Longing.

23 05 2012

I am longing for the light more and more.
For THE Light,
Him.

It seems with almost every day that goes by,
I realize how much more I am ready for heaven.
For these heartaches to seize and to be with the
One who will never make my heart ache…
Unless I ache for Him.

This year, I would call it my year of ‘loss’
but gain.
I’ve lost so many friends,
It’s kind of ridiculous to say the least.
But I have gained a greater understanding
Of who Jesus says He is.

I don’t always think it,
Believe it
Or live like I know it.

But deep down inside,
My heart is longing for Him more and more.
Because people will let you down.
And you will let people down.

But He never will.

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Tejas.

20 05 2012

I am excited to say, I have applied for a job in good ole Tejas. I will not be near anywhere that used to be called ‘home’ in some sort of way.

This job is obviously 50/50. Either I get it. Or I don’t.

I am thankful for the small group of people who have come along-side me to support and pray with and for me in this process.

As much as I hate working at a restaurant, sometimes I wonder if I can even do anything else. I wonder what it’s like to live life without that job. Most people don’t think being a server is a ‘real’ job… I get asked all the time when I’m going to get a ‘real’ job…. but you’d be surprised how much money we make.

If I get this job, I’m in for a ride. It will be probably one of the most difficult and stretching things I have ever done. And the few people who know about it know how stretching it is because of the grapevine of other people who have worked there or had people they know attend there…. I’m thankful they care about my well-being.

So with my application in the mail, I now get to wait. If I do get the job, I believe they bring me down for an in-person interview. I think that interview will be intense, but I fully intend to be nothing but honest. And I expect nothing less in return. Also if I do get a call back from them, I will be getting in contact with people I knew from growing up who’ve been there or worked there and will ask about their experiences there. Kind of like a behind the scenes kind of thing.

If I don’t get the job, I will be some-what bummed because I’ll still be in a restaurant. But, I will be also living with my sweet niece Bella Joy who is on her way soon. I cannot wait to meet her, and I miss little Benaiah so much already! I know I will miss her tons too. And if I don’t get this job, I’ll be taking off a good week or two to help my brother and his little family move to the south! So exciting.

So. All in all, I say it is a win win situation. If I get the job, it’s God’s plan for me. If I don’t get the job, it’s still God’s plan.

So until then. I sit and lean in real close to my Abba Daddy….





Warmth.

18 05 2012

I struggle with night time a lot. Not ‘I’m afraid of the dark’ kind of night time. But more… my mind won’t shut down and I wrestle and wrestle with my heart. I think about so many things and how much I need to do. I think of all the things I do wrong and it just spirals down so fast and so quickly.

Last week was an intense and stretching week. Spiritual attack was pretty crazy. This week I had a really awesome conversation with a friend.

But light… I love light. My friend and I discussed light vs. darkness. Light is one of those quirky things that I love. I don’t just love it, I long for it. Just like I love trees and love the analogy of what a tree is like and how they grow and what they produce and how it is used in the Bible (Psalm 1; Jeremiah 17:7-8)

Jesus is light. Therefore I long for Him.

In the evenings I long for light; for Jesus because I want the darkness to be gone. ‘When I speak your name, darkness flees…’

Now that spring is here, the sun seems to be around more. A whole lot more than we had during our winter. No more gray skies, but rather this vibrant and beautiful light wakes me up in the mornings. Every day it peeks through my windows…

And every morning that I wake up, my heart is deeply thankful to Jesus. Thankful that I serve a God of faithfulness. No matter what.

‘His mercies are new every morning…’ and how evident and beautiful it is to me these days.

When my nights seem hard, long and tiring… I wake up every morning (that is a blessing you know), and as I walk across my wooden floors, I choose to walk over where the light is…

And the warmth is healing to my soul. The warmth brings His promises into a physical sense…

The warmth is a physical reminder that his promises are true… as true as the warm sun that I stand on…

Thank you Jesus for your faithfulness and the promises you give to those who choose to love you and love your law… thank you being faithful to people who are not always so faithful to you… thank you for continuing to love me.

Every morning with the warmth of your love.

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Don’t.

25 04 2012

And then many will fall awayand betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.” Matthew 24:10-12

Don’t lose heart.

It is as simple as that. I find myself in a very raw season of noticing my friendships not continuing to grow in Christ. One or the other is growing with him, but never the both of us; in community. And that is painful for me.

I hate losing friends, but… I also can’t continue to slip in and out of this mediocrity. I’ll be so very honest… I change. I change with who I am around. I don’t change between my non-believer friends and my believer friends. I change between my lukewarm friends and my friends who are running hard after Christ.

The last two years I’ve been growing like crazy. I slip and fall all the time. Constantly actually. I feel like I find myself in the desert… all the time. I constantly struggle with feeling like I’m alone. Even when I’m surrounded by family and people, I still feel alone in this journey. My closest friends over the last few years, I am watching them slowly, ever so slowly slip away.

It is like this… slow process. A few changes here and there. Attending church less and less. The Bible sits on the shelf more and more and collects dust. We throw a prayer here and there when we really want something. Selfishly. There’s a conversation here or there mentioning God, but the reality is…

God knows your heart. He knows the ones who are absolutely pursuing His heart and Kingdom, while fighting against the grip of sin. I mean, fighting. Not just admitting a struggle here and there.

God knows your heart.

To me, that is quite frightening and humbly all at once.

One day, I, as well as yourself, will be standing before the King of Kings, the Creator and absolute Ruler over all. The God of wrath and justice is real. His unquenchable love for his children is real. One day, we will all stand before Him, completely stripped of all we are. Stripped of the families we have, the jobs, the cars, the macbooks and iphones, our ministry, our bible studies and churches.

We will be alone. Before God.

And He knows.

He knows if you are truly a follower of His. He knows if you passionately were pursuing His will and fighting to help win souls for the Kingdom.

That doesn’t mean that you were a preacher or missionary. It doesn’t mean that you never had a bad day, or traveled through the lonely desert. Passionately pursuing Christ doesn’t mean that the world knew your name, it doesn’t mean that you didn’t doubt God or question Him.

A passionate follower of Christ means that you did your heart-wrenching best. You sought to know him, and no matter what circumstance or challenge was given to you; you turned it back to Him. And you continued on.

Don’t be a quitter. Don’t give up. Don’t change your moral standards. Don’t quit fighting against sin. Don’t leave your church unless you are truly looking for another one. Don’t quit reading your Bible. Don’t quit questioning God and sharing your doubts with Him. He’s big enough for those! He created us in such a way that we would not be able to fully grasp Him, and in such a way that we would turn to him and seek Him. Don’t lose your joy through the trials.

My heart is heavy for those who have quit… who have stood still along the way. Who have chosen to give up. Who have chosen to say ‘mediocre isn’t too bad’. My heart is heavy for those who renounce His name with their life… maybe not with their lips, but with their hearts and actions… it’s the same thing.

Don’t.
Quit.

Keep fighting. There is something greater in store.

He promises…





Open.

21 03 2012

There’s something deep inside me that keeps trying to open up. It is unexplainable yet painful. Sometimes I feel that my heart is so raw, you could see it. Pain can run so deep, it feels unending; completely hopeless.

But I trust in my Savior. The healer of all, the one who has endured far far more and deeper pains than any of us will ever know. I am thankful he bore the nails for me. And it seems so far fetched sometimes to remind myself of the gospel. To remind myself that His pain and suffering were greater. But when I do think of that…

I can breathe. I can breathe knowing He has been there. He understands. He cares. Even when I feel like no one else can understand or care, I know that he does, and that is all the matters. There is no point in trying so hard to explain what is inside to people. It only makes this process harder…. I just need to trust that He will do the healing in His timing. For it will come from Him & only Him. No other person or thing can heal me, and that is such a hard reality to accept. But the sooner I do, the far less heartache I will have.

“After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.” 1 Peter 5:10





Run.

13 01 2012

This week, with all that I am learning and being challenged in, there is something built in me that naturally, sinfully, wants to do the opposite.

Run.

I look back at my ‘spiritual’ journey, times of when I thought it began to when it really began are very different. Either way, I think I was still on a spiritual journey… wrestling it out until it was made clear. During most of my journey, all I would do was run. Run far from God, and try to run from myself. I had moments of surrender and self-pity and ask God to forgive me if He was able. But no matter what, I always chose to continue to run.

Run far
and fast
from Him.

A year ago, I actually began the process of running, and training for a half marathon. It actually became something that I really enjoyed. I was doing something that I had never cared about, or thought I could do. A friend of mine started helping me out, and really pushed me beyond my limits. It was awesome. The crazy thing is though, when you begin to grow so well in one area, there is this natural tendency or pull to drag you from it, or to just slightly twist your thinking, your view. And if you aren’t careful, it can become bad if not, sinful. For me it was through pride. I had never thought much about myself, but once I started to run, I started to use that to build myself up. In a way, that was really good for me, but then I took it to far. I ran with it. I showed off that I had run 9 miles that morning or night. I flaunted the fact that I had lost so much weight and could now tan in a two-piece bikini everyday and not be ashamed. I thought of myself superior than my friends in this area, just because I could do something they could not.

As they always say, pride comes before the fall.

And it did. Indeed.

Two weeks before my half, I was running my nine mile route; I would begin on this incredibly steep hill, and end my last mile on it. As I was almost finished with my ninth mile, I was running down this hill and…. I have no idea what happened, but my knee gave out. I did not break or tear anything, I just messed something up. I could barely walk home I was in so freaking much pain. I couldn’t run for months, and it was the hardest thing to go to the LiveStrong Half Marathon in Austin and watch these thousands of people run, knowing I was supposed to be doing that too. I was so angry with myself. It killed the pride that was inside of me, and goodbye $135.00. ha. I truly deserved it.

The last few weeks, I have been itching to run again. I will be walking outside and I just want to take off. I just want my legs to go go go and go until I can’t move. I wonder if my physical desire to run has any sort of parallel with my spiritual walk because I feel that inside my heart as well.

Even in the midst of all the challenges that seems to be stirring inside of my heart, I equally feel this tug, this pull that seems to be growing to run. To just get away, and just be alone.  I begin thinking too much, and when I get overwhelmed I like to run from God, because I cannot think through anything. I get so consumed in my own thinking, I can never stay afloat, and it proves my lack of trust in the Lord. I do not trust Him enough with my thoughts or feelings. I’m just not quite sure if He can handle them, or if He even really cares.

I honestly think it’s the enemy. There are certain areas of my heart that have been shared with a very (very) few close friends, and as they continue to ask me about those pieces, those struggles and fears, I see that I just want to run away. Part of me ‘running’ in my spiritual life is to isolate; to close off from people (that know me very well) until I can suppress everything deep enough to where I can hold it together when the questions are asked.

But I can’t. I can’t quit now. I can’t give up. I gotta keep moving. Not only moving, but I need to get up and run to Jesus! I am being pulled and pushed away with my natural and sinful nature, but Christ has redeemed me and saved me from my flesh! And that should be all the reason to get up and keep running and fighting towards Him! I feel like I get pushed and knocked around more than others, and a lot of times it is with my own thoughts and battles within my heart, but it is worth it. This life may be a non-stop battle (that is how it has felt most of the time), and I think I envy and get jealous of so many people not having to fight out their own demons so often. But I suppose this is the road I’m called on, and if it is, then, I want to run it well. I want to continue to get up eight times if I’m knocked down 7.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:1-3

I will choose to get up.
I will choose to continue to run;
Towards the Cross.
I will choose to continue to fight my flesh.
I will choose to apply the gospel,
Because everything else will vanish in it.
All that I endure is nothing;
Compared to what Jesus did…





Refresh&Remain

12 01 2012

I am the worst at memory verses. I know simple verses like John 3:16 or Jeremiah 29:11. Most people you can ask what verses do you know, and they can quote those two with happy faces that we can recite something from the Bible.

But that just doesn’t cut it.

Two verses twisted to uphold ourselves. A verse telling me that I am saved. That God came for me and only me, and it is all about US. But they don’t mention verse 19, how it tells us that we love darkness rather than light and our works are evil. It is far more than just ‘believing’ in God like you do Santa Clause (who isn’t real. Sorry to burst that bubble).

Jeremiah 29:11 people throw around all the time. Talking about how God has a plan to prosper and not harm us. But… do you not know, or do you refuse to believe that this good God, also wills everything in our life? He knows all that has happened and will happen. The good and the bad. But according to Romans 8:28, not only does he will everything, he turns all of that into good. But, not for everyone. He makes everything good for those who love Him. And ‘loving’ God does not mean updating your facebook status or twitter to some Bible verse and then turning around and continuing to live in a sinful and mediocre life. Just because you do ‘Christian’/religious things does not mean you’re truly living a surrendered life where Christ is Lord…

The Word, His truth and guidelines to run this race, says…”If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” John 14:15 and “Whoever has my commandments and keeps them,he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” John 14:21

One way to show our love and devotion to God is by continuing to renew our minds with scripture. When you get to know someone you study them. You ask questions, you begin to remember details about the things they like and do not like. You begin to know what makes them happy, or tick. You learn their passions and joys, and the sorrows and past pains. You learn all this stuff about people when you engage in that relationship. I know it seems so stinking hard to do that with God because you can’t see or feel him or hear him super clear like you’re talking to a human face to face. But He has given us everything we need to get to know him. Psalm 119 is probably my favorite chapter in the Bible (so far, I haven’t read many). I am so convicted even in the first five lines…

That chapter is all about learning His commandments and obeying them. Showing love to God by knowing and living our lives according to them.

So. Once a week, I want to post what scripture is speaking to me. And why. I seriously am the worst at knowing scripture. (I seriously looked up all of the above verses except for the first two.) I know along the lines of what things say, but I don’t know what it says, or where to find it (thank you biblegateway.com).

I need to refresh my mind with scripture, daily. Moment by moment, so that I can remain rooted in Jesus, my anchor, my Savior…

So the last few weeks the verses that have stuck are the following…

“Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? – Unless indeed you fail to meet the test!” II Corinthians 13:5

^ The Lord has been testing me. Rocking my boat of apathy. Challenging me to go deeper in my faith and my relationship with Him.

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” Jeremiah 17:9

^ I get settled and comfortable with sin. I justify it far too often, but I need to remember; Jesus is my Savior. He did not save me just once. I mean, He did, but I have got to remind myself that He is continueously saving me from the deceitfulness in my own heart moment by moment.

“Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me niether poverty nor riches; but give me only my daily bread.” Proverbs 30:8

^ There are issues that I mentioned I would write about soon, and this seems to be my favorite out of these verses that I can cling to, cause… well I… got nothing else.

I am excited to challenge myself in this area. Hopefully I will keep it up. Even though I can be a quitter at… almost everything. I hope that the Lord keeps nudging me in this area. Not out of a ‘checklist’ or of thing, but because I want to show my love to Him through obedience… there is nothing like washing yourself in the Word…





Apathy, excuse the soap-box.

10 01 2012

(This post is super-long and random.)

I got off work super early today. Thankful that I made some pocket change. I tend to focus on how much more I need. I just paid $157 on student loans on Friday, then received a bill the other day for $71.00 and received two today; one for $467.00 and one for $701.00. For real?

Therefore, my world is being run by the mundane life. The day in and day out of just trying to keep my head above water as I need to pay all this school debt off; six years of stress and (somewhat) hard work, with no degree to show for it. Six years of friendships in different cities. Six years of trials that typical young college people go through. Six years of many tears and wandering lonely roads as I search for answers and truth and the meaning to life. Six years of walking through a wilderness… and through that wilderness, my last year was the most stretching. Juggling 24 credit-hours (and however only 12 would be accounted for), working 30 hours a week and fighting the depths of my soul in a very real spiritual battle of salvation. Oh how I would not have traded those six years of wandering, and especially that last years super intense battle for anything. Now that I am where I am. I had to go through that. I had to walk through that in order to get to this rich season. I now have six years of seeing the Lord’s hand and faithfulness and absolute and utter grace poured out endlessly over my life. Time and time again, He was just wooing me to Him, it just took some time for my eyes and heart to be open and receptive.

But now, I have to choose to continue to believe and fight even though the battle for my soul has been won. Christ has saved me, and given me new life! What an incredible joy that is! I sometimes wondered how Christians could be so joy-less and passion-less when they had been saved, and they have the greatest person fighting for and with them. He has given everything we need if we would just stop being lazy and apathetic and take our focus off of ourselves and onto Christ! If we would only read His Word; the truth! If only we could read those words and have them contineously sink deeper and deeper into the core of our being… letting it be the truth that is pulsing through our veins and truly being the beat in our hearts. His truth brings life, and far too often we forget and don’t care. I forget.

And here I am. A believer. Apathetic. Lazy. Bored.

I get caught up on how my life should look. How I thought it would look at this age. I would be either engaged (not married, that is age 25) and planning for a wedding. I would also somehow be on the mission field in some way. Either already packed up and gone or in the process of packing up. I thought I’d be living in some crazy little hut in the bush of Africa or do some type of mission work where I had very little to live off of, cause that is what super-Christians do right?

Hmmmm. No.

Somehow, somewhere, I think as children, we think super Christians are the ones who surrender their lives completely and head off to other countries and help poor people. Or they go off to some seminary and become some sort of pastor.

But God hasn’t called me to either of those. It was quite clear during those four day sin the bush of Africa; I am not called to live in a little hut for the rest of my life. I highly respect and definitely admire those who are called to that way of life. And those who actually do it. I am by no means bashing missionaries or pastors. We are the body, and we all make up very unique and different parts of the body. I am all for it! As long as the gospel is being shared; that is, every part of the gospel. Not just the ‘let-me-make-you-feel-good-that-someone-loves-you-and-has-plans-like-Jeremiah-29:11’ but also sharing that we are born sinners. We are born with an evil in our hearts, and that we.are.no.good.without.Christ. Yes, if that is being shared I am for it! And if discipleship is happening, and leaders are raising up the younger generation, you bet I am for that. I just so long for the day when God’s glory completely floods this earth. I have no idea how that will look. Seems like his glory and wrath will all be intertwined… my thoughts just simply cannot begin to fathom that day… anyway…

What has He ‘called’ me to? I have no stinking idea. I have been asking for years, for some sort of clarity. Some sort of passion or love for some cause or people group or something; anything! But that is also something else I think we as young people get caught up in as well. It is how we are taught. Maybe not all church-kids, but a lot of us. We have been taught/ continue to teach kids to ‘listen to God’s voice. What’s your calling? What’s your gift? Where are you going to serve? What ministry will you be a part of? How much money will you give?

It is all about us and what we will do. I think we need direction and goals in our lives for sure. That is one area I lack big time. I am not a very determined or goal oriented or even motivated type of person. I float more on the apathetic boat. Whatever comes my way, whatever door opens without me having to life a finger is the one I’ll choose.

But I think we need to stop looking high and low for our calling. I think our calling as a believer is quite clear and simple.

And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the ends of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20

That’s it! We all have a calling. Those of us who Jesus has saved. Those of us who claim to be believers, but tend to float down the mediocre stream. We will be judged one day, and we will be weighed justly. I think we spend so much time searching and trying to hear some ‘special’ calling and… well I think this is quite huge! Granted, I think God definitely specifies our calling into categories such as pastors, missionaries, worship pastors, teachers, children’s ministers etc.

But this is the bottom line of each of those callings. You do not have to be a person in one of the above categories. He calls any and every believer to do this! That means students, moms, dads, garbage truck drivers, nannys, servers, bank tellers etc.

I think when you choose to look at Christ, He will make those paths clear.

I was challenged the other day by a friend of mine in high school. I lived with his family after I graduated high school for a summer. For almost six years I spend many holidays with them and made many trips to go back and see them. I have grown to love these four kids deeply as my own siblings. The oldest kid is in high school, my buddy Carson. He is in high school and has a passion to be serving the Lord and allowing Christ to have the glory for all the blessings and even the hard times in his life. It is so incredibly refreshing and challenging seeing his faith and how passionate he is about sharing it! The other day he said this… “I’m sick of everybody bein so down all the time! Honestly it shows just where God is in your life… Because if youre constantly complaining, or worrying, or bein negative all the time, obviously God’s not in the highest place he deserves in your life. Yeah I know crap happens…But seriously if Christ is truly your life, then NOTHING should bring you down b/c you can always rejoice in the facet that youre saved by a loving King. So while everybody else is worrying, complaining, and bitter, I’m gonna rejoice, cuz I know just who my God is, regardless of circumstances. **Psalm 146***”

Man! if that doesn’t challenge you, then I don’t know what will! God has been rocking my boat of apathy quite a bit lately, and He definitely did when I read this. The last month and a half I decided to sail away on this boat simply out of frustration. Frustration that I just want some answers. For some reason I felt (still sometimes feel) like I deserve them. I need them. I want closure. I want to be fixed, healed, whatever. I sorta-kinda gave up. I threw in the towel and hailed my white flag of surrender, and that only made things worse. It only drew me deeper and deeper into the waters of sin and disbelief.

Uhhh, self-centered? Just a tad bit. Melodramatic? Why yes, yes indeed. I can be good at that.

I shifted my focus. I took my eyes off of Christ and focused on what hurt inside. But Christ asks us to fix our eyes on Him! And HE will make our paths straight! If I would stop trying so hard to figure out what I will be doing in the future; what to do this summer, or if I need a new job, or what to do to make more money, or find a man, cause that’ll surely make me happy; or find some sort of far-off ministry to jump into because doing what I’m doing is nothing… if I would just stop thinking these things and just… go back to the basics; truth, I think my life would be far less stressful and have a lot more purpose and meaning.

I am in desperate need of a reminder of the basics:

-God has saved me. What an incredibly amazing thing! Seriously!
-I need to root my heart back into the soil of thanksgiving.
My life is a gift. His son was given to save my life; that is a gift. Every breathe I take is an undeserved gift of grace.
-He has given everything I need to endure this life through the Holy Spirit and the Word.
-I do have a calling on my life! he calls me to bring Him all the glory and to be a vessel willing to be a light and help bring lost people to His kingdom! It can only happen through Christ!

I love that when I go through hardships now, rather than a year ago, I am quicker at realizing what is going on. I know a little better how my heart works. My weak points; my triggers and the places that are too slippery to walk. I know what makes me want to instantly give up and quit. All my life I have been a quitter. Sports, music, friendships-anything really, I just quit. I rarely could be in anything for more than a year. I gave up really easily. Not only that, but then I just run. I quit and then get angry (another big sinful habit) that I quit, and run our of anger, frustration. I give up so easily, but that is why I am loving this book called ‘Relentless’ by John Bevere. I am being challenged to persevere. To run the race, and run it well!

Even though I feel like I already quite over a month ago… Christ is once again saying to me… Talitha Koum… get up… little girl GET UP! Step out of that sinking boat of apathy and follow me. As soon as you stand, look at ME, and nowhere else. When your eyes are fixed on me, I will guide you. Learn to trust Me… believe Me. Do not allow the whirlwinds of doubt, confusion or fear affect you. You are mind, and I will guide you… but you have got to choose to look at me, no matter the cost…

Talitha Koum…Talitha Koum…

And I respond with a shaky, yes. Yes. I will get up, and I will choose to look at Christ. Even though right now it hurts. It hurts to look at the cross because the tears of shame sting as they run down. The first of sin is the stinch that surrounds me… I am covered in it. The wounds that selfishness and bitterness are gaping open. The sleepless nights of un-forgiveness and bitterness are the dark shadows under my eyes… and I drag my beaten down and broken heart on the ground behind me…

But… yes, I may have caused all these things, but one step towards Christ and He can wash it all away. He catches those tears in his scars, and I am reminded He took all of this. All of this junk that I carry into the shadows of the cross; He has already taken it. All of this that I continue to meddle in even when I know it is wrong, He took… And yet,

He still believes in me.
He still chose me.
He still wants me.
He still loves me.

And…

I. Am. Still. His.





Relentless

5 01 2012

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I got a lot of books for Christmas. I tend to buy buy buy books, but I am so bad at actually reading and/or finishing them. I am trying to become better at sticking with them, but it usually takes months-years to actually finish one book. If I start one book, I usually start 6 others… literally in the last few weeks I have started five good reads…

But I think I will put them all on hold, and stick to one. I am going to pick one that I bought yesterday.

Relentless by John Bevere. I really enjoy his easy-read and just the way he writes is fairly easy to get through. It is not super complicated- yet thought provoking and challenging. I did not care for the introduction of the book, but the first chapter already has me challenged.

Chapter 1- Relentless “Finishing is better than starting.” Ecclesiastes 7:8 (NLT)

In this chapter he talks about how he thinks that a lot of Christians will not finish as well as they think they will. They just kind of coast the ‘Christian’ lifestyle without truly living it out. Granted, we cannot judge and say whether a person is truly a believer or not, but I do think you can see fruit or not… but even that is not solid fact that someone is a believer.

Far too many times, believers get tired of fighting the (good) fight and persevering through the tough times. I know I do. The smallest thing can rock my boat sometimes. I am a very emotionally-built person, but I know that those emotions are God-given, but that does not mean I can run free within that. I need to learn self-control and need to stand upon the Word. It is so hard for me. I am an incredibly sensitive person as well, and the slightest things will hurt, but they would not if I would learn to respond Biblically.

I find my days becoming more mundane and almost lazy.

I have a desire to change.
I have a desire to confess sin.
I have a desire to dig into the Word.
I have a desire to encourage others.
I have a desire to live a more gospel-centered life.

But what more is there to that? Having a desire, and actually doing those things are two very different things. I want to do a lot, to be a better Christian, to represent Christ better, but… if I don’t get up off my lazy butt and do it, then it is all worthless.

I have never been much of a motivated person. It takes a lot to get me motivated. But what better motivation is there than scripture?

“Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!II Corinthians 13:5 (ESV)

I desperately need to be checking myself. I am constantly slipping and falling, and failing quite miserably. But as long as I continue to get up, and seek the Lord and cling to Him, and move forward with joy, then that is progress. Christ asks us to persevere! He knew it was not going to be easy, for He travelled the most difficult road of all! He understands. Even when I feel like I desperately want to explain myself, and tell him or someone else why this just is not fair, and how much this or that hurts or why I just do not understand it, I should remember that He has faced this all, times a million… He has endured the greatest of trails and endured the wrath of His loving Father…

He. Knows. All.
And
I. Do. NOT.

I am excited about this book. About being Relentless in my journey, to continue on persistently and constantly without wavering in my faith towards the Kingdom. And I hope to encourage and bring others along this journey with me.

I want Christ to be glorified through the way I chose to live my life on this earth. I want to hear the Words from my Abba, “Well done my good and faithful servant…”. Those words will not come by coasting through my spiritual walk with sleepy eyes. They will come through the fighting and wrestling out the sanctification process. It will come through tears and victories. Knees bent humbly before the King and keeping Him on the throne of my heart. It will come through the compassion of Jesus’ eyes and serving with the picture of his scarred hands in the center of my heart. It will come with a confidence of the blood that saved me, and it will come with a faith that says “YES LORD! No matter the cost!” It will come rich or poor. Those words will come when my heart and mind can begin to grasp that this life is not about me and how good I live it, but it is about Him and how He is glorified through the way I live it…

Father, You have given me the greatest privilege to love through You. To represent who you are to this dying and broken world. May this worthless servant take advantage of that, and serve them with joy, for I am nothing, and I have nothing except You. Everything else is worthless…

In the morning
I bow down
As the sun rises
It awakens my heart
In the silence
I chose Your word

Jesus
You are all I want
You are all I need
More than anything
More than anything I can hold

In noontime
I seek Your face
As I lose sight
Of who You are
Lord You’re so faithful
In reminding me

Jesus
You are all I want
You are all I need
More than anything
More than anything I can hold

In the darkness
I cry out Your name
In the stillness
I remember Your word
In my weakness
You raise me up

Jesus
You are all I want
You are all I need
More than anything
More than anything I can hold

 





One Word- 3.6.5.

1 01 2012

So, as everyone knows, it’s the new year. It was fun chatting at work with some guys reminiscing and saying they were not scared this year of the earth blowing up, but next year could be it…

Makes me happy that my hope is in Christ…

Last year, I had been following closely with a fellow blogger-friend, Alece. I joined her, with countless others in her One Word challenge. Basically the challenge is to pick one word, and let that be your focus of the year. Last year, my word was perspective. As the year continued on, I kind of liked adding Eternal to perspective… because my heart and life changed when I gave it to Christ, therefore my perspective shifted and changed as well.

This year, I choose the word Respond.

I find that I am being challenged in my response to circumstances. I tend to respond out of my flesh rather than truly soak in the Bible and respond Biblically to things that come my way. I tend to get emotional and crazy and it takes a toll on me spiritually, because I am not choosing to respond through the eyes of Christ, and through His Word. This also challenges me to dig into the Word more than I do, because there is no way I can respond Biblically if I am not studying the Word and allowing it to root into my heart.

2011, you flew by. One of the craziest spiritual journeys I have ever been on. Thank you Jesus for saving me and giving me joy and an eternal perspective! That is what I will walk away with, from 2011. The most important decision was made.

And I welcome you 2012. I look forward to seeing my times of growth in my response to Christ. It is only by His grace…

What will your word be for the year?





Speak.

17 12 2011

These may not all go together, but I like ‘Em anyway.

This is what the LORD Almighty says:

“Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you;
they fill you with false hopes.
They speak visions from their own minds,
not from the mouth of the LORD.
They keep saying to those who despise me,
‘The LORD says: You will have peace.’
And to all who follow the stubbornness of their hearts
they say, ‘No harm will come to you.
But which of them has stood in the council of the LORD
to see or to hear his word?
Who has listened and heard his word?
See, the storm of the LORD
will burst out in wrath,
a whirlwind swirling down
on the heads of the wicked.
The anger of the LORD will not turn back
until he fully accomplishes
the purposes of his heart.
In days to come
you will understand it clearly.
I did not send these prophets,
yet they have run with their message;
I did not speak to them,
yet they have prophesied.
But if they had stood in my council,
they would have proclaimed my words to my people
and would have turned them from their evil ways
and from their evil deeds.
-Jeremiah 23:16-22

“If I have walked with falsehood
or my foot has hurried after deceit—
let God weigh me in honest scales
and he will know that I am blameless—
if my steps have turned from the path,
if my heart has been led by my eyes,
or if my hands have been defiled,
then may others eat what I have sown,
and may my crops be uprooted.”
-Job 31:5-8

“Answer me when I call to you,
my righteous God.
Give me relief from my distress;
have mercy on me and hear my prayer.

How long will you people turn my glory into shame?
How long will you love delusions and seek false gods[b]?[c]
Know that the LORD has set apart his faithful servant for himself;
the LORD hears when I call to him.

Tremble and do not sin;
when you are on your beds,
search your hearts and be silent.
Offer the sacrifices of the righteous
and trust in the LORD.

Many, LORD, are asking, “Who will bring us prosperity?”
Let the light of your face shine on us.
Fill my heart with joy
when their grain and new wine abound.

In peace I will lie down and sleep,
for you alone, LORD,
make me dwell in safety.”
-Psalm 4

“Keep falsehood and lies far from me;
give me neither poverty nor riches,
but give me only my daily bread.”
-Proverbs 30:8

“I hate and detest falsehood
but I love your law.”
-Psalm 119:163

And I am now reaping why we must test the spirits as it asks us to in 1 John. I am thankful for this opportunity to truly trust in the Lord, but I’m not gonna lie…

It hurts.

This has been an emotional few days as I think ( I hope this is God) the Lord is showing me who He is, and is not. It is hard to explain this fully, but I just hope I can trust the Lord with my heart…. easier said than done, but there is no better place for my heart to be than in the center of His scarred hands, the gospel…





Trust.

17 12 2011

He climbs up the mountain
Gazing upon the valley below
He slips off his sandals
And there he bows before the Burning Bush

She walks into the room
All eyes stare with judgement
As she breaks her porcelain perfume
With hair worn down
She washes His feet
And she bows humbly
before the forgiver of all her sins

To the altar he went
Son tied down gazing into his eyes
Knife in midair
The Voice stops him
And he falls to his knees
With a heart of obedience to please
His Heavenly Father

She squeezes through the crowds
Pushed and ignored
She just wants to touch His robe
As her knees hit the dirt
She touches his cloak
For her faith is there indeed
She sits before the
Healer of her disease

Oh to have faith as a mustard seed
To find myself humbly weak
And knees bent before the
Throne of the King
Father
Rise up within
Rise up within





Prayer.

14 12 2011

Tonight, I was able to sit with three girls and talk about life. Talk about past experiences all across the board; church, testimony, family, *boys, friends etc. It was nice to sit with these girls that I really have not known but a few weeks, and to sit and just invest. Listening to these girls, my heart became so excited.Listening to them, I realized

This is where I am to invest.

These growing girls into women.
These growing boys into men.
These youth.
This church.
This. Is. It.

This is where the Lord has me, and it is so exciting to begin seeing more and more why I am here. I have never been so excited to come along side another group in the body of Christ, and invest IN that group. I was always looking at wanting to be invested INTO, but not willing or caring to do any of the gritty work or letting any of that be an out-pour out of my heart from what was going in.

After this conversation, my prayer life will get a little more exciting. I have more specifics on who and what needs prayer. The conversation helped me see a little more into this church and this body. Yes, it is not perfect, but this is where I feel the Lord has led me, and hearing the hearts of these girls and the kind of ‘this part stinks-but we are totally praying for this to happen’ was awesome to hear. To see the weaker areas, but to completely be looking at the positive and the heart in these girls that are prayerfully investing into those weaker areas.

Thank you Jesus for this time, this season. For these people and their hearts and passion for the Word, and to stand on truth and allow the truth to convict and challenge them towards You. I could not be more excited about this.

If you could be praying for this body, that the Lord would continue to unify and draw each other closer, and to be a little more intentional in challenging and praying for each other to grow. Pray for me, as I want to be more of a leader with these girls and that the Lord will give me discernment to go to the Word for everything, and not just throw out opinion-based answers that will ‘feel good’, but to be solid in the way I have been challenged and invested into the last year and a half. I have been given the most awesome examples of how to go about challenging and speaking truth, which is nothing but scripture, into situations and times of difficulty, and also times of triumph and joy.

I want to be able to give glory to the Lord for absolutely everything that is going on in my life, and I want others to know that it is He who is working in and through us, as His followers. I want to take no credit, but to know that the Lord is growing me and it is only He that is (hopefully) shining through and making Himself known…





When I do not know what to say…

2 12 2011

I find my heart in such an interesting place. I still feel like a little babe in Christ, learning and soaking in all these new truths that I fought against, and resisted for so long; wanting nothing to do with any of them, because I wanted to be the captain of my soul. I wanted to lead the way, and think that I was good enough to walk into heaven just like that…

Thankfully, I have had quite a wake up call, and my heart has changed. Jesus has shown Himself, and all His glory… well not all of it, but I cannot wait till one day when I can see all of it.

My heart feels incredibly tender right now. Tender because Jesus’ heart is tender, and it is He who is in me. I feel so sensitive to the smallest details in life right now.

Maybe this is seeing the world through His eyes and not my own? Seeing the broken world because of sin? Seeing the consequences of sin in all its fullness. Seeing the selfishness that rules our world today and the greed that has blinded our very eyes…

My heart is sensitive to so many people I meet. I meet a lot through my job, and the coolest thing, is I get to serve those people. I used to only care about the money, and how much I did or did not get. But this week, out of nowhere, I really do not care. I mean, I DO, but… for some reason, I have been seeing my guests differently. I have been taking this time to truly serve my guests. Not serve them because it’s my job. But serve them, because this is an opportunity. No matter if they only tip me a dollar, whatever… that’s fine. Even the rude people, I want to love in return, because that is what Christ has done with me. He continues to do with me. I do not see this lasting forever, but my heart right now, just wants to love people. I trust that the Lord will provide how He feels, and right now, I want to just focus on others, and being able to hopefully be a light.

“To love the least, to love the lost is to love Jesus.” -Shaun Groves

That is a huge point of why we are here people! TO LOVE OTHERS! It is that simple. To love others self-lessly. Which is SO hard to do. To love another despite how or if they will love us in return. Those who claim to be believers, we have THE greatest gift on earth. We can share the gift of Jesus!

So many guests that come in to my section at work, I want to sit down with them, look them in the eyes, let the tears begin to fall and tell them that there is something far greater than everything they are striving after. That everything they are working so hard to accomplish, or the people they are trying so hard to please or be loved by, there is someone who has the ultimate opinion and who cares more than anyone on this earth does! I want them to know, that there is someone that they can live for. That it doesn’t all end when we die, and we just hope for the best, and that the grass is greener on the other side.

I get teary-eyed with the faces that come to mind that I have served the last few days, and not being able to express what is inside. I fumble and stumble over words these days.

I hope that tears are able to speak. Because right now, that is the language that I speak. My tears speak for people I want to be saved, the ‘unfairness’ that seems to be absolutely everywhere right now… the “I just don’t understand”‘s. My tears speak of gratitude and humbleness and joy. My tears speak of a longing to be home. I just want to be home with Jesus right now, and hear Him say, “It’ll all be okay. I am making all things new. Just wait and see!”

My tears come from deep within. From the depths of a new soul in Christ, with a new hope. I wish I could express more of what the Lord is speaking and challenging, but maybe for another day…

I will end with this verse that comes to mind… “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings to deep for words.” Romans 8:26

Dig deep into the Word, His truth. Get your focus right on the gospel, and maybe you will begin to see the world around you differently.





Repentance.

27 11 2011

For those of you who don’t know me well enough. I used to be quite the hater. And I still can be at times. But ever since I listened to that one sermon, my life is radically changing. It is almost a little weird. So many times I step back and look at my thinking/thought process and wonder “Is this for real? Am I really beginning to truly think and act like this? Am I really excited about the gospel like this?”

And I am. I am so very excited to be sharing to anyone who cares to listen about what God is doing in my life, and the lives around me. I am so excited to share the good news that God saved me and He can do the same for you!

So in this time, this season, I tend to be drawn to sermons teaching about things that I did not agree with before. Or, things that I did not want to hear or be taught, because I know… once you hear something taught or pointed out in scripture you are no longer ignorant! I used to play that card a lot. I knew if someone pointed out Biblically, why I was doing something wrong, or how it was sinful, I knew I would be held accountable for that. I think that is a lot of why I used to look for pastors who did the whole prosperity gospel type of thing. Just tell me what I want to hear, and what will make me feel good, and not convict me, and I’ll be okay. I did not want to be held accountable for the real commandments and words of truth. Oh, but I so crave that now! I need it. I want to know.

But sometimes, when you are convicted, it just isn’t that fun. Not that it is bad, but you are left so challenged, it is almost overwhelming. Last night was one of those times. Something I will be looking over, chewing on for a while. I listened to a guy preach on a sermon called “The Fruit of Biblical Repentance”. Ah. Repentance. I used to hate that word. I did not like how it sounded. It just sounded bad and… “too spiritual” or something. I don’t really know. Maybe it sounded to harsh for my ears. It would bring that whole thing where I couldn’t be ignorant about it if I learned too much. well this guy David Pugh, totally brought it in his sermon. I REALLY recommend you listen to it!

The main points I will share, but will not go into detail, because I prefer and would rather you listen to it, so you cannot be ignorant in this area. (: haha.

Based off of II Corinthians 7:4-11

-Repentance: a change of mind, total direction. In the Bible, you see obedience following repentance. There is a change, a fruit.
-The Bible says our hearts are desperately wicked and deceitful.
-Defining and distinguishing between a worldly repentance and a Biblical Repentance (this part was so eye-opening for me!)
-Three fruits of Biblical Repentance
-Invites correction
-Posses godly sorrow
-Eager Obedience that follows
-A lot of times in ‘repentance’ people feel a sorrow over what they did. But, there is also a different between worldly sorrow and Godly sorrow.
-Worldly sorrow: is feeling sorry for something you did that backfires on you. Reflects of a proud/fearful ego. Pride will always regret making a fool of himself and fear will always regret acts that jeopardize comfort and safety. Feeling sorry for something you have done is no sign of virtue. The focus on worldly sorrow is focused on consequences, embarrassment, self-pity. We think that is repentance but it is not.
-Godly sorrow: Reflects of a conscience that has wounded God’s ego, not its own. So the focus is the uncomfortable feeling of guilt when the Word of God shows you what you have done is sin and thus has brought reproach on God’s name. Godly sorrow is the regret of a God saturated heart, not a world saturated heart. First and foremost a Godly sorrow is grieved because it has detracted from the glory of God and you have grieved God himself such that you need to run to Christ as your advocate.
-Just a mere sense of guilt does not mean it is Biblical repentance. A desire just to escape sins consequences is just showing self-love and self-interest.

So, if that looks interesting at all ( which I hope it does!) I really encourage you to listen to it! If you go to the audio messages on the link of this church, go to page 7 at the bottom, and look for the Fruit of Biblical Repentance by David Pugh. So so good. I would love to hear any comments if you have any if you decide to check it out!

Be convicted, challenged and so incredibly encouraged that there are people out there preaching such amazing solid truth, and not just the prosperity gospel to just make you feel good.