Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Heart of Gratitude

God has been revealing where my heart truly is. I've been challenged by the Scriptures to look at myself and see some things that aren't so pretty. He has revealed to me how ungrateful I truly am in regards to His provision for me. His grace is amazing, and wholly undeserved, yet I find myself constantly coming back to Him with an entitled heart, asking for more. I have forgotten to make my first word to Him "thank you." Looking back at my prayers lately, God has shown me just how subtly selfish I can be. "Please God, provide, do this, do that" comes quickly out of my mouth.... but something is missing. My church is starting a 10 day devotional of prayer and fasting, and it has been incredibly eye opening and convicting already......and I'm only on day two! This is just a snapshot of what I've been learning:

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our "God is a consuming fire." Hebrews 12:28

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. Colossians 4:2

It's clear that God wants us to come to Him with our prayers and petitions. He wants us to bring our requests to Him each morning and wait in expectation for Him to act. (Psalm 5:3) But it is also clear that He wants us to praise Him. He wants the credit, for big and for small. He wants the glory due to His name. I think it's interesting that each speaks of prayer and thanksgiving. There cannot be one without the other. I cannot bring my requests to God without first being thankful in my heart for all that He has accomplished. And not just what he provides day to day, but for what far out-ways all other things -- the immeasurable riches of His grace that saved me from a life of despair and has brought me into new life.

Right now I am asking God to reorient my heart. To open my eyes to the grace He freely gives every day that I am still alive. I'm asking God to lead me toward repentance -- to tear down my idols, mainly myself, and to give me a heart that immediately calls God good for simply being Him. Not for what He can do for me, or what He may will to provide or not provide, but to worship and thank Him for being the author and perfecter of my faith, the One who called me out of darkness by His love, and continues to love me despite myself.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Hope in the darkness.

Campus Crusade for Christ provided miners with the t-shirts they were wearing as they came out. On the back of the shirt in Spanish is Psalm 95:4 "He holds in his hands the depths of the earth and the mightiest mountains."
This story came up on the Campus Crusade staff website, and I really wanted to share it with you. My family and I watched throughout the day as the miners came out one by one from the earth in Chile. When I read this story I had chills, and was so proud of the opportunity the staff in Chile took to share God's message of hope with people trapped in darkness.

mp3 audio tapes sent down to the miners with the Jesus Film and portions of the Bible on it.

Here is the full story.....

Hello team and friends! I want to share with you about the last 2 very intense weeks as we have worked on the project to take the Word of God and the JESUS audio version to the mine, but it has really be worth the effort as it is food for the soul. This long history of the miners that is now passing 2 months has been without doubt the longest survival experience for people trapped underground.
This all started on the August 5, when the San Jose mine collapsed because of the exploration in the mine. The news was not good as it was only 6 months after we had experience the very large earthquake and tsunami. With a population less than other countries in the world, problems like this seem much closer to you and much more like it is part of your own family.

After 2 weeks without news from the miners we could only think the worst. The government had made every effort, but it was reasonable to think that the miners were lost, above all considering the distance where they were located, some 700 meters (2,000 feet) deep with a difficult future to be rescued. But God had other plans and 2 days later (the 17th day), contact with them was made. Obviously we were all very happy and we celebrated the miracle that all were alive.

As Campus Crusade, God guided us to think about how we could help these men and this was how we took the initiative to contact some churches in the north, leaders and authorities about sending the JESUS audio into the mine. It wasn't easy in the beginning because of some apathy in the Christian leadership and a lack of a sense of urgency, together with the restrictive control of the rescue team but, God in His sovereignty provided that we were able to gain contact with the daughter and the brother of 1 of the 3 Christians that were trapped there.

During several weeks, I was in contact with them and I explored the possibility of sending them audio material. Finally, I traveled to the mine with 33 MP3's containing the JESUS audio version and an ample portion of the Bible. I was there for 2 days and we sent the MP3's through each family members that were there.

Jose Samuel, my contact in the mine (father of Hettiz and brother of Gaston) is an extraordinary man who has really surprised me. The psychologists that are giving help from the surface have recognized that he has been a tremendous emotional and spiritual support for the rest of his co-workers.
He sent me a letter that grabbed my attention for his incredible clarity of thought. For example, some parts of the letter are:
  • "I want to express my appreciation for this great blessing for me and my co-workers, it will be very good our edification" (He is talking about the MP3's)
  • "I am well because Christ lives in me"
  • "We have prayer services at 12 a.m. and 6 p.m."
  • "I ask all of you for pray not only for us here, but for all the lost people in the world"
  • At the end of the letter he signed off with Psalm 95:4, "In his hand are the depths of the earth, and mountain peaks belong to him."
This is a very motivating story, let's continue to pray for the salvation of these souls. Thanks for being part of this. 

Update from Christian Maureira, Chile National Director and translated by Doug Barron

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Sarah's Story

I thought I'd share this humbling story of one young woman battling through physical disability to share the good news of Jesus with people all around the world.

Sarah's Story

Interested in learning more about how YOU can be an online missionary and use the internet to reach the world for Jesus, check out the Global Media Outreach website.

Friday, September 17, 2010

My Story

A testimony is an account of something that has happened, basically any factual written or spoken statement. This is my testimony of how I became a believer in Jesus Christ. 

Before I knew Christ, I would have told anyone that I was a Christian because I went to church. I grew up going to church and as I got older, I became very involved. By the time I graduated from high school, my faith had become a social outlet more than anything else. Although I heard truth, my heart was hard, and I never absorbed this truth from those who tried to mentor me. 

I stepped onto campus for my first week as a college freshman, and found myself with no foundation. My goal at that time was just to have the fun college experience I had always heard about. I wanted to break free from being a "church girl" and sought to do this any way I could. I joined a sorority and looked for my identity in parties, a boyfriend, and being accepted by the people I met on campus. To be honest, my life seemed pretty good..... for the first 6 months. Then things started to really spiral. But even in the midst of growing chaos, I still didn't see that I was hurting myself with the choices I was making. Suddenly I found myself moving in with my boyfriend, getting myself into an abusive and unhealthy situation. Life continued to spiral, so I tried my best to do the only thing I knew how: escape. I attempted to run from my reality by turning to alcohol to mask and erase what was happening. But not even the alcohol could erase the consequences of my decisions. Although I laughed at the party, I wasn’t happy, and even though I would not have admitted it, I felt like I had lost myself. I was searching for my worth in the approval of one person and it just didn't hold up. By God's grace I was able to break free from this relationship. But by that time, I was at the lowest point of my life. I remember sitting in my bedroom, thinking: if I continue down this road.....well, I didn't want to think about what would happen to me. I knew at that moment that I had to change, while simultaneously becoming overwhelmed that I couldn't change a thing. I knew that everything I had tried had failed, and knew I had no where else to go. I sat on my bed and thought: "If God is so great, He will help me, and if He is real, now is His only chance to rescue me from this hell and show me who He is."

I reached far back into my book shelf and pulled out a Bible, one that I had not touched since high school. Searching for answers, I started reading in Romans. Answers I looked for, and to my amazement, answers I received. Through His words, God revealed how much He loved me despite my sins, despite years of running away from Him, and that He had forgiveness for me if I would just turn to Him and ask for His forgiveness. I was struck by Romans 2:1-4, and immediately felt the weight of my sin. There I was, shifting blame on others for the pain I felt, when I had done the same things to God! And yet, His kindness is what was leading me toward repentance....... I kept reading and Romans 5:6-8 hit me like a ton of bricks. That He forgave me while I was still a sinner and at my lowest point, blew my mind. I had to look up from the page, so many thoughts rushing through my mind and heart. I knew I had run from God, and made a mess of my life, losing pieces of myself along the way. But yet, in the midst of this, God sent His only Son to die for me. For me? I was completely blown away. Why would anyone, least of all the Creator of this Universe, die for me? In overwhelming gratitude for the reality that I didn't have to carry the burden anymore, because He had already paid the price for my burdens, I accepted the free gift of grace He was offering me by His death and resurrection, bringing me from a life of brokenness that deserved death to a life of wholeness in Christ that brings joy and freedom. 

In life after saying "yes" to Jesus, I am not perfect, nor is my life perfect. I struggle, and have to give over my selfish desires daily, asking God to replace them with His goodness. I have to daily agree with God on my sin and ask Him to give me His characteristics instead of my own. The difference in my life now is that I have a firm foundation to lay my hope in for my life and my future. Out of gratitude for what He's done to redeem my life do I want to tell others about Him. So what does it mean to be redeemed? I think this is a perfect explanation: 

redeem \ri-ˈdēm\: 1a:to buy back: 2:to free from what distresses or harms: 2a:to free from captivity by payment of ransom 2b:to extricate from or help to overcome something detrimental 2c:to release from blame or debt: 2d:to free from the consequences of sin 3:to reform 4:to restore 5a:to remove the obligation of ...by payment 5b:to exchange for something of value 6a:to atone for 6b(1):to offset the bad effect of.

Jesus has released me from the chains of bondage I once felt. Out of gratitude for what He's done for me, I want to live my life for Him. To put it into better words:
I love the Lord, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy. Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live. 
Psalm 116:1-2
God offers this gift to everyone who will accept it. Will you accept this gift too?

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Storms Calm.

Can we say, hurricane? Texas isn't really known for hurricanes, but one decided to pass on through this week, bringing some tornadoes with it. Using the rain to feel productive in my work (doesn't it usually make people tired?) I dove into the tasks at hand. God's teaching me to joyfully plan for my future, even though it feels like a mess sometimes. When I finally ventured outside I was shocked. I love thunderstorms, but never really think about God in them. But this week was different. The storm was so powerful I couldn't help but see God's mighty hand all over it. I felt God crying out to His creation: "Here I am! Turn from your worldly desires and trust your life to me." His power was so evident, and just as quickly as He began the storm, He ended it. His power to set nature in motion and to calm it is incredible. It reminds me of this verse.....

He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, "Quiet! Be still!" Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, "Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?" 
Mark 4:39-40

How telling of me. That even the wind and the waves obey Jesus at the sound of His voice, and yet I still lack faith. Just like the disciples who saw with their own eyes doubted, I too doubt whether God will come through on His word. Even though He has never once failed me or forgotten to use my trials for good. His promises are true, His word never comes back void, and in this drive through the raging wind and water, I could see the One who is worthy of all my trust, for He has the power to calm any storm, even the ones in me.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Jesus is the same.

Finally answering all my emails feels REALLY good. I need to step away now and just rest. Please pray for me. I struggle with crossing off a list of "to-do's" rather than relying on God to give me strength. I often fall into seeking perfection and acceptance from others rather than relying on God to care for my needs. It has been a really hard week, and I've pushed myself mentally more than I can handle. This isn't pleasing to Jesus. He doesn't want my accomplishments, He wants my trust, He wants my heart. It's refreshing to know that when I am at the end of my rope, even though it's been a hard week, God is in the business of making all things new, even me, even the days ahead of me. Regardless of my current condition, Jesus is still the same!

He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Then he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true. 
Revelation 21:5

 Now I know that the Lord saves his anointed; he answers him from his holy heaven with the saving power of his right hand. Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. 
Psalm 20:6-7

Please Pray:
- That I would know and believe that God doesn't want my accomplishments but that He wants my heart.
- That I would trust Him before trusting my own efforts.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Bridge to Life

The Gospel explained a little bit differently.....gave me chills.
From BillyGraham.org

Where does my help come from?

Many people say that the process of raising up financial partners for my ministry will stretch my faith in ways that I have never experienced in my life. I agree that it is without a doubt stretching my faith in many ways, but more than that, right now, God is using this time to expose where it is that I put my hope. Does my hope come from the One who Created the heavens and Earth.... and who created me... or do I seek to find hope somewhere else?

I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

Daily my prayer is that He would expose where I am putting things or people above Him. I'm asking that He reveal to me where I have elevated something or someone to be the source of my hope, rather than going to the Almighty Counselor for the help that I need. I ask Him to prepare the way before me, bless my efforts, be my first love, and yet time after time, I find myself seeking help and refuge in the temporary things of this world and not from Him.

 He who keeps you will not slumber.

His glory brings healing to the sick, hope to the hopeless. He who keeps me does not close His eyes to my needs. He does not sleep when I am hurting, He does not even sleep when I am well. He who keeps me in His arms will not slumber, He will shade me from scorching sunlight, He will be my keeper in the night. 

The Lord will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.

That His glory would pour out over me, that I would sing of His praises by morning and seek His refuge by night. That I would not lose sight of or abandon my true love.... the One who loved me first. That I would rest in the truth that He watches over my coming and my going, both now in this season, and for all time. In every moment He keeps me, and He watches over my life as precious in His sight. How precious am I to Him? I cannot measure the greatness of this kind of love.... And yet how precious is He to me? Not nearly enough as He deserves.

I lift up my eyes to the hills—
       where does my help come from?
  My help comes from the LORD,
       the Maker of heaven and earth.
 He will not let your foot slip—
       he who watches over you will not slumber;
 indeed, he who watches over Israel
       will neither slumber nor sleep.
 The LORD watches over you—
       the LORD is your shade at your right hand;
 the sun will not harm you by day,
       nor the moon by night.
 The LORD will keep you from all harm—
       he will watch over your life;
the LORD will watch over your coming and going
       both now and forevermore.
Psalm 121

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Hello from Orlando!

I cannot begin to explain how awesome new staff training has been. What an incredible five weeks! I am overwhelmed by the men and women here who have so faithfully sought the Lord in their calling to full time ministry. They have been a rock in my life and a light to my path through these past few weeks. As I finish up on our last week of training, I am getting more and more excited to start this new chapter in life. I will have the privilege of working full time to raise up a team who will prayerfully and financially support my ministry. Once all my funds have been raised, I will be able to report to my assignment in .......DRUM ROLL PLEASE............ DALLAS!!!! I cannot tell you how pumped I am to be serving the city of Dallas by reaching college students at North Texas and SMU. It feels so good to know where I am heading. The Lord has been faithful to mold me in this process, edifying my character and increasing my trust in Him. Joining staff with Crusade has proven to be the most faith stretching experience I have ever encountered. Every week here reminds me of the mercy that God has lavished on my life in so many ways. It's God's grace alone that has gotten me to this point, and God's grace alone that will take me through this season of raising support. Will you be praying for me as I finish training and move into this new season of life? Pray that I would have the ability to soak up the knowledge that is being presented, and trust in God for the work He has prepared before me. Thanks so much to all who have partnered with me in this ministry so far, I feel carried on your prayers and blessed by your support and encouragement.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Some hard truth.

"The rest of mankind that were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood -- idols that cannot see or hear or walk."
Revelation 9:20

"They were seared by the intense heat and they cursed the name of God, who had control over these plagues, but they refused to repent and glorify Him."
Revelation 16:9

How do I even begin to understand the fullness of this scripture? After hurting from the thought, my first question is -- Why would anyone worship wood and silver and gold when they have a living God who loves unconditionally and gave His own life out of that love for us? How are things "that cannot see or hear or walk" more worthy of praise than the God of the Universe? Secondly, the book of Revelation talks about all kinds of signs, plagues and times where God will reveal His glory to the world. All of these plagues are horrific fall on the Earth giving the world another chance to see the Lord in all His power and might, and yet those who will be left will still chose not to repent, accept grace and walk with Jesus. This burdens me.... just the thought that there will be people at the end of the age that will actually choose not to let Jesus into their lives. This also got me thinking about repentance. Repentance alone is not enough... we must be willing to accept the free gift of Jesus. We cannot just repent in an empty sense and move on. He knows our hearts and wants all of our trust to be in Him. He stands at the door and knocks, even now, and asks if we will let Him in, let Him comfort our distress, cure the sin in our hearts and protect us. But first we have to be willing to let Him in. He will never be able to do a work in our lives if we don't. It is burdensome and unfathomable to me that people who are still on Earth when Jesus returns will literally be burning alive and will still not see the truth.

But then I think, why is the Gospel so offensive to people that they would chose not to believe it? Why do people think they don't need to accept this so called 'free gift of grace' that Christians talk about? And what is grace anyway? How does it affect us? I have come to the conclusion that the Gospel is offensive because it asks that we surrender ourselves and confess that we have no ability to control anything in our own lives. And that the only one who has control is a living, mighty and just, yet gracious and compassionate God. It's offensive to tell people that Jesus' death is the only provision for our sin, and the only way that we can experience eternal life. That's a hard pill to swallow, for anyone... especially for me. Actually, I try to swallow that pill every day, and if you're anything like me, actually taking pills is pretty difficult. Often times I don't even want to admit that someone is better and greater than me -- but that is my sin seeping to the core. I can only thank God every day for the sacrifice He made through the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus as not just a good guy or a good teacher or even a crazy person, but as Savior. His claim to be our Savior was proven as truth through His resurrection from the dead -- and this is the only reason why I even try to swallow the pill of this truth, and the only way I can wrap my mind around how tough it is to grasp.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Perfection vs. Surrender

What does the Bible say about surrendering our whole lives to Jesus? This is something that I have been struggling with for a long time. One without rest is one without life.... I feel like the spirit of life breathed into me this past week, something I needed desperately. I have always struggled with control, and of course, sin's head turned to me with yet another way to control. This time with how I look (ugh), how I act, and ultimately being seen by others as perfect. Everything in my life begs me to have it all together, and yet Jesus, the only one who has real authority over me, has never asked me to do that. All He has asked of me is that I surrender. I see over and over again how the world tricks us into wanting to be perfect, to have all the answers, to have it all put together, to never say "I'm wrong" or "I'm sorry" or "I'm not okay." What is this? Where does it come from? This is the sin surfacing in my life, but it's more than sin, it's what the Bible calls attack. If we weren't under attack then why would we need to be so set up for battle? (Ephesians 6:10-18) I've never felt my life so under attack as I have these past few weeks... buying into the lies that I know are lies, and desperately longing to see the truth.

Let me tell you about the Devil. The Bible says that "the thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy" Yes, he does. He comes to feed you lies, put a stumbling block in your midst, and keep you from going any further in your life with Jesus. Jesus came "that they may have life, and have it to the full." (John 10:10) If Jesus gives life, then why would we want the counterfeit? No matter how tempting or appealing on the surface, at the end of the day they do in fact feel like "flaming arrows of the evil one," as Ephesians says.

So how do I fight back the need for control and the vulnerability I have come to by not putting on the armor of God? For one, (thanks Phil Whickham for giving me beautiful truth) these lyrics have been an incredible encouragement to me this week,

Sisters, Brothers, thieves, and lovers,
come on, come on, eternity
turn your faces, from fine eyed places,
heaven’s grace will set you free.
The time is now, for lifting souls.
The time is now, for letting go.
From your skin, to your core.
Let light, and love, come rushing through the door....

Every time I get to this part of the song I just want to shout with praise to God for the amazing grace He gives. For me to finally say it's time to let go, it's time to put my life in the hands that are greater than any other, to the only one who can give me the fullness of life that will set me free. I know I will never be satisfied by what this world has to offer me, constantly longing for the freedom and beauty of Heaven. In the midst of the restlessness that comes along with longing for Heaven, there comes sweet anticipation and curiosity to see what life could possibly look like without sin, without the threat of the Devil or the battle between Spirit and self. Another truth that I have clung to this week -- "The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still." (Exodus 14:14) That has been my prayer each night this week, that in the midst of battle I would be still and let Him fight for me. And since I can't put the armor of God on myself, I finally can surrender completely my will for perfection. I can surrender to the God of the Universe so that He can fight the battle for me. Like I've heard so many times before, if we had eyes to see the spiritual things happening around us, there would be war. He is fighting, all He asks for is that we be still and know He is there. He will never leave us or forsake us.

PS: In case you're interested, I'm also in love with this woman's story.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Why I love college

God is seriously doing something amazing in the lives of college students. He is using powerful ministries, sororities, fraternities, coaches and teachers to bring the Gospel to students who are hurting...searching...and asking if God has a place for them at His table. I am convinced that college students are the most important group of individuals in our society. Why? Because they possess the power to literally change this world. That may sound radical... but it's true. In college you finally have the chance to make your own decisions, away from mom and dad, free to explore, search and question. In college you develop the skills and education needed to prepare you for the "real world" but more specifically to prepare you for how you will impact the world in which you live. Jesus calls us to the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18). Simply, this is the task of telling others what God has done in our lives. These students are gaining knowledge both personally and professionally, and with knowledge comes the power to influence and reconcile the broken world we live in to a Holy and Righteous God.

This is the heart of why I love college so much. The more I spend time around them the more I gain a perspective back into my own college life (Don't worry, it was only 6 months ago) and how much I already miss it! Never again will I run across campus at 2 am or sit outside the library with sorority sisters eating fast food and laughing simply because we've been up too long. College was fun, but it was also challenging. The kind of challenge that pushes you forward, makes you the person you were supposed to be, even when you never thought you could ever get there. Looking back to my freshman, sophomore, junior and senior years I have nothing but gratitude for the people God allowed to influence my life. None of those relationships were a mistake. He placed me where I was so that He could call me closer to Him, lavishing His grace upon my broken and hurting heart at just the right time so that I too could be that agent of reconciliation in someone's life. College students are open to almost anything, open to questioning and engaging in conversations about big things. Deep things. Truths of this world that even the smartest of philosophers I'm sure could never figure out.

This is a video that I recently saw posted on Facebook by a fellow consultant. He posed the statement: "Think of how we could make a difference in their lives." Some of the stories of these students and the ones I've met through my travels have only confirmed why my heart burns so passionately for college students that I cannot imagine my life being spent any other way than investing in them. Questions like: What if students like these were given the hope that they have been searching for? How would their lives change if they were given hope of the abundant life that can only be found in Christ? What if they were then equipped with the tools to share their faith with others around the world? In their work place -- an accounting firm, music industry, church, with their family, or even overseas? How would these students influence the world in which they live? They would be agents of reconciliation. They would bring the love and hope that Christ gave them to others who are broken and hurting. Like I told my friend once last semester when he asked me why I felt so passionate about ministry with college students: It's about telling that one person, who may move to Indiana, who tells one more person, who then may move to Italy, where they share Christ with a lost student in Rome, who then goes on to bring the Gospel to the whole city. It's about leaving something that far outlasts your time in college, something that will still be talked about long after you're gone. I believe college is where it all starts. Where young people are figuring out just who they really are, and then being thrust out into the world with a purpose to make a difference in whatever way they can. My prayer is that their purpose would be to follow the will of God in whichever direction His Spirit leads, and to follow His will during their time in college, and for a lifetime.

Saturday, January 23, 2010


Lately I have been so distracted. I don't think I have ever felt this kind of distraction in my life. I don't mean that I have been procrastinating or just simply pushing things off, but rather I have had such intense thoughts running through my mind that I have struggled to keep them all on the right track. I'm sitting at my computer (immense amount of work ahead of me, lingering work still behind me to be caught up on) trying to do something productive today, and I catch myself gazing off into the distance thinking about the lyrics to a Phil Whickam song, or a hurting girl in the house I'm currently in that I need to pray for, or a multitude of other issues that have nothing to do with the report on my computer screen that has yet to be written. And, in the midst of trying to fill my day with the busyness of work in an effort to intentionally distract myself from anxiety, I have found myself wrestling back and forth with myself on why I can't just keep it straight. Okay, one thing at a time.

I'm going to try to explain myself in some kind of organized fashion, so that even though my mind is a jumbled mess, you may in the end come out understanding what it is I'm talking about. I'll share two things that keep surfacing among all the other thoughts and have weighed heavy on me recently.

God is huge. Yes, He's always been huge -- Creator of the Universe, all knowing, never changing, promise maker and keeper, could destroy me in an instant but mercifully chooses not to -- and yet for some reason His strength and power never really hit me. It's like bricks now and it's hit me hard. I can't stop thinking about How powerful God is, and better yet, my time in His word recently has been cut short because upon reading a few verses I am stuck in a thought processes that I only come out of when ten minutes later I suddenly realize I'm sitting in a hotel lobby. It's like His words have become so much more amazing to me that I can't even comprehend all of it, so I end up processing through a tiny portion of it for days.

I'm desperately restless. Currently, I have stopped twice already while writing this to process through a conversation I just had with a good friend and how God is moving in her life. Suddenly a new thought: God's grace extending to Haiti that He would allow a place of suffering to suffer more in order to bring attention to it, and in turn, God is glorified by people suddenly reaching out to serve a place that has always been in need. New thought: I have so many notes to type up and a meeting in 20 minutes. Next thought: I'm heartbroken... asking God to be my everything. Next thought: I wonder what time my flight is on Monday? This is seriously how my mind has been functioning for the past 2 weeks, see what I mean by jumbled mess? I think this goes back to my realization that God is bigger than a quiet time, a worship song, and definitely bigger than my emotions. "He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together" (Colossians 1:17). He is before us, knowing our steps before we take them because He's the one who placed them there, yet simultaneously, He is with us, in the thick of it with each of us, holding us together because we are too weak to carry it on our own. The Christian life is one of constant breaking and mending back together. Breaking and growing. Breaking and maturing. I am broken as I realize that physical death and the shedding of blood of a human man (who also happened to be fully God) paid the price for my sin. And yet I am perfectly stitched up because He did this out of love. Like I said, God is huge, and way beyond what my mind can comprehend.

"Our Father refreshes us on the journey with some pleasant inns but will not encourage us to mistake them for home." CS Lewis

How appropriate. I am constantly on the road, from hotel to hotel to chapter house and back to a hotel, living out of a suitcase and eating bad oatmeal for breakfast, all so that God can refresh me on the journey with something so pleasant as snow fall on the mountain. Snow like powdered sugar dusted on pine trees and campus buildings, my lungs breathing in cool and clean air. Those are the kind of moments that I live for on the road. The times when I can stop and thank the Lord that I am in Arizona and it is snowing, filling me with so much joy because in the midst of beauty also came altitude sickness and fire alarms at 2 am, at which point I know all I can do is laugh, because my life is good. But even among the adventures and the challenges I'm reminded by CS Lewis that God will not encourage me to hold this place too close, mistaking it's beauty for a place far better -- home.

Even though I long for home, I have to remember that in His infinite mercy, God chooses not to end it all now because there are still others who do not know Him. Others that will have their lives transformed by the redemptive truth of Jesus Christ. The fact that there are so many still who do not know Him reminds me what I have been called to, why I am in Arizona, why I am flying to Alabama on Monday, and why I was redeemed by Christ. "You received the Gospel because it was on it's way to someone else." I fail daily, but I hope I can bring the Gospel where ever I go for the rest of my life. That's about the only thought of clarity I've had all week.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Laying my "yes" at His feet, His name glorified.

His glory, above all, should reign higher than any other desire. That sounds a lot easier than it is. Sometimes we are faced with making decisions that are not what our hearts desire, simply to be obedient to our God and King. Something God has recently taught me is that I need to allow Him into every area of my life, even the parts that mean things might get uncomfortable if I let Him into them. I've been wrestling with the Lord for some time now because I felt that He wanted something that I wasn't willing to give up. Sometimes I feel like God gently teaches me lessons, other times He slams them right in front of my face. The Spirit beckons me asking, gently, "give this part of your life over to me, this isn't what I intended this to be like for you." Of course, in my stubborn and sinful will I kept denying, justifying, comparing and the list goes on. But God got hold of me this week at a Campus Crusade for Christ Winter Conference. God used one of the speakers to powerfully share that God wants us to have an open hand to everything in our lives, and that it was time I start acknowledging the Holy Spirit's leading in my life. It was as if God Himself told me "I love you. Give this to me and you will be rewarded." I don't mean rewarded in a monetary or self-satisfying way. Scripture says that if we store up our treasures in Heaven, there we will find our hearts desires (Matthew 6:20-21). So my reward is something far greater than happiness or success, but rather something that will last, a sense of assurance in my identity in Christ as well as peace knowing that obedience to the will of God is far more satisfying than striving after earthly desires. So I have to start practicing what it is that I believe, plead with God to give me a heart that desires what He desires, and ask Him to tune me in to the leading of His Spirit. So I say to the Lord: "I don't want to miss this. I don't want to miss what you are leading me to do. Help me to pray for big things, help me to pray for what I think is impossible," because when all things go through the Father, nothing is impossible. I need to devote myself to prayer because I know full well that it is the only thing that will get me through the next 4 months.... and if I'm being honest, this whole year. More than that, prayer like this is the foundation on which everything else builds! I need this as I continue to grow in my prayer life as the Lord sanctifies me and bring me to maturity. And I have quite a lot to be praying for.

Let me start with praise to the One who is delighted by those who come to Him with all things. I am grateful that he gave me two people who encouraged me by saying that this blog/my facebook brought encouragement to them today! And I am grateful that He has given me a renewed sense of intimacy with Him, almost like He is assuring me that any present and future suffering (there will be more in the weeks to come as I go back out on the road, I'm sure) is no comparison to the joy He will reward me with in the time to come. That's the thing about grace, obedience, and finding my treasure in Him: there is freedom in knowing that the God of all Creation knew I would be struggling through this very heartache the moment the world was created. He knows things as detailed as the very hairs on my head, telling me I am worth more than I think I am (Luke 12:7).

"For all the promises of God find their yes in Him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory."
2 Cor.1:20

"...utter my Amen" keeps ringing in my mind over and over. I think God is trying to tell me that if I am willing to say "yes" to everything He has for me, regardless of the cost, seeking His glory above all, He will reward me richly. And no, it's not easy. I feel like I am literally fighting for my joy. So why do I find it so necessary to be obedient to the invisible God of the universe even when it hurts? Because I know that my joy can only come from again soaking in the free gift of grace Christ gave me the day He sacrificed His life for my own. With no hesitation, let me come to the foot of the Cross saying "anything for you Lord, even if it hurts, you can have it all." Amen.