou replies, I need an infinite supply. Well then, draw near to thy precious King and Bridegroom without fear.

Lo! He holds out His golden scepter to thee, saying, "Only ask; not the half, but the whole of My kingdom shall be granted; nay, I will give Myself unto thee."

Disclose to Him, therefore, thy whole heart, mentioning all thy wants and grievances. Whatever is poured out before Him, is lodged in its proper place; He takes the burden from thee, and encourages thee to hope for seasonable and full relief...Ask of Him, therefore, all thou needest, and ask in faith."
~C.H. Bogatsky

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

He is Our Everything

"Let my mouth be filled with Your praise and with Your glory all the day."
~Psalm 71:8

Over the past few days I have been learning to set my mind more fully on all that the Lord is for me in Christ. And oh, He is everything each of us ever will need in life! Who He is, steadies us in an unsteady world. 

The Lord is our:
~Refuge {Deuteronomy 10:17}
~King {Psalm 74:12}
~The great I AM {Exodus 3:13-14}
~He is God of gods and Lord of lords {Deuteronomy 10:17}
~Wonderful Counselor
~Mighty God
~Everlasting Father, 
~Prince of Peace {Isaiah 9:6} 
~Husband {Isaiah 54:5}
~Redeemer {Isaiah 54:5}
~Creator {Isaiah 40:28}
~Comfort {Psalm 46:1}
~great high Priest {Hebrews 4:14}
and much, much more...

Meditating on all Christ is for us, shifts our flesh-bent and prideful hearts off of ourselves and onto the Lord. He is jealous for His glory, my friends! 

And that is a very good thing for us, because praising the Lord and being happy in Him, positions us in our rightful place. He is greater than anything, and the knowledge of His holiness brings us to our very smallest and freeing state.  
"...yet would man praise Thee; he, but a particle of Thy creation. Thou awakest us to delight in Thy praise; for Thou madest us for Thyself, and our heart is restless, until it repose in Thee." ~Augustine
As I read through  the Bible, I'm increasingly made aware that everything in our lives is there to glorify Him. This life is all about Him. The book off Ezekiel shows the zeal the Lord has for His people to know that He is the Lord God. Even if it means overturning nations. 

The Lord doesn't always resolve life circumstances the way we think He will, but this is because He has something far greater for us in mind.

As I read in the Bible I'm stunned with hope.

In John 9:2-3 it tells about the blind man:
 "And His disciples asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him."

And then in John 11:3-4 it says of Lazarus and his sisters:
"So the sisters sent to Him, saying, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” But when Jesus heard it He said, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.

Ah... we are so finite! So often we look at life and think it's a mess and we are so uncertain and sometimes think we want life to happen our way. But look! The Lord has everything working out to the good of those who love Him {Romans 8:28}! We often think it's sin that caused the man to be born blind, we think it's too late for Him to heal Lazarus, we look at our weakness and blame our problems on it. But no. These weaknesses are the beginning of hope. They are there to showcase the power of God. 

Look to Him, my friends and be in awe. Not only is He our everything, but He uses everything for His glory!

“Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to Your name give glory, for the sake of Your steadfast love and Your faithfulness!” 
~Psalm 115:1

"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 of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me."
~2 Corinthians 12:9

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Only to Be Yours Lord!

I love how the Lord brings along the right songs at the right time. I heard this particular song {lyrics below} while mixing up a batch of muffins yesterday evening. The lyrics echo my heart's plea. 

Only To Be Yours

Undivided, strip everything else away,
Burn the idols, the things in my life that have replaced You,
I lay my life down here on Your alter,
Empty my hands of all I've been holding back

Captivated, You've stolen my heart away,
I've been liberated, the chains of this world forever broken, 
You laid Your life down,
Now I surrender, lifting my hands,
I'm holding nothing back

For every need I want is found in You,
every breath in me a gift from You,
I have nothing here apart from You,
I am Yours Lord, only Yours

Take everything I have, only to be Yours, Lord, Yours Lord, take it from my hands until I'm holding on to only You.

~Meredith Andrews

Saturday, October 27, 2012

A mission

A mission. That's what I've been grasping after lately. What is my life mission? I love feeling like I know where I'm going. I'm sure most everyone can relate to this. This desire to have a purpose, an attainable goal to go after where I can let go of selfish desires.

And in all of this searching and praying for what God wants me to do and talking to my parents about it, one thing is becoming very evident: this very act of wanting to die to myself and live for others (less of me more of Him) can turn into thinking more about myself.
And joy flies out the window.

And then I ran across this quote when I logged onto facebook on Monday:

"We are settling for a Christianity that revolves around catering to ourselves when the central message of Christianity is actually about abandoning ourselves."
~David Platt

Could it be that I could become so focused on trying to get my life right, that I'm not focusing on the One thing in life that matters most: my Savior? Could it be that I am catering my mission to myself? Opportunities to minister are going on right here. There is only one problem, they're not the ones I was hoping for.

I am learning this painful surrender. Laying my dreams at the feet of the One who knows the desires of my heart, better than I even do. Clinging to the One who holds my future. Alas, He knew the end of my life from the beginning of time. He is sovereign. 

Instead of grasping after a my mission, I'm learning to take full grasp of my Savoir, knowing that He is truly faithful through each and every circumstance. Herein lies a worthy, lifelong mission: to glorify Christ in everything. 

"So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God."
~1 Corinthians 10:31

Someday I may end up living the life that I had dreams of, but that is completely up to my Father. Right now I am living my mission, here, where He placed me. Each moment at home is a building block on the foundation for the future that only He knows. And I can rest in Him.

"I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God."  
-Acts 20:24

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Already Accepted

As some of you may remember, several days ago when I posted about the Desiring God conference weekend, I mentioned that I would post more things that I learned from the conference...

... and I haven't forgotten! This afternoon I was able to re-listen to one of my favorite sermons from the conference and type out notes from it. And oh,  was it ever a blessing for me to do that! I need these reminders of the gospel ~ always. I'm so thankful for the freeing truth of the gospel and Christ's atoning work on the cross.

I'm not including all of the notes I took, but will share enough notes to give a taste of the highlights. If you would like to listen to the whole talk, which I would highly encourage you to do, you may click on the link below!

Work and Rest given by R. W. Glenn

We should start each day, knowing we wake up accepted.

We tend to be resume builders. We believe that we need to build the right resume so we can be accepted. But we already have a perfect resume.

2 Corinthians 5:21 says:
 "For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God."

He became sin for us, and Christ's righteousness is imputed from Him to us. Our sins are withdrawn from our account and Christ was punished for them. We are completely forgiven!
But what few people consider, is that even though our sins were accredited to His account, His perfect record of achievement (resume) is credited to us. His resume is yours, as His child! He paid off all your creditors. And we have no debt whatsoever.

Not only is our debt paid, but He takes the perfect life of Himself and places it into your account. Your account is full of all the righteousness you'll ever need in acceptance with God. You have the prefect resume!

You can't be more accepted by God, than you are at this very moment. No matter what you're in the middle of right now - no matter what sin you're caught in - because it's not about what you do but about what Christ has done.

Yet we still tend to live as though our acceptance with God relies on us.

The reason why people work so hard to be accepted by the culture is that deep down they believe they need to build a resume to be accepted by the Creator.
Failure to be accepted devastates you. The reason why you're willing to work yourself to death is to be accepted by people. Even laziness can reflect this same desire for acceptance.

Either way you are motivated by acceptance.

The reason this acceptance has become a "need" is that you're not resting in your acceptance with God. Because when you are convinced that you are accepted by God on the basis of Jesus' perfect resume, you don't need others peoples' acceptance. You don't need them, you love them. You're not enslaved by their opinions of you. You don't crave their acceptance. You don't feel the pressure to keep building your own resume. And that pressure, once relieved, actually enables you to relax.

My reason for my frantic schedule was because I was frantic in my relationship with God,  not resting in the finished work of Christ for me.

If I'm resting in Jesus' resume I would not need to be seen as exceptional.

If I'm resting in Jesus' resume, I don't have anything to prove.

If you want to see your obsessive busy-ness transformed into diligent work and relaxing leisure to the glory of God: Go to work on your resting! Hebrews 4:11 says:

"Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience."
~Hebrews 4:11

"We are not told to strive to work, we are told to strive to do something even more difficult. We are to strive to enter into rest. It's so easy to turn this life into a system of achievement instead of resting in Christ's achievement."

Here is the hard work: strive with all your might to keep the gospel front and center in your life. Remember that you already have a perfect resume. Make every effort to remember all that Christ is for you in the gospel. When you do that, you can relax! Because you won't constantly be trying to earn the acceptance of God and other people by your achievements. Your work in your home and church doesn't add to your resume. You can't add to a perfect resume. The only list of accomplishments your Heavenly Father sees for you is the list amassed by Christ. And He has said: It is Finished!

Here is the original sermon: {Work and Rest}.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Friend of Sinners

I heard this song for the first time yesterday. I love singing and hearing songs that remind me of the gospel...which is something I daily need!
May it be a blessing to you and point you to our loving Heavenly Father!  

Redeemer! Whither should I flee,
Or how escape the wrath to come?
The weary sinner flies to thee
For shelter from impending doom;
Smile on me, gracious Lord,
And show thyself the Friend sinners now.

Beneath the shadow of Thy cross
The heavy laden soul finds rest;
I would esteem the world but dross,
So I might be of Christ possessed.
I'd seek my every joy in thee,
Be thou both life and light to me.

Close to the highly shameful tree,
Jesus, my humbled soul would cleave;
Despised and crucified with thee,
With thee resolved to die and live;
This prayer and this ambition mine,
Living and dying to be thine.

There fastened to the rugged wood
By holy love's resistless chain,
And life deriving from thy blood,
Never to wander wide again,
There may I bow my suppliant knee,
And own no other Lord but thee.
~Augustus Toplady

You can click here to listen to a short clip of the song: {Friend of Sinners}

Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Lord's faithful hand!

My heart is overflowing with praise to the Lord. He is so faithful and loving, and answers our prayers in ways that are above and beyond our thoughts! 

This past weekend my family and I had the delight of attending Desiring God's National conference with some dear friends. The conference was called Act the Miracle: God's Work and Ours in the Mystery of Sanctification. I hope to share some of what I learned from the conference as the weeks go on, but first, I would like to share a small portion of how God's hand worked through this past weekend. 

In May I began praying, planning, and hoping to go to this conference. All of the plans were "up in the air." But the whole time of waiting and being patient before the Lord was good for me. 

As we planned towards going to the conference, we all prayed that the time spent together at the conference would be encouraging to everyone involved (my family, our friends and the older couple we were going to stay with).

Through our Heavenly Father's gracious hand, He worked out all of the little details right up to the conference. What a faith builder that was for me! Learning to carry my anxieties to my Father. Knowing that the Lord is faithful and even though obstacles and anxieties may came up, the Lord works. Oh, we can joyfully rest all of our hope in Christ! As it says in Philippians 4:6-7:

 " not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

The hospitality of this couple we stayed with was heartwarming to all of us! We all realized that the Lord was placing us with this older couple to encourage them, especially when we discovered that they were struggling. Many of us were unaware that we were encouraging them, until later on.  

Our friends left very early Monday morning to go back to their home. Later on that morning, once my family and this couple were up and awake, we gathered in the kitchen. I learned more about Mrs. J.'s life.  She said that this whole weekend showed her she has a Heavenly Father who loves her.  She told me that when she heard one of the reasons my dad made more effort to go to this conference was because I have had a desire over the past few years to sit under John Piper's teaching in person. It showed her for one of the first times in her life what it looks like to have a father who cares. 

So tears came to me that morning. I felt so humbled that God would use desires in my heart to attend a conference and pray towards it - even though it all seemed so ridiculously impossible in the process - to enable someone to see the love of our Heavenly Father through my earthly father, and also the loving brother/sister relationship in my friends to touch her heart. 

Mrs. J. said while she whipped up pancakes for breakfast that morning, "This weekend has shown me that my Heavenly Father loves me."

I'm amazed how God can take people who are so far from perfect and use them to show Christ to others! Isn't the Lord so good? :) Each one of us was encouraged and challenged. I am calmed in knowing that as we each seek His face, He who has called us and adopted us as sons and daughters and who justified us at the cross, will complete in us this radiant holiness {sanctify us}, as we act out this miracle!

"Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen."
~Ephesians 3:20-21

Saturday, September 22, 2012

~My hope is from Him~

My soul, wait in silence for God only, for my hope is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation, My stronghold; I shall not be shaken. On God my salvation and my glory rest; the rock of my strength, my refuge is in God. Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.
~Psalm 62:5-8

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Fearing One.

This next Sunday I will be doing something that I know will easily make me nervous... But as I sat down and read my Bible this morning I found the perfect reminder of how silly the fear of man is.  Once again the Lord shows Himself faithful in giving me exactly what I need to read, when I need it. :)

Isaiah 51:12-13:
 “I, even I, am He who comforts you.
Who are you that you should be afraid
Of a man who will die,
And of the son of a man who will be made like grass?
And you forget the Lord your Maker,
Who stretched out the heavens
And laid the foundations of the earth;
You have feared continually every day
Because of the fury of the oppressor,
When he has prepared to destroy.
And where is the fury of the oppressor?"

And in verses 7 to 8:
“Listen to Me, you who know righteousness,
You people in whose heart is My law:
Do not fear the reproach of men,
Nor be afraid of their insults.
 For the moth will eat them up like a garment,
And the worm will eat them like wool;
But My righteousness will be forever,
And My salvation from generation to generation.”

Oh, may I fix my eyes on Christ alone. For when I fear the One who is in control, who is steadfast in love, who created each person I'm with, all other fears dim in this Light. 

Please Lord, let me never forget this!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

The purpose of creation... to point us to our Creator and praise Him.

"There is not one blade of grass, there is no color in this world that is not intended to make us rejoice.” 
~John Calvin

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Steps to fearless, radical action.

Last year while I had the joy of staying with and helping a young family, I was able to attend church with them one Sunday. Listening to this sermon I felt as though I had sat down at a table covered with a feast of spiritual food. It was so practical, and so Biblical and had plenty of things to "digest." I was able to jot some notes down while having little boys sitting on my lap from time to time, drawing on my notes. :)

The points are straightforward, and are something I find very helpful for me at this time in my life. May the Lord use them to help you too!

This message was given by Josh Johnson, based on Jeremiah 1:4-10:

“Fear keeps us from doing so much.”
God has prepared good works for us…
"There is no reason you shouldn’t give yourself for His Kingdom.”
1.) God wants to use you, stop making excuses. It makes the power of God look weak when we do.
2.) Know the words and promises of the Bible. Saturate yourself in this book.
3.) Pray for God’s leading and direction.
4.) Seek guidance and wisdom from others (adults)  (i.e. How do you think I should be radical? etc.)
5.) Take a step of faith and do something where you’re at right now.  Something you can only do by His strength.
6.)  Fight against chronological snobbery.
He will work in you…

For parents:
You have a valuable influence on your children…
How to help students become radical for Jesus Christ:
1.)  Set an example for the youth… Look at how you spend your time… What do we celebrate? (it shows what we value)
2.)  Commit to encouraging and supporting and praying with them. Grab a student in the hallway and ask if you can pray with them or for them.
3.) Offer wisdom and insight from the Bible and your own experiences.
4.) Fight against cynicism.  It’s really easy to be skeptical.
5.) Be willing to let students take steps of faith.
6.) Trust in the promises of God.  They’re for you and your child.

For all: It’s Christ and His work on the cross that gives us the ability and motivation to be radical.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

A beautiful, glorious tapestry...

I just wanted to share this quote with you all quick ~ I find it very encouraging!

"But we forget the fact that God sometimes makes things an awful lot worse before they get any better. Just remember that God may do the opposite of what you expect, but don’t forget it might look like the backside of a Persian rug to you but on the other side, the side that God sees, it’s a beautiful, glorious tapestry. What we’re seeing today is the backside." 
~ John MacArthur

Isn't it a delight to know that the Lord is at work even when life seems dark or confusing? In the end, it all will be worth it. In the end we will be like Him, when we see Him face to face. Not one thread in this life, whether it be painfully dark or beautiful, is there by mistake. It is all there to make a beautiful tapestry of His grace and glory! 
Yes, Lord! I can trust You!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Rescuer of the drowning

I looked out across the lake.  At the waves. Rippling. Ebbing. Water holds such soothing beauty. And yet, such danger.

And this thought kept stirring in my heart as I gazed out at this dangerous beauty: Jesus walked on water.

That awes me. Especially since I've almost drowned two times in my life. 

Drowning equals complete helplessness. There is nothing to do, except vainly fight for life and hope that someone will rescue. 

And so it is with my soul. I am completely helpless and hopeless in and of myself. I begin to drown when my eyes are focused on the storm and not my Savior. Focusing on the circumstances around and tensing with anxiousness can come close to harming me {Psalm 37:8}. 

Jesus is bigger than any wave of fear or any problem that comes crashing.

Storms threaten to take my gaze off of Him. But there is hope in hopelessness. He hears the cry in the heart of His child. And rescues. 

Relaxing may not be a natural default setting for me, but the Lord can fill me with perfect peace. Because He is peace. I can surrender my cares to Him. 

And my heart is quieted as I look out at the rippling water, knowing that the Lord is an anchor in the storm. A rescuer of the drowning. I can rest and put all faith and confidence in Him, the author and perfecter of this unshakable faith.

“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” ~John 14:27 

Author's note: Near drowning has not damped my love for water in the least bit. =)

Friday, August 31, 2012

A selfless heart.

"Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For Christ did not please Himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.”"
~Romans 15:2-3
{"Build him up..." i.e. edify and strengthen.}

Oh, how refreshing an edifying person is! They are selfless. Their focus is outward. They know the relentless, steady love of their Savoir, Father, and Husband and it overflows. This is where dying to ourselves brings life, not only to us, but to others.

Philippians 2:3-4 echoes this: 
"Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others."
This is humility. Casting pride aside. And letting this broken vessel of our lives pour forth Jesus. Ephesians 4:29 follows this theme of building up: 
"Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear."
Die to ourselves. Build others up. Give them grace. It's a shadow of the gospel. It glorifies the Lord.

Oh, let us live selflessly, as Christ did. Loving selflessly. Forgiving when people hurt and sin against us, even if it's again and again. May we faithfully point people to the Savoir ~ the Refresher of the weary.

 Sometimes it's the littlest kindnesses from a selfless heart that bring the biggest joys!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Your mercy remains!

"Yet in Your manifold mercies You did not forsake them in the wilderness..."
Nehemiah 9:19a

Despite the many times I stumble, the Lord's mercies are there. They are unfailing. They are manifold. And they are new every morning! 

It's a comforting and humbling truth that His beloved can rest in. :)

Monday, August 20, 2012

Less of me and more of You, Lord!

"He must increase, but I must decrease.” ~John 3:30

My birthday is coming up... Birthdays and the beginning of new years often tend to make me stop and take a look at this life in a different light. Am I wasting my life? What areas do I need to grow in?

Ever increasing is a desire within me to die to myself more and more. I recognize how very unhelpful my flesh is!  I find a growing frustration with my flesh and can echo Paul's words: "For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate." (Romans 7:15) Can you relate?

To be the hands and feet that bring refreshment to weary souls, is the desire of my heart. What could be better in the long run? Dying to self is eternally the most joy producing life, because what people really need is Jesus. And in Jesus is where true hope and refreshment is found.

For quite some time now, I've been fascinated by Job's description of his life before the Lord allowed Satan to test him:

"I delivered the poor who cried out, the fatherless and the one who had no helper. The blessing of a perishing man came upon me, and I caused the widow’s heart to sing for joy. I put on righteousness, and it clothed me; my justice was like a robe and a turban. I was eyes to the blind, and I was feet to the lame. I was a father to the poor, and I searched out the case that I did not know. I broke the fangs of the wicked, and plucked the victim from his teeth."
~Job 29: 12-17

That kind of life starts now in being faithful in the little things {Luke 16:10}.

And yes, this quote rang a bell in my heart when I read it:

“The Christian life can be explained only in terms of Jesus Christ, and if your life as a Christian can still be explained in terms of you -- your personality, your willpower, your gift, your talent, your money, your courage, your scholarship, your dedication, your sacrifice, or you anything -- then although you may have the Christian life, you are not yet living it. True Godliness leaves the world convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that the only explanation for you, is Jesus Christ."
~Major Ian Thomas

 Oh, may there daily be less of self and more of the Lord. Let us follow hard after Him, and there find abundant life and peace.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Lord Brings Peace


"Never did a sinner trust Christ too much. There was never a case of a guilty one who believed that Jesus could forgive him and afterward found that He could not - who believed that Jesus could save him on the spot and then woke up to find that it was a delusion. No; plunge into this river of confidence in Christ. The waters are waters to swim in, not to drown in. Never did a soul perish that glorified Christ by a living, loving faith in Him. Come, then, with all your sin, whatever it may be, with all your deep depression of spirits, all your agony of conscience. Come and grasp my Lord and Master with both the hands of your faith, and He shall be yours, and you shall be His."
~Charles Spurgeon

"Turn to Christ your longing eyes,
View His bloody sacrifice:
See in Him your sins fogiven;
Pardon, holiness, and heave;
Glorify the King of kings,
Take the peace the gospel brings."

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

My keyboard. =)

Have you ever had a desire in your heart and then experience God graciously granting you the gift that fulfills that desire?

I have... and it helps me to remember these stories while I'm struggling with other areas in my life. :)

One gracious provision the Lord has given me is: a free keyboard! :-) I know, I know... you're wondering "why is this so exciting?!"

Let me explain... Ever since I was a little girl I've found much enjoyment playing by ear on the piano and making my own songs up. It still gives me great pleasure sitting down and playing new songs... and? My family loves it when I make up new songs. :-)

So a few weeks ago I had an extreme desire to be able to get a keyboard so I can actually connect it to my laptop and use a special program to write out the music (instead of promptly forgetting the song)! The day after, my family told me about a free keyboard a family was trying to get rid of!! I emailed them quick and they wanted to get it to me as soon as they could. Amazing.

I'm learning patience through this though, first I had to wait for my keyboard, once I got it I had to wait for my laptop to come back from getting fixed, and now I'm waiting for the right cord.

But this waiting is giving me time to write words... and come up with music for some of those songs.

Ohh, I love songwriting! I feel God's smile on me while I do it.
I know I have much to learn on this journey but it is a happy road to travel. :-)

"Praise the Lord!
For it is good to sing praises to our God;
For it is pleasant, and praise is beautiful."
Psalm 147:1

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Looking to Calvary

Photo from:
Too often I carry a load of guilt on my back that is useless. I lose focus on the cross and the gospel. The devil tempts me to look to myself and my shortcomings rather than my Savoir, who is my righteousness.

I thought these words were the perfect comforting reminder of where our focus should be. I came across them as I read a book written by Charles Spurgeon called: The Power of the Cross of Christ. 

May this point each of us in the right direction and cause the cares of this world to melt away in the light of the Son of God:

"The most earnest Christian man must sometimes have his doubts as to whether all is right with him. The more sincere a man is, the more does he tremble lest he should deceive himself. You may have your personal anxieties; certainly I have mine. But when I turn my eyes to Jesus upon the cross and view the thorn crown and the sacred head and the eyes that were red with weeping and the hands nailed fast to the wood and the feet dripping with blood, and when I remember that this shameful death was endured for love of me, I am so quiet and so happy in my spirit that I cannot tell how peacefully my life-floods flow. God must forgive my grievous fault, for my Redeemer has grievously answered for it. When I see Jesus die, I perceive that henceforth divine justice is on the sinner's side. How can the Lord God punish the same offence twice - first the Substitute and then the men for whom that Substitute has bled? Christ has bled as substitute for every man who believes in Him - therefore is every believer safe.

Oh brethren, when you are troubled, rest with us by looking to Calvary. And if the first glance does not quiet you, look, and look, and look again, for every grief will die where Jesus died. Not to Bethlehem, where the stars of Christmas burn, do we look for our greatest comfort, but to that place where the sun was darkened at midday and the face of eternal love was veiled. Because the Lord of life and glory was dying in extremis, suffering the most deadly pain for our sakes, therefore His wounds distilled the richest balm that ever healed a sinner's wound."