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 so...trust 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, lovely...love 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 control...so 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

**BibleGateway.com 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 BibleGateway.com 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.