Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Hungry Adulterers

Ok - so when 4 people in one afternoon tell you to go immediately listen to a sermon - you know its going to be good. So, yesterday - since it was storming outside, I downloaded JD's recent sermon and listened to it while walking the track inside. So so so good. If you like prayer, don't like prayer, hate to pray, love to pray, struggle to pray, want to learn more about prayer, or love Jesus - go listen to this sermon.
First point that really stood out to me was him saying something like this (don't want to say its a direct quote because I'll probably get a little non-important word wrong):
God wants us to come to Him as satisfied worshipers not hungry adulterers.

There you have it. Now, here is how it applies to me.
Usually, when I ask for something in prayer or bring it to the Lord's feet - why do I really want the things that I'm praying for? Do I think that if I get those things I will be more satisfied than I am right now. If that is the case - then I am asking for them with wrong motive (not believing that Jesus is my complete satisfaction).
John 15-17
Ps 73.23-28
So - what about me today? How has listening to this sermon prepared me to continue in praying to my good Heavenly Father. I've learned recently the importance and vitality of praying God's Word back to Him.
Especially, Ps 84.11 - This is how I word that prayer when I am praying: For you our Sovereign and my Lord. You Jesus are a sun - you give me things causing my growth and warmth, you are also my shield - protecting me from things that may be harmful to me but I may not be aware of that as of yet. You - in your own timing bestow favor and honor - mercy, you lift the humble up (which I am far from, so please work that in me according to your mercy), and I can rest assured that you will withhold no good thing from me because I find my righteousness in you and you alone. This doesn't apply only when I am living right and doing everything I am supposed to - then it would not be an act of grace - it would be based on my works. You are good, and I will rest in that."
So, if you are struggling in abiding and praying - just pick up the Word, pray through that. I learned that many years ago from my mentor - and that is how I like to pray.
So, go listen to a good sermon, pray, abide - HE IS GOOD! I love my good God, even if He always doesn't answer the way I think my prayers should be answered. He knows more than I do anyway.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Ps 73 and Rain

On days like today, I must take every though captive and remember God's faithfulness. There is no sun today, only wind and rain. I think it is supposed to be like this all day - and then really like this till the weekend. I am very big on SUN! :) Of course, I do love the sunshine state! I love it, it makes me smile and feel warm. But, on days like today, if it were possible...I would go lie down somewhere and just let the rain fall on me. I love the rain - really I do. I love walking in the rain (as long I don't have to look decent when I arrive where I am going).
But, I've already been dwelling on this Psalm this morning. Ps 73 (really 1, 23-28)
Truly God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart. Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. For behold, those who are far from you shall perish; you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you. But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all your works.
Every time I think upon this Psalm I get something new (His Word is alive and active), and I am amazed at the mercy of God. The middle part of the Psalm that I left out contains information about the ungodly. Only by God's grace am I saved - his mercy endures forever!
1. Truly God is good. He is - I can bank on it! I love the assurance that I have in that. It may not always be the good I see and want - but God is good - I know His Good is better than my good.
2. God guides me with His (good) counsel. I love that. As long as I seek the face and wisdom of God - I can't go wrong. He is so good and He guides me. I will not be led astray.
3. This is where conviction comes in - NOTHING do I desire besides my God. He is the good that I yearn for, the closeness I crave - He is all that. I presume on his grace if I let other things come in between and become a desire of mine. Lord - take those away!
4. Even on rainy days (both literally and figuratively) I dwell on this verse - the last one. It is one of my favorite in all of Scripture, and definitely of the psalms. But for me (in contrast to the unfaithful and the far and perishing), it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge (not in anything else that I can create or conjure up), that I may tell of all your works. (I really love this last part this morning - that I may TELL of all your works. It isn't mainly or necessarily for my good, or my ease, or comfort, or well-being - but primarily it is for the fame and reknown of God!)
Anyway, I hope my ramblings are good for someone besides me today.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Friends Who Remind Me

I am so thankful for friends and Scripture. I am grateful that God has given me friends here, in NC, in FL, in TX, and in my other places that remind me of God's goodness and faithfulness even when things don't always go the way you want them to go.
I love friends who say "I'm praying for you, or remember, God is good and faithful and full of mercy." Those are ones I love.
I was reminded of:
2 Cor 10.5 - We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.
Lam 3.22ff - The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,“therefore I will hope in him.” The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietlyfor the salvation of the Lord.
And again of my fave verse this past year - and continuing into this year:
Ps 84.11 - For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Heaviness of Praise

Today has definitely been an out of the ordinary day. It has been a good day, but one that has brought much heaviness to me. I don't use that word often, but it is really the only way to describe it.
Death, sickness, relationships, friend's struggles, prayer needs, sin, confession, praise - all of that is brought before the Lord.
So, I went to workout and one of the first songs I heard was by Brooklyn Tab - definitely a favorite of mine:
Total Praise - ending with Amen!
Lord, I will lift up my eyes to the hills,
knowing my help is coming from You.
Your peace You give me in time of the storm.
You are the source of my strength,

You are the strength of my life;
I lift up my hands in total praise to You

And then that brought to mind the psalm that the song comes from: Ps 121. I love it. I was able to sing the above song in Southeastern's choir and in the Summit choir - different arrangements, but with the same valuable and life-changing Words (the Word is living and active)

I will lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come? (our help comes from no other place)
My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. (He is creator)
He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. (He knows what is going on here on earth)
Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep
The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand
. (He provides comfort and stability in times of strife and unknown-ness)
The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. (What harm can come to us that He doesn't know about?)
The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. (He is the grand keeper and sustainer)
The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore. (He knows the very hours of our lives and what will happen - that is the blessing of knowing we serve a BIG GOD!)

So, sing loud - even with a heavy heart - He is still a BIG GOD!

A Homegoing

Dr. L. Russ Bush, faculty member at Southeastern, passed away last night. He had been struggling with cancer for several years now.
Truthfully, I never had Dr. Bush for a class during my time at Southeastern, nor did I have to read his book for the philosophy class I did take. is some of my thoughts based on my interaction with him.
He stood for what he believed the Truth to be. He was part of the Conservative Resurgence in the 1980s in the Southern Baptist Convention. Read Dr. Mohler's blog today for more info on that. Not many people stand firm on Truth like he did.
He loved his students. I remember being in Thailand 2 years ago and he and his wife Cindy came even though he was real sick, mainly because he wanted to see his students who were on the field.
Cindy - his wife. She was absolutely wonderful. Such a gracious, hospitable person who loved her husband, loved serving him all these many years of their marriage, and loved Jesus. Any man has to be great to have that great of a wife. Prov 31.10 - "An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels."
This morning when I received the news from Wake Forest, I was of course sad for Sarah (his asst), his wife, Cindy and their kids, and the school family. He left behind a great legacy. I still haven't figured out the hurt and pain that comes from losing one's husband after so long of sharing life together. Pray for Cindy - pray that she gets her complete strength from Jesus. But, I was so pleased that Jesus had died for Dr. Bush and His grace had redeemed him. He is now pain free and worshiping Jesus in the all-consuming presence of his Heavenly Father.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Spirit of David

I love it when you wake up in the morning with a song in your head and you have no clue how it got there? Have one of those days?
I love the group TRUTH. Roger Breland started it years ago. I heard them in high school and then I heard them at the Summit before I started going there. They were great - live band with trumpets, etc. Great harmonies. Great lyrics.
On their 25th anniversary CD there is a Spirit Medley with the song Spirit of David in it (starts out with the refrain of Majesty). That is what I was singing when I woke up, and I've been singing it and dwelling on the words all day. Here they are:

We have the Spirit of David, we have the spirit of Praise
Longing to stand in God's presence trusting in the Lord, always
Lifting our hands in the temple, a banner of worship we raise.
We have the Spirit of praise!

(That's really the little chorus).

Behold, the power of Praise! :) There is only ONE who is worthy of it - and oh so worthy He is!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Wide World of Wheaton (and Chicago)

Wheaton College has always held a sense of romance to me. Not in the normal sense, but just in a way. Many of my heroes in the faith have gone there and courted and/or married their spouse there. John and Noel Piper, Dr and Mrs. Billy Graham, Jim and Elisabeth Elliot. I wanted to go and walk around the place that they walked - see where they studied.

This weekend Ty was going to be in Chicago, so I went to Wheaton to spend the afternoon. It was about 1 degree with a -15 wind chill. Any part of my body that wasn't covered was frozen (basically my face). But - it was so fun to crunch through the snow. The campus was completely covered in snow and so were the downtown streets of Wheaton. Such a quaint town. That would be a great place to live - close enough to everything Chicago but living in the suburbs. That would be the best of both possible worlds. Living in a town like that but having the wonderful aspects of a huge city right up the street.

I went to the Billy Graham Center - what an amazing display of the gospel and the history of evangelism here in America. They've done a great job. I tried to go to the CS Lewis area, but they closed at 12 on Saturday - I got there about 12:30. Oh, well. Guess that may just mean I have to go back.

I went in the BGC and they had a small chapel. I wanted to go in there and pray, get a sense of further direction for my life. So I kneeled down in the back and was praising and confessing - then just started asking. Not very long later (such a quick answer) I heard a reply - Ps 86.11. It was kind of frustrating - because I already knew that answer, I wanted some specifics. But...I wrote down the three parts of that verse:

1. Teach me your ways O Lord - He always is teaching me through His Word - I just have to read it.

2. That I may walk in your truth - Walk is a daily always lifestyle. Truth - not fantasy, the future, lies, etc. Truth (Phil 4.8, Col 3.1-3)

3. Unite my Heart to Fear Your Name - the only glory in this life that matters is God's - the fame and glory of His name. Why do I fear man so much. God has done an amazing work in my life in the past year re: that but still I have a ways to go.

I went to the bookstore of course, found a John Ensor book on sale - all about the amazingness of the gospel.

Ty and I hung out that night after dinner with the BGC group. We found a Teavana and a Caribou. So thankful that Ty likes Caribou better than Starbucks. Then we went back to watch the Gators finish their win over KY.

It was icy on Sunday morning so I didn't venture out to Harvest Bible Chapel. I stayed in, ate some breakfast, meditated on the Word, quoting Scripture over and over in my head - meditating on truth (living out Ps 86.11), trying to live in the reality of the moment and not get ahead of God.

After Ty's conference was over - we drove around the burbs looking for a Caribou and we found one. Then I dropped her off at O'Hare (very well laid out airport to travel to), then started the trek back home. I talked to two of my girls and listened to football. At least one good team is in the Super Bowl (and I'm not referring to the undefeated one). Come on Giants!

So, what did I learn. Know the truth and fear God. I love Wheaton. Football is great. The Word is so valuable to my growth. Sleep is good. NCAA B-ball is so much fun. Chase what matters.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Theology of Snow

I am at one of the largest SBC seminaries - so of course I have to have a "theology" about everything! But, I do think it is cool that God gives us minds and allows us to have a biblical worldview on things...

This is an email I sent out this morning...

Job 37.6
For to the snow he says, ‘Fall on the earth,’ likewise to the downpour, his mighty downpour.
Is 1:18
“Come now, let us reason[1] together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.
No matter how long I live in the semi-north/north - I will never (Lord willing) lose the wonder of waking up to a white world! We were supposed to get a little bit of snow overnight, but it was definitely a good covering as you can see from some of the pictures.
I love waking up to a new fresh morning - you feel like you can start over - there is purity, cleanness, new beginning. I was walking through the quad this morning at 815 - usually pretty busy - so silent! It was so peaceful - I loved it! :)
Anyway, I love falling snow - I can just sit and stare it - never lose the wonder! :)

This was my response from my brother: (thanks for making me miss the water, bro!)
Get clean, start over, huh.
Well if I wanted to get clean and start over down in warm, balmy, breezy FL is jump in the Atlantic or Pacific Ocean, or Manatee, Fanning, White, Crystal, or Wekiva springs. Better yet I could jump in our rivers, The Suwannee, St. Johns, Indian, or Banana river. I could get in our lakes like Parker, Eola, Minihaha, Hollingsworth, or Hunter (and that's not to mention the big ones). Finally, if all else fails I can do what I am going to do tonight and get in an OUTDOOR pool and jacuzzi.
You see I'm wondering if Jesus really does live up North because ya'll can only get clean and start over in the Winter but down here we can get clean all year long:)
Have fun in the snow. I'll be thinking about you while I'm in the jacuzzi tonight.

Enjoy the pictures! One is of the campus view out of my dining room window, one of a tree I really like, one of Boyce Library, and one of Alumni Chapel. I personally have to say Binkley is prettier! :)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Discipline: The Glad Surrender - Elisabeth Elliot

This book is a perfect glimpse into the personality and speaking mind of Elisabeth Elliot. I hold her in high respect - all for the grace of God that has been poured into her life: through suffering, missions, love, work, loss, etc.
I borrowed this book - so that means I couldn't write in it, so I copied down some of the quotes that I really enjoyed in it (enjoyed is a term I use "sarcastically" when it comes to discipline).
Before I started reading it today, I wrote at the top of my paper "conviction without repentance". I asked a friend what that leads to - but I answered my own question: a heart of stone. That is not something I want. Lord - give me a heart of flesh as only you can do.
She did an overview then hit on a sampling of areas of discipline we needed:
"They were furious at Moses for getting them into this mess." - p 35 - Speaking of the Israelites as they wandered through the wilderness before entering into the Promised Land. We are the only ones who get ourselves into sin - no one else. Sin is our choice.
"When the will of man acts in accord with the will of God - that is faith. When the will of man acts in opposition to the will of God, that is unbelief." p 36
"He knows what he is doing, and all you need to do is follow directions. You do not rebel at his telling you what to do. you are glad to be told. He knows more than you do, knows the best way to accomplish what you want to accomplish. You are sure you will be better off with Him than without Him, happier by obeying than by disobeying." 38
"His timing is always perfect, though it seldom seems it at the time, for my temperament longs for a preview of the coming attractions." p 101 - Oh, this is oft where I live, but I'm trying to live more in Hab 2.2-4 - waiting.
For me, I love books. I do lend them out, but I would love to get them back. Sometimes I don't. Sometimes I get upset and try to fuss with the person to give them back. But, recently, I've realized (that along with all my stuff) - they are the Lord's. And the other person might need the book (or whatever) more than I do.
"It is the one for whom a job is done who gives it meaning" p 131 I know she is meaning that we must work for the glory of God in all we do. But, I also love the men I work for. They are great and humble men of God. That is the main reason why I love my job!
This is also a place I struggle with. But, I loved this quote
"Discipline feelings, not get rid of them. Rather bring them under control" - p 147
"What I ought to do and what I feel like doing are seldom the same thing." - p 149
"It is a good thing, it seems to me, to learn to do with less." p 47
"To offer my body to the Lord as a living sacrifice includes my unfulfilled longings." p 54
"A simple and orderly life represents a clean and orderly mind." - p 57
"The Holy Spirit re-minded me." p 67 - How we need our minds to be reprogrammed out of the world.
"On masculinity and femininity, how many discussions about roles, equality, and personhood would grind to a halt if sexuality were seen not as a biological question but as a theological one, a glorious mystery of two complementary beings who bear the image of the invisible God." p 72
Dr. Patterson would always tell us that we must call professors at Southeastern as Doctors (if they had one). She talks about honor and respect in this. Before I read the chapter I couldn't figure out what she meant by place, but now I know.
"The submissiveness of a wife to her husband is the appropriate form of honor that she pays him." p 88 Immediately, in my flesh, I thought - yeah - if he deserves it. But, then that is how the world thinks to - we must think differently. The Bible doesn't say respect your husband if he is worthy of respect. No, it says wives, respect your husband. Now, the Bible also tells us to be mindful of the men we choose to marry. I want a man who I can respect. I love working for men I respect. I love having men in my life who I respect. Thank you for showing me what it means to respect. May God so grant.

This book is a tough one to read if one reads it with a pliable heart. This is Elisabeth Elliot in some of her finest work.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Ruth - Iain Duguid (Reformed Expository Commentary)

I love the book of Ruth. It is only 4 chapters long but packed full of so much history, powerful life changing testimony, provision, redemption, etc.
I found this book on the Girltalk blog (click link over on the right) and finally decided to read it. I have taught a women's weekend on Ruth at Kasey's church - but "gleaned" even more from reading this commentary. I don't think you can ever read Scripture and not get something out of it - that is the Power of the Spirit working in a believer's life.
So, here are my highlighted things in this book:
"It is the grace of God, which directs the outcomes of those decisions and events according to His sovereignty and good purpose for his people. The grace of God is always the defining element of our lives." p 130 That has been so true for me the past year especially as I've seen much of God's grace woven through everything that has happened in 2007.
"Very often in those defining moments in life where we get to direct our own future, the factors that weigh most heavily in our decisions are those that seem most likely to provide us with comfort and security. The bottom line in our lives is rarely God's will, as it is revealed in his Word, especially if it seems to cut directly across our best prospects for happiness and success." p 133 I don't think the author is saying here that we can't be happy and successful in the center of God's will. But, I do think he is saying that often we look for the happy route - and that may not be God's plan.
"Somehow, it seems easier to bear the pain of continued emptiness than to confess our pursuit of fullness in the wrong place." p 134. Naomi and her (now dead) husband had left God's country in search of food - leaving His provision and His design. Then Naomi had to return, but she was still bitter. Wonder if she ever really realized that she had gone searching for food where food wasn't meant to be found. I often find things in this life to bring my pleasure and happiness - maybe or maybe not realizing that I am trying to find my happiness in something other than the Only One who has said that He will give is (Ps 16.11)
"When we stop believing in God's goodness and give ourselves over to doubt and worry, we easily sink into a despairing inactivity." p 157 God's goodness is overwhelming. I like to ponder on it - whether enjoying his creation, a good book, anything He gives me that displays that - His grace. But, often times, we I get distracted by the ways that I don't see God providing (in my selfishness) then I tend to only think about myself. Ruth, I don't think, thought about herself one time in this book. She was humble (think Phyllis), industrious (think Patty and Angela), obedient (MG), willing (Elizabeth) - all the things that are found in the P31 woman. And, tidbit, the book of Ruth is alongside P31 in the Hebrew text.
"If God has faithfully provided so abundantly for Ruth's need of food, will he not also supply her needs in this other area?" - p 164 This was also very convicting me as I've thought back over the last few years. I remember a conversation with one of my pastors that went something like this: "well, He gave me salvation, I guess I can't expect much more because I really didn't even deserve that." - HOW WRONG IS THAT! That is so wrong in thinking - and ultimately I'm thinking more about myself in that statement than I am thinking about the glory of God. He gets glory when He gives good things to His children. I'm so thankful that He does!
"The temptation is real for us to doubt his good provision for our needs and to look to ourselves or to others to provide for us." p 167 Had another conversation with another pastor about lessons I had learned (since leaving Durham). This could almost wrap up all those lessons in one sentence. Thanks be to a gracious God that I am on the other side of that learning time. Not that I have learned it all yet, but God is so faithful to His daughter!
"In the cartoon movie, Antz, most of the action follows the small-scale life of a neurotic worker ant in his quest to win the love of a princess ant. But as the movie ends, the camera pans outward to show the audience that the narrower action has been taking place in Central Park in the heart of New York. Thus we are invited to consider the parallels between the lives of the ants in the movie and the lives of the real people around them." p 186 This is how the inerrancy and perfectness of Scripture is so real to us. Not only is this story just a story, but it is a real way that we can learn and hear testimony of God's faithfulness and goodness. So - we can take the learnings of Ruth and Naomi and glean that the God of the Israelites is our True and Faithful, never-changing God today.

The Gospel and Personal Evangelism

This is Mark Dever's latest book. He is the pastor of a church in DC (one of my favorite cities). This has been an easy to read book - but a highly convicting book, as I know I don't "do evangelism" like I should.
A friend of mine who was a missionary in East Asia once told me "you know, witnessing on the field as a missionary isn't always either. Unless we make it a discipline, a priority, we'll get into the same rut of not doing it as we do in the States". And the reason I like Don Whitney's Disciplines book more than Richard Foster's is because a discipline he includes is evangelism.
Chapter and thoughts:
1. Why We Don't Evangelize? Dr. Dever starts right out with a convicting chapter of asking his readers questions on why we don't evangelize. Do we really love ourselves that much - and hate others? Are we lazy? Do we not want to be rejected? All these are reasonable excuses - but they are just that - excuses.
2. What is the Gospel? Most Christians could probably give some form of the gospel - but they usually leave something out. God is love - but He is also just and a punisher of sin. Jesus wants to be our friend - yes, He does - but He also wants to be our Lord and King.
"For us to think that we can disregard Him sometimes, to set aside His way when it suits us - is to show that we haven't understood the nature of relationship at all." - p 34
"Do you see the reasons that all of these wrongs are so tragic? These sins are committed against a perfect, holy, loving God and they are committed by creatures made in His image." - p 35
"We must come to grips with the fact that we are unable to satisfy God's demands on us, no matter how normally we try to live." - p 41
3. Who Should Evangelize? This one's easy - ALL!
4. How Should We Evangelize? We make the gospel too easy sometimes. It is a costly gospel. Yes, it is free - but costly.
"Its beginning to value Jesus more than your immediate pleasure" - p 57
Acts 3.19-20a is a favorite verse of mine I started using going out on Doulos visitations while at Southeastern. It talks about repenting and how that will bring times of refreshment from the Lord. Such powerful verses to those who lives in the bondage of sin.
5. What Isn't Evangelism?
"In biblical evangelism, we don't impose anything. In fact, we really can't. According to the Bible, evangelism is simply telling the good news. Its not making sure that the other person responds to it correctly. I wish we could, but according to the Bible, this is not something we can do. According to the Bible, the fruit from evangelism comes from God." p 70
6. What Should We Do After We Evangelize?
"Wait is another form of no." - p 86 That's what I was thinking as I was reading about the undecideds and the waits. They are still rejections of the gospel. Maybe not forever - God can still draw them to Himself. But, at that moment - they are rejecting the gospel.
If they "accept" - bring them into church. He says to give them "family privileges and family responsibility." No one needs to just attend church. Just like every family member has chores at home: it is my Dad's job to take out the trash every time it gets full - that's just understood (if he is home). Same way with being a member of a local body. We all have responsibilities. One of JD and Danny's favorite quotes is about the church being like a football team - 80000 people who are desperately in need of exercise watching 12 men in desperate need of rest. Meaning - the church is usually lopsided in its allocation of responsibilities.
7. Why Should We Evangelize?
"You could have a selfish motive for evangelism." p 95 I think this is what often occurs for me. Why did I always go on Doulos meetings? Why did I get my 10 gospel presentations out of the way in evangelism class in seminary? Was it because I knew that people who don't know the gospel were going to spend an eternity in hell and have a joyless life? Not usually. It was because I wanted to look spiritual, or get an A on the assignment for Doc's class. Our motive should be to introduce other's to Jesus and to love Jesus (to be obedient to Him). Not to make ourselves look better.

Such a fantastic book. Very easy and quick read - but also one that needs time to meditate on. I think it would be a great one for beginner's in their faith as they learn how to share the gospel. Enjoy it.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Sunday thoughts

These are my Sunday thoughts. I love no matter what church you go to (as long as it is a Bible-believing church) - you can get TRUTH. Whether it is in the songs or the preaching - Truth is found because Jesus is exalted.
These are just some of mine today:
Proverbs 3.1-8. We often only hear and like 5,6 because those are the "feel good" verses. But, take a look at the whole section:
My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you. Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.

Here are the commands in these verses:

1. Don't forget my teaching
2. Keep my commandments (even in your heart)
3. Don't forsake love and faithfulness (only God's perfect love is steadfast)
4. Live by those things found in #3.
5. Trust in the Lord - with everything you are.
6. Don't think you know it all.
7. Acknowledge God in everything - on every decision.
8. Don't think you are wise in and of yourself.
9. Fear the Lord
10. Turn away from evil.

Now - here are the promises:

1. Your days will prosper and you will have peace. I often think of this promise and how it applied to people like Jim Elliot and his 4 friends? I know the Word of the Lord to be true.
2. Favor and good will be to you from both God and man.
3. We will have straight paths (not like the Rascal Flatts song - God Bless the Broken Road)
4. This will be healing and refreshment to us. How sin often weighs us down and makes us miserable.

Habakkuk 2.2-4 (Pastor Bill has been in Habakkuk) I loved this verse - reading it this morning before church - on patience and the faithful:
And the Lord answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay. Behold, his soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him, but the righteous shall live by his faith"

God - create in me a patient heart - one who wants your best and nothing less. Let me live by faith and not by my own hand or thoughts. Give me the vision you want for my life: let me wait for it - patiently - pursuing You, faithfully.

Two songs:

There is a line in Before the Throne of God Above that smacked me across the face this morning: "Because the sinless Savior died my sinful soul is counted free For God the Just is satisfied to look on Him and pardon me To look on Him and pardon me." God saw - in His infinite wisdom and power - that Jesus should take my place. I need never to be enslaved to sin again - I am free and saved and bent for eternal life of praising the Risen Jesus - because God looked upon the perfect sinless Son to take my place. Amazing...and found in no other world religion. As JD says it - "Christianity is not D-O, it is D-O-N-E."

Then, one that is on the radio, sung by a friend of mine from high school:

"All Because of Jesus" - Fee - you can click here and watch him lead the song at 722 in North Atlanta. I loved this guy in high school - he was so nice and sincere and a friend - and I love seeing how our Big God is using his gifts to draw people to Himself.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Saturdays are made for this...(and other things I'm sure)

Oh, there are so many reasons...
1. I can get up when I want to. Although this morning I woke up before 6, but didn't make it out of bed till about 830.
2. I don't have to be at work. I remember back in the day working at CapFit and not knowing if I would be called in to deal with something or other (the joys of being a mgr). I love being able to leave my work at Friday afternoon - whenever I get off - and not pick it up again until Monday morning.
3. Beautiful weather. God granted me much grace today by letting it be slightly warmer (about 50) than it has been all week and plenty of Florida Sunshine! I went out with my Bible - read Psalm 84 - another staple - journaled till my pen ran out of ink - then I just laid down in the grass, covered my eyes with my Bucs skicap - and listened to music. Oh, I could have so fallen asleep out there! It was wonderful.
4. Movies and reading. Inside - these are my two fave ways to relax. I have had two movies on today and will probably catch another one and have finished a Francine Rivers book on the life of Tamar. So good. I love mindless activities -or ones that allow for multi-tasking!
5. A day to cook. I've got all my meals done for the week. I've got leftover chicken salad from yesterday. Then today I made some chicken and rice and veggie soup (its simmering away on the stove right now) and had some beans and ham going in the crockpot all day. The apt smells wonderful!
6. Football. I won't be able to say this much longer as we are in the home stretch of the season. I don't even get the channels for the playoffs, so I'm having to watch the gamecast on espn and glad that the Pack have gotten their act together. Will hope the Jags can pull off a huge upset tonight!

I'll leave you with this, as I read what a friend sent me last night: on these verses brought to mind by the song: (Ps 84) - I love the new version of this song I got today: Kutless

How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts! My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the Lord;my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God. O Lord of hosts, my King and my God. Blessed are those who dwell in your house, ever singing your praise! Selah Blessed are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion. O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer; give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah Behold our shield, O God; look on the face of your anointed! For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness. For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. O Lord of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Nevertheless...but for me

As I just told a co-worker: for as much as I get out of Scripture when I do read it - how sweet it is to me, how filling - you think I would do it more often!
Anyway...Ps 73 - no matter where I am, what I'm struggling with - it is always an answer. The presence of God.

Ps 73.1, 21-22, 23-26, 28
"Truly God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart. When my soul was embittered, when I was pricked in heart, I was brutish and ignorant; I was like a beast toward you. Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength (rock) of my heart and my portion forever. But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all your works."

Rom 5 comes to mind - when I was still a sinner - God in HIS infinite wisdom, grace, and mercy - died for me.
JD talks about rocks - you've gotta have the big rocks in your life. This word in v 26 says that God is the rock of my heart - he is the big, most important thing.
BUT FOR ME - it is good to be near God - to hear his heart beating, to know His words, to delight in things that delight Him.

I love Ps 73!


I am so grateful for my Christmas present this year: an iPod dock. I listen to music all the time and it helps fill a void since I only get two channels on the tv. I loved being in the Robshaw house and hearing worship music everywhere - because they had one. So, that is definitely what a want for my apt, house, for my kids to grow up listening to: worship music. It is so crucial to my walk with God. And I thoroughly look forward to my walks now because I take my iPod to go and worship while I walk. Its an amazing time! :) Being in God's creation for about 90 minutes a day and singing songs to Him and for Him.
Here are some lyrics that have meant a lot to me recently:
Jesus Lover of my Soul: (Hillsong) - you've taken me from the miry clay (but he loved me even when I was in that miry clay - sin).
Vision of You (Shanes): Come meet us, King Jesus. Oh wind of change blow through this temple. Sweet spirit of God, come and mend our hearts. For all we have are songs. Unless you come. Awaken what's inside of me. Tune my heart to all You are in me. Even though you're here, God come. May the vision of You be the death of me.and even though You've given everything. Jesus come!
Bad Days Better (Shanes): You have made my day. Even in stormy weather. I'm dancing in all the rain. Cause you make bad days ~~ great is the way. When you come to mind, I am smiling ear to ear. Sweet thoughts of you. I'm always in the mood to twirl around with you while it's raining. Even if it's a dream. You have made my day. Even in stormy weather. I'm dancing in all the rain. Cause you make bad days ~(better)

This is one of the reasons I listen to music with strong lyrics. The lyrics in songs nowadays speaks much of theology, worldview, etc. What do the lyrics you listen to say about you? and/or your God?

Happy Listening!

Monday, January 07, 2008

Mirrors of grace

I don't know if I really like mirrors. Of course I want to know what I look like - but sometimes I don't. Girls struggle so much with their outward appearance, and I am definitely no different.

But, I was reading Valley of Vision tonight and a line in their said we need to be "mirrors of his grace". So, I looked up mirrors.

Mirrors are basically light reflectors. That's it. Ok - so there is so more science stuff squeezed in there, but basically - light reflectors. Easy.

So - we are to be mirrors - or light reflectors - of the grace of God. This is to others. What do others see when they look at me - do they see me reflecting the grace, mercy, and love of Jesus - or do they see someone who is wrapped in themselves, the world, etc.

I want to reflect LIGHT!

31 Fantastic Things about this weekend

So, in honor of turning 31 on Friday, I thought I would give you 31 things (try to make them in order)
1. The helpfulness of the Southwest ticket lady at SDF in allowing me to fly to FL and to NC in one day!
2. The beauty of NC tags everywhere!
3. A scone from the Wake Forest Tea Room with Christina and tea - just talk and tea with a fantabulous friend who celebrated a bday yesterday!
4. 6 degree of separation with the lady who did my hair - Kathleen Cox - we knew so many people - and I love someone who does a great job on my hair! Thank you Kathleen - and Casey for always doing a fantastic job!
5. Seeing new babies - Ryah Lane and Hudson Christopher! Cute babies! :) Hopefully will grow up, love Jesus, and radically impact the world for HIS FAME!
6. My wonderful chiropractor who fits me in even though I'm 8 hours late for my appt and he does an incredible job. If you live in the RDU area and need a chiro - call Dr. Brian Adams at Family Wellness Chiropractor. It is on 401/Capitol in the David's Bridal shopping center. He's great. Been going to him for 6 years!
7. My bestest friend - Rachael - an amazing friend, cook, everything. She made an incredible meal of roasted lemon and thyme chicken, homemade stuffing, cranberry almond salad, glazed carrots, then homemade peppermint ice cream and hot chocolate for dessert. But not only that - she had invited Sarah - oh, man what a great, relaxing b-day night!
8. Gidget - fun, clean movies that you can just laugh through and watch over and over again. Moondoggie - I mean, who can beat him! :)
9. Walmart being open at 5a on a Saturday. I had to drop Rach off at the airport so she could go reach Mexico for Jesus - so I went to Walmart, then came back and slept.
10. Carolina Cafe - It was a rotating table. I got to see precious Maggie and Stephanie, Kristin, Rebecca, Meredith, Kevin. It was fun getting to see so many people at once!
11. Ah, behold downtown Durham. It is hard enough getting there and not getting lost when I've lived there for 3 years, much less having been gone. But, that why following I Heart Durham stickered cars help! All going to the same wedding.
12. Weddings - so gospel centered. Congrats to Brad and Jena-Marie. But, I got to sit with Kasey and enjoyed having a "date", got to talk to Matt and Mary - who just got married - I love them - got to see many people from the Summit and people I haven't seen in a while - and got to briefly talk with the groom.
13. Talking with Kasey - I wish I could do that for a long time, but she had to go be her husband's date at the reception.
14. Dinner (of trying foi gras, escargot, frie oysters, chestnut souffle with mandarin orange creme anglaise) with Claudie at Nana's in Durham. Such a treat. Trying new things - loving the souffle but being too full to eat all of it - wish I could have saved room for it! :) Just sitting and relaxing and talking with her - which is another person I could talk to for a while!
15. Starbucks' couches so I can sit and talk to Erin. I think we have talked more in the last year then we did the year we lived together. You know - some people aren't meant to live together - but I love her - and am so thankful for her friendship over the past 3 years. She is another amazing girl who is going to love Jesus and change the world either through nursing or missions or both!
16. Seeing David at the Creek. David Sims is an amazing friend and pastor who I go to for so much advice. It is always good hearing him preach. He's been a friend through so much that God has taken me through the last 8 years.
17. The worship at the Summit Church - technically - the musical part of worship. Chris Gaynor has got to be the most amazing lead worshipper in any church I've ever been a part of. Walks through Scripture - worships like no one else is watching him. Great songs, all through Ps 24. The last song we sang was "As We Worship You" - talking about how the lost, lonely, nations, etc will see Jesus because we worship HIM. But, how true is that of most churches? There was more freedom and spirit of worship in Brad's wedding then there are in most churches in America. Sunday was a true blessing to me - a bittersweet amazing time of incredible, free, Word-driven worship. Thanks Mr. Gaynor.
18. I looked back after original post and realized I skipped a few!
19. The beautiful weather in NC this weekend was a blessing. Did God really create a Carolina blue sky?
20. Black and white and pink polka dotted wrapping paper - all signs of a Laura gift. It was so much fun!
21. Being prayed for by people - like Jackie Gaynor, or Mrs. McDougald - Laura's MIL. And the Bacons and friends - prayer works! :)
22. Having to miss a family b-day dinner for T in Orlando, but having technology so I could call in and "join them" in Spirit
23. Seeing and hearing people who have such an amazing Gift of reaching people with the gospel (engaging the culture) and doing it w.o compromising the MAIN focus of the gospel. Wishing and hoping that maybe one day I'll have that amazing love for the lost and the urge to share with them the gospel. So convicting.
24. Rocky Mountain Apples - such a small blessing in life! :)
25. Seeing Jackie Gaynor - Chris' mom. Many answers to health prayers and just getting to see an amazing woman of God who loves Him and prays so much for people she knows.
26. Going to lunch with the Bacons. I love them. Talked to J-A about Indo and her experience there. Loved just being around Bob and Clarissa - such amazing people to me. Thanks for hanging out with me for lunch guys! :) I love you.
27. Talking with Laura and Danny on the phone. Even though I didn't get to see Laura at all, I did get to talk with her - and I got to talk to DSL boy on Sunday - but after all - it was a crazy day - so talking with him later. Thanks so much for both of your friendships over the years!
28. Empty planes where I can stretch out and go to sleep on planes. So thankful we got in earlier than scheduled and I was able to sleep some.
29. Rom 5.5 - "hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." - I love this verse! :) This gives me the ability to live by grace and walk in the Spirit (so I will not gratify the desires of the flesh).
30. Ps 24.3-5 "Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully. He will receive blessing from the Lord and righteousness from the God of his salvation. - JD touched on this one before Tyler preached. Our inability gives way for His wonderful grace and ability to be poured out onto my life - so I can reap the blessing of HIS presence!
31. So glad for my life - the grace that He has bestowed. 30 and 2007 was a very hard year - learning so much about my relationship/idolatry with people and how that took its toll on my relationship with God - and then also what He is teaching me about myself and His grace and His blessing. I want to know HIM! I want to bless Him and in return (due only to HIM) receive blessings from Him!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Choosing to Worship

Hand it to James Mac to bring out other portions of the Word that are convicting - just like Savior King was last night.
Ps 34.1-3
If we are going to be worshippers - we must choose to worship.
I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul makes its boast in the Lord; let the humble hear and be glad. Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together!
I may not have a place with passionate extended meaningful worship - but...
I must choose to worship: to bless, praise continually, boast in humility, magnify, and exalt. Not things but the Good God who knows exactly what we need and enables us to worship Him.
But, then he goes on to talk about how some of us come in to worship and we sit with our hands folded and say "I worship with my life." This verse says I will bless the Lord at all times - His praise shall continually by MY MOUTH. SHALL be there. His praise will come out of my mouth - willful worship as he is talking about right now.
So, I can choose to go into worship services here in Louisville and be mad that people don't know how to worship, or its not what I like or am used to, or I can choose to worship the God who is the same in all these cities, church, services, etc.
It is a willful worship, evident of a heart that is overflowing with grace and love for Him.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Savior King

One of the things I have missed most since my move to Louisville has been deep, passionate, incredible worship. I'm not talking about contemporary worship. I'm not talking about "no hymns allowed". I'm talking about worship that doesn't allow for distractions, that makes you just want to stand with your arms held out giving your voice and life to God, lifting up your voice raised. That is what I miss. That can come in a sermon or in the music part of worship. Worship that presses you closer into the heart of the Father - makes you just want to do nothing else all day - makes you wanna go open the Word and dwell there. Man - that kinda of worship.
Now, I look so forward to my walks - even in 20 degree weather (like today). Today was a quick jaunt around Seneca park, but I got to hear "Savior King" by Hillsong United. If you haven't downloaded it onto iTunes or whatever you listen to - please stop reading this blog and go download it. It is amazing.
And I write this blog in honor of one of the most amazing men in my life: Mr. Robshaw. Most of you know about Mrs. Robshaw (Phyllis), but little is known about Billy. I love this man like he was my own father (not taking anything away from my own Dad, I love you). Billy - you are one of the most humble, loving, kind, generous, wise, worshipful, prayerful, Spirit-led, meek, fun, amazing, Godly men I know. I thank you for being a model for me of what a godly husband and father and man of God should be. All because of Jesus -right?!
Anyway - here are my thoughts on the song:
Let now the weak say I have strength (2 Cor 12.9; 13.3)
By the Spirit of power that raised Christ from the dead (2 Cor 13.4; the same God who raised Jesus from the dead is living and breathing in us - amazing isn't it - do our lives reflect it?)
And now the poor stand and confess (Luke 4.18; 6.20; 2 Cor 6.10; 8.9 - we can come before the Rich King of the Universe and confess. Not only give praise but confess. Has that ever really made sense to you - that the King of Kings would listen to our confessions - and forgive us?)
That my portion is Him and I'm more than blessed (Ps 16.5; 73.26 - I don't need anything more. I could live without getting another thing and be completely satisfied. Oh Jesus, take away my materialism and my desire for stuff - help me to continue to live in a spirit of giving and surrender - knowing you are my portion.)
Let now our hearts burn with a flame (right now my shins are burning from shin splints because I was walking so far with it about 19 degrees and the wind blowing, but does my heart and mind burn like that when I stand in the presence of God, read his Word, talk about Him, worship Him?)
A fire consuming all for Your Son's holy name (is there no other passion in my life rather than Jesus and His name and fame spread throughout all the earth?)
And with the heavens we declare You are our King (I remember a JD sermon on Worship on Display and he was talking about the trees clapping their hands in worship to their Creator. He said that people don't think we should clap our hands in worship. He laughingly said "you better not tell the trees that!" Do we think about the heavens declaring His worth? I do, honestly. That is one of the main reasons I love creation and being outside and the beach and the mountains, hurricanes, thunderstorms, snow, sunsets, sunrises - all amazing creations that God brings us to declare His Worth!)
We love You Lord, we worship You
You are our God, You alone are good - (He alone is good - amazingly good - not just slightly good - but so good, indescribably good - to us, children who scorn Him, crucify Him, mock Him, deny Him - yet, He is still unwaveringly good to us - yet I complain?! What?)
Let now Your church shine as the bride (Would people walk into our churches and see that we are ablaze for God and His glory? Would they see that we love who we are singing about? Most of the time in most of our churches anyone would walk in and be completely bored. Worship shouldn't be boring! I long for heaven - where the worship won't be boring! Praise Jesus - He is the center!)
That You saw in your heart as You offered up Your life
Let now the lost be welcomed home
By the saved and redeemed those adopted as Your own (you call me your own, I am adopted as a daughter of the King! Thank you Abba Father)
You asked your Son to carry this
The heavy cross our weight of sin (My sin - the weight of sin - in exchange for the weight of his glory).
I love You Lord, I worship You
Hope which was lost, now stands renewed
I give my life to honor this
The love of Christ, the Savior King (This is where my hope lies - praise you Jesus! Let me die to my life, my wants, wishes, hopes, desires - to do one thing and one thing only - honor you in every act of my being and in every beat of my life).

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Things that bring me joy and excitement!

I really do find joy and excitement and peace in the little things in life. I'm not "that" hard to please! Just look at stuff in the last two days:

1. The excitement when UF scores a touchdown. Ok, so they may not have won because they need to work on their Defense for Charlie Strong in the off season and maybe recruit some new offensive line guys to guard against the blitz - but they still scored and it is exciting! Chomp!
2. Simple foods - like oreos and milk. I love to bake desserts and love fancy desserts, but nothing, and I do mean nothing, beats a glass of milk with a package of oreos. Ok - a close second and third are a dulce le leche cheesecake from Cheesecake Factory and any strawberry shortcake from the Strawberry Festival in Plant City.
3. The exciting thing that happens in me when I see one single flurry coming down. Being raised in FL and not getting to see snow that often - I love snow when it is falling. I love the whiteness of the world after there is a dusting. It is so crisp and cozy and warm - ok, the warm part I don't know about. There is an unknown factor - will we get a lot or a little - who knows. But, it is fun!
4. The rush of exercising and being energized by it. This is just random stuff like I said at the beginning. But, doing squats and toe touch kicks bring a great rush of "I can do this" and empowerment!
5. The smell of black eyed peas cooking on the stove. My Dad found a great recipe in a Southern Living cookbook so long ago and he's been making the New Years Special every year since. I have now made it myself for at least 2 years now. I love the smell - it makes me feel like I am at home - in the SOUTH. If I have to live in a "northern" city - I have to bring comforts of the south with me.
6. Sitting around a table full of friends and being entertained by stories and a 6 year old with an active imagination. The simple pleasures! I don't need any big party or loud music.
7. The weather. The rain and wind last night were amazing. Just because I know who is in charge of it and it brings me pleasure to know that He is charge but He brings us the weather for our enjoyment and His glory!
8. Friends who know, love, and understand me. Who I can be real with and don't judge me. They challenge me of course - but love me!
9. The possibility of a New Year. I've had so many friends who have had amazing things change their lives in the span of a year.
10. My parents. This is their 33 wedding anniversary. Much of God's grace I've seen worked out!
11. My sister in law brings me much joy. Her laugh, compassion for other, realness, I love having a sister. Thanks Alan for marrying her!
12. Good movies - my way to chill and do nothing. Pop in a movie! :)
13. The world. I love it, traveling, seeing new cultures, new sites, smells, peoples, experiences, planes. God gave us all of it. He wants His fame spread throughout it. Let's go! Why do plane tickets have to be so expensive?

OK - those are so many things - but see. God really is a good Father who rains down gifts to us - gifts for our good (ok, oreos in moderation coupled with exercise) - for His Glory.

Happy 08!