23 March 2017

Love Lavished

My four year old niece was running around playing hard as I sat with my family for a holiday.  She made up stories for her dolls and danced them off down the hall.  After a while, she returned to the living room to find myself, my sister (her mom), and my brother-in-law sitting on the couches.  She crawled up onto the couch, extended her legs onto her father's lap and said, "Daddy, rub my feet?"

My brother-in-law, unable to turn down the request, rubbed her feet for about a minute when she popped up and exclaimed, "Thank you Daddy!"  as she shuffled off back to play!  I have no doubt she learned this request from my sister, and while it may not seem like a 4 year olds feet could be so sore to warrant a foot massage, her father fulfilled the request with glee.

It got me thinking, it was simple request for a moment of rest.  A brief pause in running around to spend time with her Daddy.  Her dad savored the company.  How much more does our heavenly Father sit awaiting us to plop into His lap and rest with Him a bit?  Will we stop running around for a moment to rest?  Work well, rest well, acknowledge and know He who never slumbers or sleeps so we can rest!


21 March 2017

Spider Warfare


This is my thought for the night.  I almost do not like spiders more for interrupting my peace than invading my space!  You can live outside, that's normal, but not in my house!  I am going about my evening peaceful and then BAM!  All of a sudden my heart is racing and the age old "kill or free?" question comes into my mind!  Whatever I choose, I have to act quickly and keep my eye on the beast lest it take over my home in the split second I blink and call all of its buddies to the fight!  

Yet, when I'm in the midst of Spiritual Warfare, I take my eyes off and slowly and surely my house and peace are being invaded.  There is a war happening and I'm over here struggling to remember the precise lyrics to the song I'm singing.  My attention, my focus are lost on the battle.  

O Lord, let me not become comfortable without you and you alone nearby.  Keep my eyes alert and my heart at rest in your presence.  Give me your strength to fight and do not let me be comforted by the status quo of this world.

17 March 2017

Parachutes

There is something about music that can speak to our souls.  Maybe it's knowing someone I can relate to had an experience, put it into words, and added music in a way that conducts a melody that builds.  I love to share music with friends and hear what they love as well.  One of the best places this can happen for me is on road trips.  In fact, at this moment I have 81 playlists in my iTunes for whatever the occasion calls for!

On my latest trip up to Seattle, my roommate was DJ-ing for us.  She came across a playlist of mine called "Epic Playlist."  I mean how could you see that and not!

So she hit play and 'Come Sail Away' started us off followed by 'The Final Countdown' and then 'Deathbed' by Relient K.  I defined Epic in this playlist as songs that started of slower and built causing you to desire it would never end!  So then came my favorite Coldplay song!  Parachutes.  The artists builds to sing,

"Oh the adoration; But how much strength does it take
For exploration; For split decision
Or are you stronger to Remain..."

I'm singing along with passion and telling my roomie how much  I love Chris Martin's early stuff.

"That's not Chris Martin," she said flatly.

"What?" I inquired.

"That's not Chris Martin!" she added with her fiery voice!

"What do you mean this isn't Chris Martin?  Listen closer.  People have told me they don't like Coldplay before and then I've played them this song and they change their mind!  It's a bonus track from their album Parachutes!" I replied.

"Dude!  No it isn't!"

And thus began the unraveling of 12 years of my life!  Like shattered glass above my head this image I had so fervently stood on had crashed in an instant!  We googled lyrics and found the band Guster.  I had never even heard of the band Guster before!  In my iPod the artist is named "Coldplay" and for years I had not only bought the lie, I had spread it to others!

With passion and fervor I would've bet this was Coldplay's hidden track from their first album (That's why so few had heard of it see?  Only the devout Coldplay fans would know it.  A club in which I was a member early on.).

But passion does not change a lie to the truth.  We can passionately believe our career, family, spouse, dog, car...any of these things or a combination of them like the numerous options on a Mexican menu, will fulfill us.  But no matter how much we tell ourselves or others these fulfill...it's a lie.  Only God's love and purpose for us can fulfill us.  Only who we are in Him is true.

So while I embrace the truth of my fulfillment in life spurring out of my identity in Jesus.  I'll edit my iTunes playlist artist to read as it should be: Guster.

17 March 2013

Burned Images

I have been thinking a lot lately about Saul.  Saul, the "before" picture of Paul.

He had his life purpose determined and he was moving steadfast to move towards completion.  He had no idea what was coming as he was heading into Damascus.  He probably thought he had his life help together and God would be pleased as he moved forth to preserve the law he was raised under.

Then, something happened.  Rather, someone happened.


After Jesus had interrupted what Saul knew to be his entire life, he was given the task to spend the next few days venturing through straight street to find the house of a man he had never met.  And he was to do this blinded!

The last image Saul had seen was that of Jesus.  I cannot image how that image must have been burnt into his memory.  How that glorious light, the last thing Saul witnessed, would have pulled him through the next few days.  I wonder if he, still blinded, could even try to think of anything else without that image coming back into his mind's eye.

I wonder what burned images of the Lord's presence we have in our lives that we go back to.  

Paul shares his testimony at least three times in Acts, and I have to imagine that each time he can almost close his eyes and picture Jesus.  Clinging to his renewed call as an ambassador of Christ.

Oh Lord, how I am thankful for the picture of your face in my life.  How time and time again I come back to you.  I see your evidences spanning the globe, and here you are again.  Right where I remain.  Right where I move.  Right where I need you.  Oh, how I need you.  I want my vision to be consumed by your vision.  Take my life and do what you will. Do what only you can, and will do.  Selah.


“Then I asked, ‘Who are you, Lord?’  -(Saul)

“ ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ the Lord replied.  ‘Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen and will see of me.  I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’

Acts 26:15-18

27 January 2013

Joy

God made a promise that He would not depart us. Our curse have been undone, and we become His precious ones...We have joy!

10 January 2013

Set the World on Fire.




LOVE.

I spent New Year's in Cleburne, TX.  In the middle of nowhere, you can light fireworks, because no one is around to care!  After 3 attempts, Callie and I were able to get this image of LOVE from the sparkler she was holding.  She spelled out the words into the air and although she couldn't see the result of what she was doing as she ran with the light in her hand, the image was soon illuminated in the camera as she spelled out LOVE.

I could not help thinking about how this is true with my life.  I run around holding the light of Christ inside of me, desiring and hoping the end result spells out His love, but in truth, I will never be able to see the whole picture before God's plan is completely developed and I am in heaven with Him.  Do we try to hide that light, or let it shine?  How many times have I sung this song as a child?  How many times have I really pondered what it looks like to spread his light and move about in life?

Books, Books, Books

Books finished  in 2012:


How People Grow

Just Do Something

Her Mother's Hope

The Help

Her Daughter's Dream

The Hunger Games

Catching Fire

Mockingjay

The Gospel for Real Life

Pursuit of God

Looking for Alaska

The Hobbit

Forgotten God by Francis Chan

Multiply by Francis Chan

The Witness by Josh McDowell

Bridges

23 December 2012

Incarnation Thoughts


Christ’s last night in heaven: “I’m ready Father.” “Son, the next thought you’ll have will be that of a baby’s. All memories of this home, this glory, this beauty-will be gone. They will be replaced with filth, cold and pain. The first breath you take will pull you on a course to your death. It will take years before you’ll remember this conversation, this arrangement. One day, parents holding your hand, you will pass a blind beggar calling out to God. You’ll look back, suddenly knowing it is you he is calling to. Then it will dawn on you; who you are, who I am and where home is. That moment will be the loneliest of all. The morning you realize how far away you are from home.”

…Then, finally then, it happens. The deep magic begins. The single most important moment in the history of all the galaxies. In the dead of night when the world will least suspect. In the dead of human history when even the most devout had almost given up all hope. When evil had apparently finally been conceded victory. The world is at it’s darkest, this hour before the first Christmas. Then, with only a mother’s panting gasp and a newborn’s cry, God suddenly enters into our history…to rescue us. Not in thunder and smoke, or even on a white horse, but in quiet, fragile, helplessness, in a cold, dank corner of the world…God becomes not man, but first child…All the angels stand their post and hold their breath…And now we are not alone. He really did remember. God will now be forever with us.

“Hello earth. This is my Son. You will call Him Jesus. I am…giving Him to you. To do with Him as you will. And I am giving Him to you in the most vulnerable way. I am trusting my only begotten Son to you. To you. He will now breathe your air, totally unable to protect Himself. You will hold Him tonight, you will choose to receive Him. You will decide to love Him. This is my Son, in whom I am deeply and wonderfully delighted. Take care of Him.”

A fragile crying baby and not a grown man, so none of us could say that He doesn’t understand our life. On earth so no one could claim He didn’t breathe our air. In the center of mankind so no one could say He was above us, in humility so no one would feel bullied by Him, with no protection, so no one would ever be able to say that He didn’t feel alone, in common, desperate, impoverished surroundings, so no one could say He didn’t feel want, …choosing to enter the race of men and gradually learn who He was. With questions, with lack of understanding. The God of the universe, taking on the form of man, to progressively learn to eat, to sleep, to thirst, to feel tiredness. For you. For me.

By John Lynch.

17 November 2012

Bridge Building


Have you ever thought about the intrinsic detail that go into building a bridge?

I met one of my friends from Russia last week, and we decided to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge.  My first thought was of Spot Conlon in Newsies yelling "BROOKLYN!" as the boys swarmed into the square with the others.  My second thought was wondering which tower Kate and Leopold jumped from in their travel through time.  It was my third thought that led me to ponder about the construction.

There are so many specifications and exact pieces that go into place to build and support a bridge.  You can not just guess on the length on each suspension cable and use duct tape to secure it all together.  We had to build a bridge made out of spaghetti and glue for physics class my senior year in high school.  I don't even want to tell you how many hours my teammate and I spent working on that thing!  As good as our bridge was, I never ever ever (said with Taylor Swift in my head...you're welcome) want to be responsible to build a bridge capable of holding the weight of all the traffic that goes from Brooklyn to Manhattan everyday!

I can't help but think of the bridge Jesus made for us.  A way to cross over the seeming unknown and plunge into His arms.  How many details and specifications had to come together so that we may have eternal life as a free gift.  God did not have a plan B.  God did not guess.  God sent Jesus, His best builder, to go and prepare a way we can all stand at the base at allowing the architect himself to carry us across.

Growing up, I always heard of Professor Stoner's explanation of just how precise God was in sending Jesus to fulfill all of the prophesies foretold about Him.  If just 8 of the over 300 prophesies were to be fulfilled by the same man, it would be the equivalent of 1 in 10(to the 17th power).  "That would be equivalent to covering the whole state of Texas with silver dollars two feet deep and then asking a blind man to walk across the state and find the one coin you had marked."  Seriously?!?  There is no other besides Jesus!

Can you see how intrinsic God's plan really is?  Lord, I am thankful you are the best architect I wouldn't even know to ask for without your Spirit guiding me.  Jesus, thank you for being the only builder able to prepare a way for me to cross over.  Thank you for caring for specifications and details.

11 November 2012

The Great Perhaps

I picked up a new book recently on my trip to Long Beach, and a line from it keeps resonating in my head.  It's a book about a graduate going off to find himself in the world.  For him (as far as I can tell by the title...i'm still reading),  this journey takes him to seek Alaska.


“Francois Rabelais. He was a poet. And his last words were "I go to seek a Great Perhaps." That's why I'm going. So I don't have to wait until I die to start seeking a Great Perhaps.”  

I've been thinking a lot lately about how the Gospel is able to penetrate our cultures and desires, in order to, redeem them back to how God has designed us.  I think this idea of 'The Great Perhaps' plays right into this. I've spent more time than not on my worrying rocking chair, spinning my head in circle, but not making any forward progress.  Asking God what His will is for my life and what he wants me to do.  Do I stay in collegiate ministry for the haul?  Do I go overseas?  Do I go back to the work force and intentionally reach my co-workers for Christ?  Is it ok that I've been in this job for over 3 1/2 years and still enjoy it, but there are parts that can be frustrating at times.  

What if I'm supposed to be somewhere else.  What if I want to start a woodworking shop where my friend can bake and I can sell photographs.   What if I get sick of people feeling entitlement in life to deserve any more than the wrath of God?  I can be plagued by the what-ifs in life if I let myself.  

But there is a beautiful reality I've been reminded of recently...God is far more sovereign than we realize.  

BOOM.  Did your mind just blow?  That simple truth is just that: truth.  God's will and desire for us is not a terrorizing corn maze with people trying to confuse your steps, but God desires us to succeed and move towards Him.  He desires our hearts!  Not our ability to try and figure out every single moment of our lives and worry about fearing God is a way that paralyzes our steps.  God has a marvelous plan for you, and he isn't going to make it impossible for you to find!  In Psalm 119:30-32, it describes it as a path we get to run into with freedom because Christ has enlarged our hearts and set them free!  I asked my grandma once if she ever wondered about staying in God's will when she was younger, and she replied something along the lines of, "No, never had to think about it much."  How freeing to pray, and then make choices!

I am so glad I don't have to worry about the "Perhaps" in life, but get to focus on the reality.  My reality is that I am an ambassador for Christ.  Currently, in State College, PA.  I am a royal priest, holy, a new creation, a mighty warrior, filled with God himself: the Holy Spirit, an oak of righteousness, a helper, a leader...and one day, I am certain, I will stand in the midst of a Rev. 7 crowd praising the Glorious name of the Father, because Jesus alone is worthy to open the scrolls.  I get to rise from my chair, and move and start seeing this reality now, I don't have to wait until death.

Of this, I am sure there is no perhaps.

28 September 2012

I'm Reading Your Thoughts

I went to Goodwill looking to find a new surge protector at a discounted price.  Want to walk around for a little bit after my bike ride, I browsed the rest of the store.  I wandered into the book section, with everything for around 99 cents I couldn't resist!  I found all sorts of books, but one that stuck out to me was a Beth Moore devotional about David.  My roommate before went through one of these, so I thought of her as I found it and said a prayer, not really intending to take it home.

I began to scroll through the book, and as I did so, I noticed someone with really nice handwriting filled out only the first 13 pages.  I began to read her prayers, and as I did so, I say just how beautiful some of them were!  I felt the need to look around and see if someone was watching because I felt like I was in some way spying!  I went on to read how the tragedy in Haiti had shaped her heart for the nations, and how she prays for her husband and son.

I still feel like in some way this sounds creepy to read and share another's thoughts, but I found it encouraging to see another's heart desiring to be wholly devoted to the Lord, and less devoted to oneself!

Here is a part that encouraged me.  I hope you know in your journey of faith, you are not alone!


03 September 2012

What Legacy Do You Leave?

Penn State is a campus that has been plagued with a NCAA ruling resulting from men's actions that has left the community in shambles.  In case you haven't heard, Joe Paterno, the former most-winningest coach in history, had his victories stripped, and his statue as well.  Paterno's statue was even a stop on my city tour when I visited in April.  Fans would flock to take their photo with their football king.  (this image above is Joe's statue before any controversy arose)

State College (where Penn State is) is a very interesting town.  Everything revolves around football!  I thought Texas high-school games were intense!  Stores close, and you don't even dare to leave your house on gamedays where it becomes the third largest city in PA only under Philly and Pittsburgh.  200,000+ people enter town for the game even though only 107,282 fit into the stadium!

I don't really have opinions on the NCAA rulings or if it was fair or not, but what I do know is that God is a jealous and sovereign God, and He is in the business of glorifying His name and using all situations for His good in perspective.  When the NCAA deemed Penn State ineligible for bowls for the next four years and viewed Paterno as guilty for aiding Sandusky by not speaking up, they tore the statue down.

Too much of anything in our live can create idols in our hearts, God is about reserving that place for Him alone.  God is about emerging our lives into His!

“I am the Lord; that is my name!

    I will not give my glory to another
    or my praise to idols.
See, the former things have taken place,
    and new things I declare;
before they spring into being
    I announce them to you.”  Isaiah 42:8-9



You do not rebuild the same way once something comes down.  You build better, and stronger with a more solid foundation.  It is no accident that God has called me to Penn State for the time being, or that we are are called to the exact places He has determined, "that men would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us (Acts 17:27)."

So now that Penn State is starting from the ground floor, I am excited to see the new ways God will rebuild the ruins into a city that may glorify His name, and His name alone.  May God be glorified at Penn State.

(Paterno's Statue site now)

Mark 13:31  "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away."

11 August 2012

Wheeeeee!

Sad I'm Leaving Long Beach

Russian stoic faces not showing our emotions

We have heaven!

I haven't blogged much at all lately!  I wasn't really able to while I was overseas as I thought, and then I haven't really known what to write!  I'm at Penn State for the next adventure now. 

I feel like I've been through this roller-coaster of people and friends where I come onto the top to say ,"Yay, I really like you and I'm glad we get to spend time together!"  To going downhill saying, "wait, i wasn't ready to say goodbye yet!"  To clinging to the fact God is good, and sovereign, even when I'm not exactly sure what is happening and that his timing is perfect!

I drove out to Pennsylvania with a dear friend of mine and as I dropped her off at the Philly airport Monday, I decided to spend the next day with my friend Ariel.  Ariel was raised overseas and we've known each other for ten years as of this summer!  I met her kids and she convinced me to stay two more nights then I originally planned.  One of the things she told me when I was 15 was that God brings people into our lives for seasons.  Some longer, and some shorter, but we can't be solely sad when they end, we have to rejoice that Christ gave us the time together.  

These images represent that roller coaster for me.  While I don't know where exactly the amusement car will stop, I'm staying in the seat until the car comes to a complete stop!


11 June 2012

Photos!

"Privet!" (Greetings, from Russia!) Have a look at our journey in this scrapbook. Our teammate, Stephen, has been working hard on it!  Share it, and be praying for the health and safety of our team this last week!

https://www.icloud.com/journal/#2;CAEQARoQdU81nfEb_n1Bx4sheP92Xw;9BD806F8-5F02-4329-90D7-2844541CC2C6

09 June 2012

The Moon and the Stars

So every night, my Russia roommate, Kiya, listens to the Phil Whickham cd as she goes to sleep. Going to sleep after her, I can hear the cd each night through her headphones volume being so loud! I've met with Kiya in discipleship this past year, and it is a blessing to be overseas with her. Last night, "cannons" came on declaring, " the moon and the stars, declare who you are.". I love the stars and the night sky! At one point in my youth, I wanted to be an astronomer out of this infatuation. One of my favorite things to do at ASU was to drive out into the desert and stare at the sky while singing and processing to God. It's weird for me to be in Russia, a land where there are no stars at night during this summer season! The sun "sets" around 11pm and "rises around 4:30 in the morning. At night, the moon and the stars never show up here! We get to reflect the Son in this land, just as the moon does not shine itself, but refelects the light of the sun. What a blessing to be in Russia as Christ's ambassadors doing everything for Christ's glory. May we declare who He is together in this land!

04 June 2012

Russian Fruit

My roommate, Tiffanie, once told me that when God squeezes the heart, the juice comes out our eyes.  There was a lot of juice flowing the first three nights for our team in Russia, but the fruit is so good!

I've lost count, but I believe this is our 5th day in Pushkin, and this is the first time I've had a computer to update you all properly!  So I am sorry you have had to wait, but we are here!

We landed on the last day of June after a long day of flights and team members throwing up on the plane and in the airport!  We still have no idea what caused the sickness outside of a strange bout in warfare.  I am pleased to say that after two days and much prayer and rest for those four students, the illness has fled our team!

We are definitely battling in a war, but I am so glad to know that with Christ, we are on the victorious side!  As a team, we are reading through 1 John together on this trip.  What really struck me was 1 John 2:8 which reads, "the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining." 

For the past two years I've prayed for Russia to be flooded as a country with color and life after Alissa shared Is. 60:1-3 with me before she left for Russia in 2010. 

1“Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.
2 See, darkness covers the earth
and thick darkness is over the peoples,
but the Lord rises upon you
and his glory appears over you.
3 Nations will come to your light,
and kings to the brightness of your dawn.


I am excited to see what God wants to do this summer for His great name.  We are not here without Christ being here before us!  I am excited that both you and I are partnering to contribute this summer.  One of our largest problems this year has been that the students who have been a part of this English camp over the past 10 years have started spreading the word and inviting their friends!  In prior years, the camp has had 30-40 students, but this year we have 78 plus about 15 University students in a night class with us!  What a good problem to have!  The students from school 606 had recruited high school and university students from other cities even!  How amazing!  This is not because of who we are, but becasue of what God is doing in this place! 

The juice God has been squeezing has been some great team bonding through pain and hurts that have been brought into the light based off of team relations, as well as, individuals getting some processing time by being away from the everyday life back in America.  The other 14 teammates are a joy to be around, and I can't wait to look back and praise God with you on all He is going to do! 

I am teaching the sports class with Tannor, Sherin, Nick, and Tanya (my Russian friend who came with other students to America almost 4 years ago while I was at ASU!)  I am excited to invest in these 42 students!  Pray I can remember names, and my back has grace with me!  I wish I could upload new photos, but those will have to wait!  Thankfully, my internationally phone allows me to upload some occassionally to facebook!

PRAY as tomorrow night we begin our Personal Belief Discussions (PBDs) with any students who are interested in talking with us.  In the past, Gd has used these discussions to draw many brothers and sisters to himself. 

Much love to all of you, I hope I get the chance to update again soon!

-Alicia
Here is a picture of Tannor and Tanya from our first day with the students at School 606!  I love our Sports class teaching team!

25 May 2012

Homelessness

Jesus says in Matt. 8:20 that, "the son of man has no place to rest his head.". When I first moved out to Long Beach, all these verses about the Levites not having their own land, but living off the land of others, no place to rest your head, and leaving everything behind we're bombarding me. I felt lonely far off in an unfamiliar land called "California.". I had a place to live with a widow and my new Edge teammate. I had my car, my parents were still in my childhood home for a few more months, but I felt so lonely. Have you ever felt homeless? Have you felt such a deep intense longing for familiarity and belonging to latch around you? I remember driving around lost and stopping the car not even knowing which way to turn despite receiving a GPS for graduation a few months before. Nothing would fill the void I felt. I hung art on my walls immediately, but it still didn't feel like home. I was in a stranger's home, trapped by myself. Yesterday morning I left my Long Beach home. God gave me a home, He gave it to me in Him. After seeing Him as my portion, I could find my home. My home has been in Long Beach, a place I had a hard time believing could transform into that in 2009. I clutched the metal house key in my hand for a moment. The hint of cold metal faded into my hand. I passed it to Lauren, and then the tears came. But you see, I can't hold God's hand until I open my own. I am homeless on the Earth at the moment. Even my parents house key is back in Texas. I have one backpack, purse, and suitcase with me. My furniture is sold, my last rent check at Park Place is written, but it feels different this time. I'm not homeless with Christ. In my quiet time yesterday, I'm in Acts as I read straight through the Bible. I thought about moving past it having just spent the semester studying the book I the R.I.O.T. Study, but in my indecision, I just started reading anyway. Verse 10 says, "they were looking intently up into the sky as he was going...". Our pastor, Darin, went through this a few months ago ad spoke of how the disciples were shellshocked. Jesus told them he was leaving so the Holy Spirit could come, and yet, here they are...staring up into the sky, wanting Him to just come back again. So often, I find myself staring at the sky, not wanting to fully move on just yet. I'm not in a place of despair. I'm in a place of waiting on the Lord as He is my portion. (Lam 3:34 says, "the Lord is my portion; therefore, I will wait for Him.") So here we go, off on this next adventure. I'm not gonna lie, I'm kinda scared and intimidated, but with His hand in mine, I'm two-stepping forward. :)

16 April 2012

Who wants to spread Gangrene?!?

There is this painting by Peter Paul Rubens called the Lamentation of Christ that sticks engraved in my mind whenever I hear the word gangrene.  Granted, I don't hear of gangrene that often, but seeing this painting shown on a 40 foot projection sticks in your mind. Seven years later and it's still embedded! (I'll spare posting the image on here, but you can click here if you really want to see it, it's not that bad in retrospect.)

My professor stood at the front of the classroom going in detail of the disease and how Rubens, and a myriad of other artists at the time, chose to depict Christ in this way fully representing his picture of a disease in which massive amount of body tissue die and fall off the flesh after turning this sickly greenish/grey color.  There was one picture where the foot seemed to be rotting away!  Gross!

2 Timothy 2:14-16 says, "Keep reminding them of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen.  Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly." 

I like that it doesn't say those who indulge are ungodly, but paints this picture: that we are all becoming, and we can choose to be transformed into Christ, or away from Him.

Continuing onto verse 17, "Their teaching will spread like gangrene..."  The teaching of those who do not correctly handle the Word of truth and choose speaking against others in passing blame, doesn't just stay stagnant!  It spreads.  Teaching flooded with godlessness spreads like gangrene.  It rots our flesh and heart and organs until life is removed completely from our breath.  

What are you spreading?  The words of truth, life, and joy?  Or are you spreading like gangrene?  

19 March 2012

Abraham - Lost in Het Nederlands


In Holland, biking is the main form of transportation.  And though housing is typically close together is a city, I lived in an abandoned military house a 30 minute bike ride from town. My first night I was dropped off after a younger youth group meeting and after picking up my bike, my boss pointed me in the general direction of my house and said goodbye and that we would meet tomorrow. I had about 48 hours of being awake at this point.  It was near midnight, and my bike light didn’t work.   Instead of traveling 30 minutes as it was supposed to take to get home, it took me almost 2 hours!

  I was so lost.
                                                                                                                                                                           
After 2 false starts, I headed down the correct bike path on the polder to get home.  I pedaled furiously, building up horror stories in my head of what the noises along the canal could be.  I rode over another small bridge and wondered if I had hit the main road.  Everything was so dark with no street light or bike lights.  Not even a working cell phone to hold up in hopes its screen would add clarity.  So I leaded forward and all of a sudden I saw two eyes looking at me.  It was a cow!  The guard dog was not happy and upon waking to my presence he began to chase me off of the farm!  I pedaled as hard as I could, hoping I would stay on the path and not fall into the water cradling both sides of the bike path.   A handful of ducks started by me flew in front of my face and some of their feathers brushed me, scaring me all the more.  I ended up in two more farms before I made it to the main road, and then there was one more problem…right or left?
                                                                                                                                                        
I began to question why God had put me there after all.  Why me?  I was only 18.  I didn’t feel ready for this.  I was a foreigner in a strange and all I wanted was to find my home. I finally got off my bike and in my weeping and talking to God, I told Him I was lost and if he wanted me home, I needed his help to get there. I wanted to give up.  Stop right there and just lay down hoping the attacking ducks would keep their distance from me and I could magically tap my heels and be back in my bed.

 It was then I saw a familiar sign…one in English!  Texaco!  It wasn’t much to go off of, and I didn’t see it when Peter pointed out my house from the car earlier that day when I only been awake for 36 hours at that point.   Texaco…Texas!  A sign I could read that had lights around it! So I began to move towards it.  And eventually God led me home!  But I can’t even express to you how relived I was when I opened my front gate that night. 

It reminds me of old lyrics saying, I once was lost, but now I’m found. You see, I realized what a joy it is to be lost.  It means you are wanted, someone is searching for you.

Have you ever lost your keys?  They are of value to you, so you tear apart your room, pull of the couch pillows and look everywhere to find them.  See I was lost, and God searched and searched to find me...because he chose me and loved me.  No matter what paths I tried to take on my own, He brought me home.   (Isaiah 53:6) 



Where in your life do you feel/have felt like you are taking matters into your own hands?

What would it look like to wait on God for something He has promised you?

23 February 2012

Wrong Expectations

As a result of my quiet time in Luke 23:8 and talking with a friend today about the root of Catholicism, these are my thoughts for the evening:

Where we can get mixed up in legalism is when the seemingly ritualistic side of our faith is in hopes of producing a response from Christ, instead of being in response to Christ.



Father, may I always treasure your presence over your presents.  May this be true of us all!  Help me respond to your loving kindness, and be more aware of your goodness to me.