November 22, 2009

The Way

NOTE: I just wanted to reemphasize the heart with which this note was written. A few people have expressed that this was "judgmental" or "condemnatory" in a blanket fashion. I do not intend to say that ALL the people who attend The Way are displeasing to God. Absolutely not. I am sure there are many sincere people in the church. My main point of contention with The Way is the overall image/impression the church gives you and leaves you with. The poem is strong because it is imagery expressing a simple truth. It is meant to be strong and carry across the taste that the church left in my heart. Allow me some poetic license if it is not scattered throughout with disclaimers to the sincere people at the church.I do not apologize for my sentiments regarding The Way. I still feel absolutely burdened that the evangelical church in America return to the Biblical standard of simple discipleship, not people pleasing, not loud worship sets. The gospel. Unadultered, undecorated. Jesus' words. Straight and to the point, regardless of who gets offended at the more difficult passages. That is the concern that drove this note and the poem contained in it.


So I know there are people who attend The Way who are absolutely sincere. And I know that there are some crazy good sermons preached there sometimes.But when I went with Christina last night we just felt heart broken. I believe the church is in full process of selling out to materialism and selfishness and pretty much everything the early churches of Corinth, etc, were not. The Way is just blaringly obvious.

First off, you walk in and all you see are designer clothes and pretty face. It is essentially a giant Hollister or Abercrombie ad. I felt out of place even though I looked pretty decently nice for church. Everyone was just SO pretty. It looked and felt like we were on a parade.

Then the worship music was so loud you could feel it penetrate your insides and everyone was up jumping and waving their hands. The louder the music, the more vivacious was the crowd.

The sermon was pretty good but it seemed to contradictory to talk about being sold out for Christ when everyone else looked sold out to self and appearance.

Then the band got up again and sang, "I Surrrender All." Very quietly, very gently. I stood up. Barely anyone else in the auditorium did. Then the band switched to a rock anthem with Christian lyrics and everyone was up jumping and swaying. When the chorus came around, it was the loudest ever and there were hardly any hands that WEREN'T up in the air waving around. Emotion driven. That is what the church has become. And we wonder why we lose so many young people to the world...the church is becoming like the world.

Anyway, the rest of what I thought is expressed in my poem.:

I surrender all
Softly rains down from the
Rafters with black boxes suspended
High above the distracted crowd.
No one hears the gentle claims
To Jesus’ blood and
All that is clean.

The little squares of light
From those things
That tie us to everyone but God,
A instant text,
A reply back.
She’s in the know
That Jack and Jill broke up
But does she know she’s
Hurting the God of all that
Breaking His heart?

I alone stand in a room
Filled with hundreds.
It’s not a church,
It’s a warehouse
Storing little idols,
Little rulers of all their own.
Coach, Chanel, and others
Dot their bodies like
Expensive billboards
Eulogizing what they care about.

These little idols
Alive in their pursuits
But dead in their souls.
The show.
The parade.
Jesus would not approve.
My heart.
Jesus would not be welcome here.

The band changes to a rock anthem,
Oh, wait, a rock anthem
With Christian words.
And suddenly, the dead idols
Are up, up on their teetering stilettos
And Italian leather shoes.
Up and writhing
Back in forth, reminiscent
Of a downtown club.
Dancing for Jesus?
Or dancing for self?

The beat that pulses from the drummer’s hands
Through the black boxes
Shakes my blood vessels.
I can literally feel
The vibrations go through me.
At the chorus,
The dead idols really come alive.
They raise their hands and
Rock their tight, gym-sculpted bodies.
Raising their hands to Jesus?
Or raising their hands to the band?
Jesus would not approve.

The music finally ends
And so do the softly falling tears
That do not cross my cheeks
Because the preacher preached
Or the singer sang.
They drop because
God is not here.

Now I know why I feel alone,
She says.
Because all these Christians
Look just like THEM.
Just like the world.
Just like the people that are
Out and out headed for fire.
Just like the people
That sleep around
And lie
And commit adultery.
If we lined them up,
There would be no difference between the
Dead idols and the dead souls.
Jesus would not approve.

We rush through the door
Past the kissing couples
And skinny jean legs.
The coifed men
And skanky girls.
The girl with her underwear
As her outerwear.
The boy with the medical muscles
And spray-on tan.
The boy with the earrings, tats and
Oh wait, that’s a pastor.

Jesus is crying.
Where has My church gone?
From the upstairs
To the downtown?
From the go by 2s
To go by Fifth Ave.?
From the you are My temple
To you are a playground?
From the cross
To the grave?
Jesus would not approve.

What can I do?
Who can I send?
Send me, Lord, send me.
I am not afraid to have
Their icy glares turned from
The socially unacceptable girl
3 seats over
To the equally infuriating one
Jumping from her seat
And taking over the pastor’s
Stand up there on that plastic stage.
I’ll tell them!
Hellfire and brimstone
Like John Wesley loved.
I’ll tell them!
Send me, Lord, send me.

Let me help save the dead idols
Before the smoke suffocates.
Before the fire comes.
I see it at the door!
Quick, where is the fire alarm?
The man sees my distress and says
We had it removed.
The noise irritates people.

Oh no.
No,Jesus would not approve…

April 20, 2009

"Unreasonably" Confident

I have been hard on my body lately.

I don't get enough sleep at night (long story.) I go to school full-time. Work almost full-time. And am actively competing in two sports: basketball and taekwondo. This weekend, I competed in my state's taekwondo championship. And I still hurt. Played basketball for 2+ hrs with 23 guys tonight and compounded everything.

Yes, I know. I am going too hard on my body. I get it. But something good is coming out of it. So I share it with you:

As my body breaks down, I am reminded of the shortness of life, the quickness by which the great fall, and the absolute lack of security we have that we will be alive tomorrow when the earth turns enough to let the sun's light rise over our horizons. We do not know anything except for who we have been and who we are right now.

Who we are right now is by and large dictated by our choice for or against God. If we choose against Him, it is a slippery slope into bar room brawls and backstabbing our loved ones.... If we choose for Him, it is a harder climb but worth every drop of sweat's weight in gold for the true joie de vivre we attain and understanding of what true love is -- from the Savior.

I know not why God’s wondrous grace
To me He hath made known,
Nor why, unworthy, Christ in love
Redeemed me for His own.

But I know Whom I have believed,
And am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I’ve committed
Unto Him against that day.

I know not how this saving faith
To me He did impart,
Nor how believing in His Word
Wrought peace within my heart.

But I know Whom I have believed,
And am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I’ve committed
Unto Him against that day.

I know not how the Spirit moves,
Convincing men of sin,
Revealing Jesus through the Word,
Creating faith in Him.

But I know Whom I have believed,
And am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I’ve committed
Unto Him against that day.

I know not what of good or ill
May be reserved for me,
Of weary ways or golden days,
Before His face I see.

But I know Whom I have believed,
And am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I’ve committed
Unto Him against that day.

I know not when my Lord may come,
At night or noonday fair,
Nor if I walk the vale with Him,
Or meet Him in the air.

But I know Whom I have believed,
And am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I’ve committed
Unto Him against that day.


If you haven't heard that hymn, look it up and listen to it. It is so encouraging and inspiring.

I know Whom I have believed...not myself, not vain words of man, not the twisted lies of established education, but JESUS' words. In that I can rest until He calls me home...

P.S. I know I haven't been keeping up with some of y'all's wonderful posts --- life is VERY busy. But thank you so much for your encouraging and faithful comments on my sporadic posts. They are blessings...

March 24, 2009

A Funny, Good Quote

(Seen somewhere on the www.)

"Live your life in such a way that when your feet hit the floor in the morning, Satan shudders and says, 'Oh NO! She's awake!' "

: )

Be a fighting force for God and for good in this world. There is no other way to live that does result in a wasted life.

March 18, 2009

Finding Rest Within

The past two weeks have been ... difficult. I'm not exactly sure why certain things have been happening and also I have been struggling with other things I thought were behind me.

I stopped myself yesterday and sat myself down for a long, hard "talk." I was reading my Bible and taking notes. Interestingly, the verse that flung itself out at me was, "Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good." (Romans 12:?)

Why do we find ourselves desiring something in our lives that is clearly not good for us?? Something that would even further hurt us and cause pain! That is my question. I still haven't found an answer. I don't exactly think there is one.

So my conclusion was to write down 25 good things in my life that God has given me. These are tangible expressions of God's love for me. Often, when we struggle with something inside, it clouds our vision so we can't see all the things outside us that point us in a different direction.

Also, "abhor what is evil, cling to what is good." Abhor is a strong word. Evil is the opposite of God. It is the opposite of good. It is the opposite of love. There is no other response to something like that apart from abhorrence!

When presented with evil, or others' bad choices that truly affect you, cling to what is good. GOD IS GOOD. All the time. When we struggle with something, it is because GOD wants us to struggle with it. He has a greater plan and purpose.

The woman God is making me is stronger, better and ultimately more useful to Him for going through this time in my life.

I know this sounds cliche but I'm going to say it anyway:

Today could very well be my last day on earth. Or yours. We cannot control the circumstances that face us today. But we can control the attitude (esp. the attitude of the heart) with which we face them. Do
I want to spend my "last day" sad or frustrated or depressed or (fill in the blank)? No way, Jose!

Have a JOYFUL Wednesday, all.

P.S. Just a praise! God provided a GORGEOUS new car for me so my sister could have my old one. It's a brilliant blue 2007 Honda Civic Si. Goodness. My DREAM car. 6-speed. iVTec engine. Even has my hoped for keyless entry (w/ 4-doors for all my passengers.) Oh my goodness. God is SO good.

It seems ridiculous to me I would ever allow myself to be caught up in any kind of pain over other things when God has so richly showered and filled my life with blessings.

Look around. I'll bet yours is full as well.

February 21, 2009

A Late Night Realization

Don't you love it when you're just moseying on through and suddenly a new perspective hits you like a firm pillow well-swung in a pillow fight at summer camp? That happened to me tonight so what better place to share it than my blog. Especially since everyone else is asleep, as they should be nearing midnight. Well, the cats are up but they're so unresponsive and...apathetic.

You know the verse, Philippians 4:7, that says God gives you a "peace that passes understanding." Well, I've ALWAYS thought of that verse one way: that the peace God gives us is beyond comprehension to outsiders and even to ourselves sometimes.

But it occured to me tonight that the peace God gives us surpasses the need to understand! When we get on our faces before Jesus and cry out for salvation, we are moving past our human limitations and weak, finite minds into something so much greater and broader and really...INFINITE. The things that quenched our fire and took the wind out of sails and drove us into mazes that seemed endless seem to just fade away. The things that were once of utmost importance seem of no importance at all.

When compared with the grandeur of God, the greatness of our dilemmas and confusions seem absolutely, infinitesimally small. God has taken away our tornadoes of inner and outer doubt and replaced them with doldrums that replenish, not distress.

The peace He gives us takes away the unrest our mind casts us into. And that, in itself, is incomprehensible and magnificent.

But, I go yet a step further into the "passes understanding." God not only takes away our confusion and replaces it with peace, but He, the Creator of the Universe, goes out of the way to answer our endless questions. He is so much better than an earthly father who, at the end of his patience, says, "Because I said so!" to every "Why??" God says, "Because I said me." We say, "Yes." And He often says, "Here is why I said so." Sometimes we have to wait a little while but God's reasons are always there, even if it takes time to see them, or understand them.

In the meantime, we have, from Him, a peace that truly surpasses all understanding...

I hope that encourages someone tonight. It certainly has me...

February 15, 2009

In Honor of Valentine's Day

Wait for me, and I'll return
Only wait very hard
Wait when you are filled with sorrow...
Wait in the sweltering heat
Wait when the others have stopped waiting,
Forgetting their yesterdays.

Wait even when from afar no letters come to you
Wait even when others are tired of waiting...
And when friends sit around the fire,
Drinking to my memory,
Wait, and do not hurry to drink to my memory too.

Wait. For I'll return, defying every death.
And let those who do not wait say that I was lucky.
They will never understand that in the midst of death,
You with you waiting saved me.
Only you and I know how I survived.
It's because you waited, as no one else did.

-Konstantin Simonov

I think this is just a lovely, poem. Mostly, it makes me think of how God so often in our lives, asks us to wait for Him. To wait for His leading, for His answer, for His presence, etc. To wait.

Love is laying down (or aside) your life for the other. Loving Christ means leaving your life!! All of it. To start over with whatever He gives you. Loving Christ means following Him when He moves forward and waiting for Him when He stops.

Is Christ asking you to wait for Him right now?? Is He asking for your love this Valentine's Day (a day late)?

St. Augustine said this: 'You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in You.'

Waiting for Him may look like a hard thing, but really, in that waiting, there is a greater peace than in any action found apart from Him.

Restless...until I found my rest in You...

February 11, 2009

No Matter What

...everything God puts in our lives is good. EVERYTHING.

I might have a broken foot. From taekwondo sparring. Those inexperienced 200 lb., 6'2'' yellow belts with ZERO frustrating. I only JUST recovered from a knee injury from taekwondo of December 2007. SOO frustrating.

But I'm trusting God. This, if it is broken, and tomorrow will tell, may seem like just another challenge in a challenging past few months. But this is like boot camp for the Marines! Seriously! I've decided that's the only way for me to survive my life, which is never dull and not always easy.

Every challenge is an opportunity to get closer to and stronger in God. EVERY SINGLE ONE.

This is my 2009 motto. So bring it!!!!

“Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

--1 Cor. 13:6-7

** ROCKS! Every single time I go on there to look up a verse for a post, the "verse of the day" totally fits! : )

February 03, 2009

A Borrowed Blog

This is from the blog of one of my favorite Christian artists, Tenth Avenue North. I LOVE THIS BLOG! And I don't feel I could've said this better.

So truth from a different source:

Chapter 5 Let it Go

"And avoid fear, for fear is the consequence of every lie."-Fydor Doystoevsky, (the Brothers Karamazov)
Today, this single phrase has been beating in my head like a war drum.

On the battlefield of my mind, and in the fragile chaos of my machine-like heart,this simple line has been echoing on.
Reverberating off the walls of war-torn streets,
I can faintly hear the Roman calvary choirs singing.
And for me, it sounds a lot like freedom.
This one thought, this shining flickering light is my lighthouse in a thundering sea.

Maybe not you, but I for one have been rather sick and tired of myself as of late.
And more specifically, I'm tired of the lies that I so blindly believe.

I know it may sound melodramatic, but if my heart is where my treasure is then I'm tired of this love affair I've made with doubt and the seemingly never-ending struggle in my heart.
I want you to get it. I want you to understand that if you struggle with the answersthat you're not alone. But I also want you to know the root, the cause, and the fight that's in between.


There are lies everywhere.
Blinking neon lights, and sweetly penned secrets.
A movie. A sermon. A Day after thanksgiving sale.
How quickly we forget that the things we hear and see are making an impression.
Like an empty place in the bed where a body used to lay,
they're wrapped up in the sheets, but they don't need the rest.
They can come without warning and talk for hours without a sound.
Lies tell the future, insist on interpreting the past, and seem to always keep us paralyzed to the present.
They can fill a closet with skeletons and invite monsters under the bed.
Lies are strangers in friends clothing and fill your house when you're alone.

The inevitable, unstoppable result of listening to something other than the truth.
Cousins, sisters, brothers [mothers] perhaps? I'm not exactly sure the relation
but I know that its a tie that binds.
Feed one, and you nourish the other.
Nurture a lie, and watch the panic grow.
Forget the truth and welcome anxiety.
Give up on hope, and welcome misery with open arms.

So then it should comes as no surprise that the most recurrent command in all the Bible is this:"Do not be afraid."

Easy enough right?

Well maybe it could be, but I don't think we'll ever live free of fear as long as fear itself is our problem.

Fydor reminds me. Fear is the consequence of a lie, which means, if I find in myself some irrisistible anxiety, chances are, I've welcomed a lie into my heart. And maybe I didn't exactly welcome it. Maybe I just forgot to close the door on some memory or I left the window cracked, but whatever the reason, if the lie has crept in somewhere, and has made its home where my faith has worn through, I must recognize it for what it is.

It should also come as no surprise then, that the work of God is belief.

"This is the work of God, that you believe in the one whom He has sent." Or as Jon Foreman sang, "belief over misery."

Do we understand that fear isn't something that we are meant to live with? Do we have any idea how free we would be if we could just believe? And trust me, I know. It's not easy. In fact, its the hardest work any of else will ever have to do, but its the war we were meant for. Since we're grafted into Israel as Romans says, that means we're brought in to "wrestle with God,"for that is exactly what Israel means.

So we fight to rest.

We work to stop working.

We war for peace.

We run to stand still.

Life is waiting for the ones who lose control. "taking captive every thought, and making it obedient to Christ Jesus." Take captive? Yeah. Take it freaking captive. Smack that lie in the mouth and slaughter it with truth.

Here's some fights I've had so far.

Lie: "you're too screwed up for God to love you anymore."
Truth: "God proves his love, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8)

Lie: "I've made too many poor choices. I've missed God's will for my life."
Truth: "Even what you meant for evil, God meant for good." (Gen 50:20)
"God works all things together for good for those who love God and who have been called"

Lie: "Someone might break in and kill me."
Word: "Do not fear those who can kill the body and after that can do no more. Fear him who after killing the body has the power to throw you into hell." (Luke 12:4,5)

Lie: "I'm not good enough"
Truth: "In this is love, not that we love God, but that He loved us...." (I John 4:10)

Lie: "I'm awesome. God owes me."
Truth: "God is not served by men's hands as if He needed anything..." (Acts 17:25)

Lie: OMG. Can you believe this guy? What a jerk!
Truth: "Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but with sober judgement,according the measure of faith God has given you." (Romans 12:3)

Lie: "Sex will give me the pleasure I'm looking for."
Truth: "I have no good thing apart from you." (Psalm 16:2)
"In His presence there is the fullness of joy, at his right hand are pleasures forever." (Psalm 16:11)

Lie: "God's command is going to ruin your good time."
Truth: "The thief comes to kill, steal, and destroy, but I have come to give you life,and life more abundantly." (John 10:10)

Lie: "I don't have the strength to say no to this!"
Truth: "if anyone is in Christ He is a new creation." (2 Cor 5:17)
"and He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear." (I Cor 10:13)

The war drum goes on. It never ends, it doesn't stop.

And so avoid fear, for fear is the consequence of every lie.

Belief is a fight. Work at it with all the power that God supplies.


Good right? I have nothing else to add. Except that I have fought every single one of those lies too (and conquered them by the grace of God.)

The Valleys

I don't think that the mainstream evangelical church does a very good job preparing Christians -- especially new ones -- for going through life's valleys, more specifically, the valleys in your relationship with Christ.

Let's be honest. NO ONE is "on fire" 100% of their life for Christ. "On fire" meaning that passionate "honeymoon" period of emotions and excitement that is such a huge deal to the church. Life is just so hard sometimes. If we had nothing else to do but sit around and think about Christ, read the Bible/books about Him, and listen to good classical or Christian music, maybe we would have a chance at not ever "cooling" off. But that's not realistic.

Our relationship with Christ is like a marriage. There are going to be times when you absolutely do not want to do what is best for the other person in the marriage. (Speaking not from experience, but hoping I'm correct.) But you love that person so you do it anyway. Or you know that it is best for the relationship and will help make loving them easier in the future (by laying more foundations), so you do it anyway.

That is how it is with Christ. Sometimes, the things He commands us to do are downright breathtaking. And not breathtaking like, "Wow! Look at that sunrise!" Breathtaking like you just found out one of the people you love most in the world has cancer. (Speaking from experience.) Breathtaking like someone is chasing you, with intent to kill, and the only way to escape is to jump over the cliff and hope you land in the water, not the rocks below. (Speaking not from experience.)

Those are the valleys. Well, forget valleys. Those are the Mariana Trenches in life. And most people don't usually tell you how very real those will be when you are a new Christian.

So I'll tell you .


And that is normal. What is not normal and is not okay, is following through with that desire and actually forsaking Christ for any length of time.

The good thing about valleys is that, just like they have a down-slope, they always have an up-slope. They always end.

I was reading in one of my favorite books, The Christian's Secret of a Happy Life, that everything in life (everything) is either eternal or temporary.

Satan wants us to swallow the lie that the only way out is to sell out. Jesus is there saying, "Hold My hand. Hold on. Wait. I'll carry you through. The rewards will be good. The end justifies the means."

God always has a greater purpose than we can sometimes see for any suffering He allows His saints to go through. But we won't get to see the purpose if we don't hang on and trust till the end.

Making the choice to have faith in His plan and to hold on through every up and down is what Chrisitanity is all about. Forsaking ourselves, picking up our crosses and following Him.

And that is where life can be found. Without Christ, life is just one big valley with occasional happy spots. Trust me. I'm speaking from experience.

“But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble.”
--Psalm 59:16--

February 01, 2009

"Love is Here"

This is my favorite Christian artist. I hope this touches someone, somewhere...

Thank You, Jesus, for being all I need...I'm sorry for ever wanting more...


I went to to try to find something that would encourage me and help me fall asleep because I'm having a rough time at the moment.

But this verse was on the front page:

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
--Deuteronomy 6:4-5--

Not exactly encouraging I would say, but definitely thought-provoking. All I can do is love the Lord with all that is within me. There is absolutely nothing else I can do. I cannot save anyone I love/care about. I cannot save myself. I could not take my next breath if God did not want me to. I cannot make wrongs work out for good.

I can do nothing. There is a peace in that acknowledgement. As long as we believe that we can do something, then there is pressure to do it. But when we see that we are helpless little peons that God deigns to save and empower, then we are free from that pressure -- set free in rest that it is ALL God's problem, not ours.

That is encouraging.

I can't do anything. All I can do is love God with everything in me. Even that takes His help. But that's pretty much it. So I have to rest that God IS in control! If He gives me strength to talk to someone, He's also going to have to supply the words since I cannot. Then, whatever comes of it, is His responsibility. I'm just a messenger of sorts.

But let all who take refuge in You be glad,
Let them ever sing for joy;
And may You shelter them,
That those who love Your name may exult in You.

--Psalm 5:11--

And now my head will be lifted up above my enemies around me,
And I will offer in His tent sacrifices with shouts of joy;
I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the LORD.

--Psalm 27:6--

For His anger is but for a moment,
His favor is for a lifetime;
Weeping may last for the night,
But a shout of joy comes in the morning.

--Psalm 30:5--

Here's to the morning. May it come soon...

Happy February.

January 28, 2009

Courage: Quotes That Inspire Me

The important thing is this: To be able at any moment to sacrifice what we are for what we could become.
--Charles Dubois--

I just think life is scary. We either go through life stagnant, or we jump off those cliffs and climb those mountains and face those unknown challenges behind those scary doors -- the kind that look like the gates of Mordor.

Only when we are no longer afraid do we begin to live.
--Dorothy Thompson--

I differ with you slightly, Ms. Thompson. I think that only when we decide to not let our fears rule our lives do we begin to live -- and in that, face and conquer those fears that held us back.

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.
--Eleanor Roosevelt--

Isn't this one of the most overused quotes ever? But I never hear the last part -- you must do the thing you think you cannot do. Why is that? Maybe I'm just not listening very well. Or maybe, no one wants to do those things that really freak us out and look impossible. I certainly, naturally, do not want to do those things!! But with Christ, I can face my fears and do those things with I alone truly cannot do!

The right way is not always the popular and easy way. Standing for right when it is unpopular is a true test of moral character.
--Margaret Chase Smith--

That goes with that VERY popular quote by Edmund Burke, "A man truly believes not what he recites in his creed but what he is willing to die for."

(Our) History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage (and Christ of course!), need not be lived again.
--Maya Angelou--

No comment. That's pretty clear to me.

Whatever you do, you need courage. Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising that tempt you to believe your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires some of the same courage that a soldier needs. Peace has its victories, but it takes brave men and women to win them.
--attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson--

I LOVE that!!! I want to be a brave woman!! I know I lack in so many ways -- courage especially being one of them. But I also know that in every single area that I lack, Christ is there to make up the difference if we are sold out for Him!

It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause, who at best knows achievement and who at the worst if he fails at least fails while daring greatly so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.
--Theodore Roosevelt--

If that all sounded like a lot of the same thing over and over, I'm sorry. But I needed a courage pick-me-up. It helps me to realize that I'm not as alone in my struggles as I think I am and that a lot of other people have faced similar challenges and survived and WON.

Alone, I can do nothing. But with Christ, with the faith of a mustard seed, I can move mountains!!!

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you."
--Deuteronomy 31:6--

January 23, 2009

"Who I Am Hates Who I've Been"

This is an unsual post for me. But, apart from the at-times, very rocky music, the lyrics are sooo true for me and a lot of people who have received "a second chance" from God. I hope that I will be able to extend second chances to people who have hurt me but come back with remorse.

Because God has been so merciful to me and I am so undeserving...

And I do hate who I've been. But she's gone now. A new creation remains, unrecognizable and full of light and love for/of Jesus. Praise be to Him alone.

January 22, 2009

"Save to the Uttermost"

"Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them."
-Hebrews 7:25 (KJV)-

I have many friends who have left -- some to get pregnant out of wedlock, others to drugs and alcohol, and others just the path of "self-fulfillment," which inevitably turns into a place of darkness in your soul that no one can shine a light bright enough to cast away the black emptiness.

I know because I've been there. Not even the most well-meaning friends or family can drag you out of that place. You sort of wander from thrill to thrill, outwardly happy, but inwardly dying a little more every day.

I convinced myself for a long time with excuse after excuse that yes, I was happy, and yes, this is what I am supposed to do. But you never can quite reach that itch that is so deep inside you don't even know where it is you need to scratch, that wound that is so hidden you can never find it to stop the bleeding no matter how hard you try.

It takes people different lengths of time to realize and then acknowledge they have this burning,
throbbing pain inside their core. Some people are such good liars that they never can reach that place of total honesty. But there is always something missing.

Don't believe me? Let me try another tack.

Love is supposed to be the numero uno, the most important thing in life to attain. Lennon famously sang, "Love is all we need." But is it?

50 percent of American marriages now end in divorce. 50 percent! Even the evangelical church loses half of its family units to divorce. reports that 59 percent of their survey respondents between the ages of 18 and 34 say they have recently experienced a breakup.

So if half of marriages end and well over half of the relationships in the first quarter of your adult life end, is love really all you need? All those marriages pledged to love unto death do them part. I'm fairly sure most of those relationships said, "I love you," to each other and meant it to varying degrees.

Apparently, Lennon was wrong.

So back to my original thought. If even love of a spouse or boy/girlfriend, cannot truly complete you, what can?

I contend that love of a different kind completes you. And in that, Lennon was not wrong. Love IS all we need -- the love of God and the love for God. He is the Missing Piece. If you believe He created us, then you must also believe He created us for a reason.

That reason is to find and love Him, with a superceding passion that can indeed carry you through every crevasse and canyon, over every mountain and peak, and across every raging river and impassable ocean in life.

But we will not know we need to find Him if nothing tells us we need Him. And that is where the missing piece in our hearts, the itch that is so deep we cannot reach it, and the wound that is so hidden we cannot find it, come in. WE tell ourselves we need God! God created us needing something, and that something is HIM.

If we are not open to finding Him and loving Him, then we spend our whole lives searching. Look at Brad and Angelina! They have how many kids now and they want still more?? They spend their time on so many continents no one knows where they are from one day to the next, and are so wealthy that three mansions aren't enough, but they must have one in every country they like. They appear happy and content, but their lives clearly speak otherwise. Always more,
always new, always something else.

But they are an extreme case that perhaps a lot of people can't relate to.

So I take myself -- an average girl sitting next to you at a table in the college library. The man sitting across from me thinks I'm doing my science homework. But here I am pouring out my burden to the world wide web.

Three years ago, come April, I was looking for something. From 14-18, I developed quite a few bad habits during my search, so many that even my family was despairing of bearing with me.

I was a thief.
I was a liar.
I was a control freak.
I was materialistic to an extreme.
I exaggerated.
I was a flirt.
I was self-absorbed.
I was selfish.
I was apathetic.
I was passionless, except about having fun.
I was ... lost.

How many of those characteristics can you ascribe to yourself at sometime in your life? Probably many of them. The fact is we are all like that -- really awful people under a pretty wrapping job (reality shows especially dramatize that). We are all missing some sort of chip in our physical computer. A chip that only Christ can fulfill.

So back to my friends. I worry for them and I pray for them everyday -- sometimes multiple times throughout the day. But when I start to feel as though I have to do something to save them, I've been stopping myself to look to the One who loves them even more than I do, Who wants them to be saved more than I do, and Who knows them better than even I do (and therefore knows what they must go through before they can find Him and love Him.)

I truly believe He IS ABLE TO SAVE TO THE UTTERMOST. He saved me, one of those "lost causes." I trust that anyone who comes unto Him, no matter what their background, He will save them, and keep them to life eternal.

"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened."
-Matthew 7:7-8-

January 18, 2009

Darwin's Confession

"To suppose that the eye with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree."

- Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species, p. 175.


Thought-provoking is it not? I have heard Darwin recanted of some of his theory of evolution before he died but have not read his words directly yet. I certainly plan to after reading the above quote. And challenge the rest of you to do the same.

January 15, 2009

A Conundrum

"Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you, Reprove a wise man and he will love you."
--Proverbs 9:8--
I go to a community college. All day long I am surrounded by souls. Many of whom are just slightly older high-schoolers, maturity-wise. Finding someone who is interested in truth and wisdom is...well, very very rare. I am more likely to be "scoffed" or ridiculed when I speak up, than to be received well. It is even more rare to find a teacher who, although disgustingly liberal, will respect you for standing up for what you believe.
But does that mean you don't try? Do you stand up in class and say, "That is wrong?" Or do you ignore the evolutionary propaganda and sit by quietly while your dozens of more naive, sponge-like classmates absorb the "material" because, well, the PhD in the front of the room believes it so it must be true? When you come across one of those "scoffers" Proverbs talks about, do you let it slide because they won't believe you anyway?
God did not send us to monasteries up in the Alps (yes, Alps) for a reason! He wants us to be "fishers of men."
Jesus said, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves." (Luke 10:2) Like lambs among wolves. That doesn't sound like a very good Shepherd and that also doesn't sound anything like words of the wisest man to ever live (Solomon), who counseled us to NOT reprove scoffers!
The thing is, Jesus did not send us out to harvest the fields of souls alone. He sent us with a Guardian, a Counselor -- the Holy Spirit. All we have to do is wait for the "Field Manager" to send us to our tasks!
So the "task" that started this train of thought. I was at school yesterday, standing at the computers in the library. Two guys started talking, not whispering, two computers down, about how they were going to start a video arcade/strip club not far from here. The main guy went on and on about how the local mega-church would shut them down within a month but what a month it would be! It was his friend's dream!! And what a great dream it was! To break up families, degrade men and women, and society! What a hoot!
I must admit, my head was about to explode. Steam was practically visible coming from my ears like a teapot. I was getting angrier and angrier. How dare they!! I had to do something. I felt like something inside me was pushing to get out -- to yell "perverts!" at them.
But, expectedly, my Americanized politeness/political correctness instincts fought back. No, I thought, I shouldn't. Freedom of speech and all. What if I see them around school? Etc. Etc. You can imagine my train of thought.
Unfortunately for them, I have spent the last two years trying to get rid of my Americanized politeness and fear of man's disapproval. The Holy Spirit was clearly telling me I couldn't let evil raise its ugly head without hitting it back down, like that frog-bopping game in Chucky Cheese's when I was kid.
I walked over to them as I left. "You guys are disgusting," I said firmly, detest practically dripping from my voice, looking the main guy square in the eye. Right on queue, the scoffing began. "HA!" he hooted, clapping his hands, "Our first protester!!" The other looked shocked.
I walked away, refraining from kicking him right where it hurts. I'm fiesty -- not mean, and not in a rush for an arrest warrant to show up on my record.
But I felt like the victor. I knew that I had done the right thing. I don't think it'll make a difference but at least I did not stand idly by. I was faithful to what I believe. More importantly, I was faithful to the "still, small voice" within me -- the Holy Spirit. And that is the main part. That is the part Solomon left out. If I could re-write it, it would say, "Do not reprove scoffers, UNLESS THE HOLY SPIRIT TELLS YOU TOO, but expect them to hate you anyway."
"A man truly believes, not what he recites in his creed, but what he is willing to die for."
--author forgotten--
I wasn't in any danger of dying, except maybe socially. But the concept can be broadened to that. Essentially, if you aren't willing to overturn the moneychangers' tables with Jesus, don't think walking with Him.

January 08, 2009

On my 21st Birthday

“For the message of the Cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved, it is the POWER OF GOD.”

*1 Cor. 1:18*

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.”

*Matthew 16:24-25*

I can’t say it any better than those two verses.

“For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.”

That line – I have never believed anything more truly than that line.

A Mini Testimony on my 21st Birthday:

For so long, my life was MINE. What did I want, need, desire, hope for. And guess what?

I didn’t get anything I wanted. Only pain.

I didn’t get any of the things I thought I needed. Only pain.

I didn’t fulfill any of my desires. Only pain.

I didn’t realize any of my hopes. Only pain.

I lost my life truly and fell to a place of depression I never thought I’d break free from even though I tried to be a “good girl.” But then I realized. It IS too much to do on my own. I can't keep trying -- to please God through good works, or to please myself through anything else.
I just had to decide, “Do I want Jesus and His love more than anything else? Is that going to be my lifelong desire? Or do I want to continue messing everything up?”
April 2006. Beginning of the journey. I picked up my cross, and followed Him.

And have truly found LIFE. And every day, I thank God for the “indescribable gift.”