Saturday, December 31, 2011

Love Came Down

Everyone probably knows by now how I feel about Kari Jobe. She worships. It just drips from her voice. People tell me about hearing her for the first time and they say, wow you really can hear the worship. Being the fan that I am, I follow her on facebook. Recently, she recommended Bethel Live's album "Be Lifted Up", saying that it brought the presence of God so strongly that it moved her to tears within seconds of having it on. Of course, I had to check it out. I can't resist His presence!

Breathtaking doesn't even cover it. Honestly swept off my feet by the very real presence of my Savior. I was crying before I even realized what the lyrics were. So, so beautiful.

I remind myself of all that You’ve done
And the life I have because Your Son

Love came down and rescued me
Love came down and set me free
I am Yours I am forever Yours
Mountain high or valley low
I sing out remind my soul
I am Yours I am forever Yours

Love came down in Jesus to show us what He really feels for us, and to give us the gift of His eternal presence!

Honor and majesty are [found] in His presence; strength and joy are [found] in His sanctuary. 1 Chronicles 16: 27

You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Psalm 16: 11

Be silent in the presence of the Lord GOD; For the day of the LORD is at hand, for the LORD has prepared a sacrifice; He has invited His guests. Zephaniah 1: 7

Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4:21-24

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Anger to Peace

Pour out your heart like water before the Lord
This phrase from Lamentations 2:19 caught my eye as I was going through old journals. There's something so simple and so pure about it, something so intimate and precious.

Today as I did that, I realized I was angry. It takes a lot to evoke this feeling from me. I was trying to thank God in all circumstances, even (especially) the unpleasant ones, and do you know what, I just didn't feel like it. I threw my Bible back onto my bed, and said, "Lord, I don't know what's going on right now. And I know I'm supposed to thank You in this situation, but I really don't feel like it"

I've been reading through Isaiah, and the Lord gently reminded me of some of what I've been learning.

One of my very favorite verses says:
"For the mountains shall depart
And the hills be removed,
But My kindness shall not depart from you,
Nor shall My covenant of peace be removed,”
Says the LORD, who has mercy on you.
Isaiah 54:10

And just this morning I read,
In all their affliction He was afflicted,
And the Angel of His Presence saved them;
In His love and in His pity He redeemed them;
And He bore them and carried them
All the days of old.
Isaiah 63:9

There's so much wealth in these verses. It brings a new spirit to my heart. His covenant of peace shall not be removed from me; He carries me. So even though there's too much going on for me to handle, I can't be angry. His promises are just too wonderful.

Therefore now you have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you. John 16:22

And I will wait on the Lord, who hides His face from the house of Jacob; and I will hope in Him. Isaiah 8:17

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Joy To The World

Well it's Christmas, kids. And although my home life is in shambles, I have to believe that God has a plan in all of this. If nothing else, it's pulled me so much closer into His arms. Because right now, I literally have no joy but that which I have in Christ. Today is truly a test to see if God is enough for me.

And while I wish that things were different, though I pray for reconciliation and healing, and knowledge of Jesus as Savior, I'm going to be ok. Jesus doesn't make things easy, He makes things possible.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying “ Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
Luke 2:13-14

Monday, December 19, 2011

Introversion and Loving His People

I have taken a lot of personality tests in my life, and I have tested into introversion every single time. But in the past few years, the strength of introversion has decreased dramatically. I still recharge best by myself, and I'd rather read a good book than go to a party, but I can now say I actually enjoy being around people.

I'll be honest, I've been quoted as saying "I don't really like people" before. I don't know what it was; I just preferred to do things by myself, my own way. But as I pack up and say goodbye to Beloit for a season, I've been reflecting a lot.

Sunday, I spent all day with people. I went to church, made lunch and cookies with my pastor's family, came back, hung out with a good friend, went to dinner with another friend, hung out with a small group, then a larger group, and then stayed up til morning talking with another friend. When my dad came to pick me up, there were three girls in my room, all of us dragging our feet at the inevitable. And the last month or so in general, I've consistently chosen to be with others. I still take my alone time, and I still like being alone, usually before the Lord.

But God has really melted heart when it comes to other people. He's enabled me to see what He sees, how He loves and cherishes every single one of us. I understand a new dimension of the unfathomable grace of the cross each and every day. To understand what Jesus did for me is the first step in truly loving the rest of His people. I'm not perfect, and I can't say that I like everyone all the time. But it's something the Lord has been very patient with me on.

It reminds me of when Jesus redeems Peter and He says that if Peter loves Him, then he will feed His sheep.

So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah,do you love Me more than these?”
He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”
He said to him, “Feed My lambs.”
He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?”
He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”
He said to him, “Tend My sheep.”
He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?”
And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.”
Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep. Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish.” This He spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, “Follow Me.” John 21:15-19

Friday, December 16, 2011

Secret Place

I was sitting in my room today reading some articles about purity (shock) and I felt the Lord calling me out to our secret place. I don't go there every day; it's really special, but when I'm there, I'm all there, and I feel Christ like none other. It's there that I weep in the beauty and sweetness of His presence. As I walked out there, I could already feel my soul brimming with grace, because how I know that I need it.

Having a secret place that drips of the Holy Spirit is so important, no matter where I am. My place here at school has been my secret place since my 5th day here. The Lord gave me a verse that suits it perfectly. I don't take anyone else there, physically or mentally. That's where I go for my time alone with the Lord. I bring my phone for safety reasons, but I put it on "phone call only" and everything else is silent. It's there that I hear the very special, private words of God to me. I touch Jesus and remember what it is to love Him like the first time all over again. I'm in love with His very presence.

But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. Matthew 6:6

You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah Psalm 32:7

He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. Psalm 91:1

And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the LORD, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel. Isaiah 45:3

The We

My grandpa emailed me and asked me how I was doing. When I read my response over before hitting send, I noticed something. It talked about this "we". We had a banquet. We were going to a concert. I've become a part of something so much bigger than just myself. It's not about me, it's about the we.

So it is for the body of Christ. We are all adopted into God's family through Jesus' sacrifice, and no longer live for ourselves individually but for the advancement of Christ and His kingdom.

and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.
2 Corinthians 5:15

You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Matthew 5:14

Monday, December 12, 2011

Are You Sure?

John 6 is one of my favorite passages about what it means to be a follower of Christ. Jesus feeds the 5,000, and is then talking to the crowds that say they want to follow Him. He lays a hard line. He says that He is the bread of life, not the "dead" manna of Moses that came from heaven for their fathers. He professes to be the Son of God, and if they eat His flesh and drink His blood, believing in Him and Him from Whom He was sent, they will have everlasting life. He asks if this is offensive to them, knowing full well that it is. He knows there are many who don't believe. And sure enough, many who followed Him turned away and followed no more. But then the 12 were left, and Jesus asks them, "Hey, are you sure you don't want to leave too?" (Kate Finman paraphrase translation). Simon Peter says they have nowhere else to go, and that they have come to believe He is Christ the Messiah. So He goes from thousands to twelve in about a timeframe of an hour or less.

I read a book by a pastor who said that when people come to him saying they want to follow Jesus, he straight up tells him he's going to do everything to convince them not to. He says that if you make the commitment to follow Christ, He's going to ask for your finances, your relationships, your job, your vacations, your everything. Jesus has bid you to come and die. Is that ok with you? This pastor does what Jesus did. He preaches a hard line, and lets people make their choice. Some people need more time, and some people likely never make that choice. Jesus didn't want fans, throngs of people willing to follow Him until it got too hard or boring or there was something better to do. He was looking for disciples - those willing to drop everything and heed His words, to spread His message throughout nations. Twelve people willing to do that would be better than twelve thousand who would do nothing but undermine what it meant to follow Him.

If we water down the gospel to make it more appealing to our friends, we minimize the truth that is embodied in Christ Jesus. We cannot say that all is easy, but we can say that our help is in the Lord. He promises that if we abide in Him, He will be our rest and our dwelling place forever.

From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?” But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” John 6:66-69

Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.
Luke 9:23

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28

Friday, December 9, 2011

What Joy

Tonight was (well, technically it's still going on) the cross country Christmas party. Christmas sweaters, eggnog, hot cocoa, brownies, sugar cookies, peppermint park, Christmas tunes. Sounds lighthearted, right? Until people start taking shots of the brandy and peppermint schnapps instead of putting it in the eggnog and cocoa, and it turns to the often vulgar songs du jour and always vulgar dance moves. This is only the third time this year I've hung out with people getting belligerent, and every time it's been because I've really felt God calling me, always for a different reason. The first time, it was an act of peace. In the same way that Jesus never turned away from the woman at the well, and dined with tax collectors and sinners of all kinds, I felt called to be a light, and to show I brought no judgment. The second time, it was for safety reasons. I was there to get people drinking water throughout the night and drive home. And tonight, well tonight was particularly heart wrenching.

Sitting in the middle of the room, I reflected: I don't even know any of these songs, Is that dancing or miming sex? Why is this fun? And right on cue, someone asked me, "Kate, what's your typical Friday night?" Me: "Well, I usually read the Bible a lot, or a biography about a missionary or church leader, play guitar, and go to bed early. Unless I'm staying up praying for you guys and the rest of campus" Him: "That doesn't sound that fun"

How do you explain to someone who doesn't know Jesus that a time in His presence is surreal? It is the greatest source of satisfaction, fulfillment, and joy. You can't see Him, but you know He's there, ever present and always ready to provide exactly what you need. He knows the depths of your heart, because He's written the cross on it forever. He went to hell and back to pull you out of the pit of despair.

It is in You, my sovereign and ever faithful Lord, that I find all hope, peace, confidence, and joy. Your joy is my strength, and You are my dwelling place. In Jesus' name, Amen

You make known to me the paths of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Psalm 16:11

They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of Thy House; and Thou shalt make them drink of the river of Thy pleasures.
Psalm 36:8

Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help,
Whose hope is in the LORD his God Psalm 146:5

The joy of the LORD is your strength. Nehemiah 8:10

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen] you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory. 1 Peter 1:6-8

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Praying For A Friend

I really really really love praying. It's not one of those things that I ever feel like I "have" to do; I honestly want to and enjoy it. I have this one spot where I get on my face and spend some incredible times with my Savior, and I will find myself picturing that spot when I'm away and longing to be there.

I've been spending a lot of time in prayer for one specific person lately. This is something that God has really had to help me enjoy. While I know I am so blessed to be able to serve our holy God, it is often very painful for me. The Lord has allowed me to share in others' burdens in a very real way, and often lets me feel what He feels for them, and let me tell you, it aches! God yearns for His children to come home; Jesus really is calling.

This song is just everything I want for her to know, that Jesus will take her right now, and take every broken piece and make her whole.

I would really love if you could join me in praying for her :)

Father God, I lift Your daughter up to You, because in this very moment You've convicted me - I've been praying 'Whatever it takes' and I believe You're doing that, Lord. Jesus, it's in Your name that I pray for overwhelming peace and hope in abundance. With her sister, her computer, her school, Lord, I pray that she would experience the ease You've given me and that somehow, it would turn her heart toward You. Oh Jesus, You have prepared a place for her, and made a way by which all things are possible. Holy Spirit, rain down on us, that Your fire would be constantly rekindled in my own heart, and ignited in hers. Thank You for lending me Your heart, and teaching me to carry another's burdens. Let me feel her chains; let them be bound around me so that she would know freedom. Lord I commit myself unto You, knowing that I can do nothing without Your grace. I know that Jesus is the only thing that is different between me and her, for I have stumbled many times, and am thus found guilty of breaking the entirety of Your law. It is only the blood of Jesus that can save me, and I now claim His liberty in the Spirit so that You would hear my cries and these supplications. Oh how I long for her to know You, Lord. I rebuke in Jesus' name any forces of darkness that work against her - that feed into misconceptions about who You are or who Your church is. I pray You would soften her heart and call her home in a way she cannot resist. I believe that You have a plan, and that You will do great things in my friend's life. I thank You so much for the privilege to stand in this gap for her right now, and for everything You've done in both of our lives to bring us to this point. God, You are faithful. You are sovereign. And You are able. You can open the blind eyes, make the lame walk, shatter deafness, and shepherd the lost. You can and You will, and I believe that with all my heart. In Jesus' name, Amen.

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 1 Timothy 2:1

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. Colossians 4:2

“Ho! Everyone who thirsts,
Come to the waters;
And you who have no money,
Come, buy and eat.
Yes, come, buy wine and milk
Without money and without price. Isaiah 55:1

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28

Saturday, December 3, 2011

All I Know

Sometimes I just really want to know what God's doing with all of my close friendships with nonbelievers. Why do I spend most of my time with them? It's definitely a part of His ways that I can't understand. Not that I need to; I'll remain obedient, but I certainly wonder.

One of these dear friends has a sister with depression and she was admitted into a hospital this week because it was really serious. I was praying for this family, and instead of focusing on the sister, I was led towards more thoughts on my friend.

On a surface level, I loved her almost straight away. And yes, I did want her to know Jesus the same way I did almost anyone else. But the more I get to know her, the more I can truly love her the way Jesus has. Behind the flippancy with which she speaks about growing up, and different issues in her life, I see the hurt, the longing for guidance and protection, and unconditional love. I think that's how you know you love someone - when more than anything else, you just want them to know and experience the joy of having a relationship with Jesus Christ.

There are times I don't know why the Lord has made us so close, so connected. And then there are moments when walls fall down, when I see that raw space just crying out for a Savior. Last spring, she asked me to tell her the whole story of Jesus. And to this day, she tells people, "I didn't know the story of Jesus until Kate told me when I was almost 20 years old" , proud of the life and knowledge we've been able to share with each other.

I don't know what God is up to. But I do know that He so loved the world that He came down in Christ to suffer among us, to live a perfect life, and to take the penalty for our sins. He is the Light of the world, prepared to shine as Love and Truth in the darkest of places. Jesus conquered the grave, redeeming us and calling us to share in His victory. He has taken up a residency in us in the Holy Spirit, and will return one day, where we will be wed to Him and celebrate the joy and glory of His presence forevermore. And that's enough.

All I Know

He heals the brokenhearted And binds up their wounds. He counts the number of the stars; He calls them all by name. Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite. Psalm 147:3-5

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. John 3:16-17

And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts." Revelation 21:6

The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light. Revelation 21:23

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Figuring Things Out, God's Way

I'm not a dreamer. I was so frustrated when I took ap psych in high school and we had to keep a dream diary. Allegedly, everyone dreams, but a lot of people just don't remember theirs. I rarely remember any of mine, but when I do, maybe just a few times a year, they're really important ones.

So when faced with a spiritual battle that wasn't quite over when I thought it was, I cleared my schedule for a night when it became obvious that I needed time with my Savior to figure things out. I was sitting in prayer, and almost right away, I started getting all of these sleeping verses. I felt the Spirit leading me to go to sleep, though I wasn't at all tired enough. After just a few minutes, I fell asleep and was immediately pulled into the inner courts. It's hard to even describe what I was feeling. I literally encountered Jesus one on one, face to face, and He just poured Himself into me. He told me, "You are weak and empty right now, and that's just where I needed you to be. My Spirit will be leading you in more powerful ways than ever before, and giving you the strength that you've been looking for. You know what it is to be tired and broken, now feel vibrance and strength"


Thank You, Lord, for meeting me where I am, and in ways I don't always understand or expect. Your ways are higher, Lord Jesus, and I will exalt You forevermore.

And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Joel 2:28 (also in Acts 2:17)

And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. Ezekiel 36:27

For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants. Isaiah 44:3

He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water. John 7:38

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sovereignty and Sickness

I had every intention of going to church this morning. My dad dropped me off and I walked him out, and went upstairs to get ready. I was feeling ill, but I really wanted to go anyway. Since my usual ride was still home for Thanksgiving, I had arranged for my pastor's wife to come pick me up right before the service. However, by the time she arrived, I was feeling so awful I could barely stay standing. I had a splitting headache, fever, and sore throat yesterday, and though the fever had gone and the sore throat had lessened, the headache had actually gotten worse. My body is so fatigued right now, and no matter what I take, I can't get any relief from this headache. It hurts all the way around my entire head, down through my neck and shoulders.

I really hate being sick. I protest with every fiber of my being. It takes a lot for me to admit it. But right now, I've surrendered. I told my pastor's wife I was sorry she had driven out of the way, but I really needed to go back to bed. I changed out of my dress and tights and threw on soft leggings, fuzzy socks, and a giant sweater. I crawled into bed and put a sermon on that I'd downloaded from the internet. And do you know what, as I write this as church is getting out, I'm really glad I didn't go. My body needed this. I firmly believe that if it was in God's will for me to be well, I would be. But since I'm not, there's a reason He wanted me to stay home and just be, today. There is work the Spirit needs to do in my body that involves me taking it easy for the time being.

Jesus shows His love for me daily, by providing exactly what I need. He conquers my flesh and gets me to be quiet and listen to Him.

Lord, how blessed I am to have a Savior who delights in me, who daily takes my filth and washes me in His blood. I love You, forever and always.

For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps:
“ Who committed no sin,
Nor was deceit found in His mouth”;
who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. 1 Peter 1:21-25

The LORD your God in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:17

Sunday, November 20, 2011

We Are Barabbas

Imagine it. You're a lying, cheating, thief who's been caught one too many times. You sit in prison, awaiting your penalty. This time, it's death by crucifixion. But then, the guards come in and tell you that you're free to go. Some guy you've never met who really hasn't done anything wrong is going to be taking your place; you are released.

That's exactly where our friend Barabbas found himself on that fateful day. Pilate had given the choice over to the crowds: release Jesus the Christ, or Barabbas. The people cried out for Barabbas to be released, and just like that, he was granted his freedom.

I want to say I can't imagine what that would feel like, but the moment that I understood grace, I knew. I knew what it was like to be bound in my chains, completely centered on my self, enslaved to my pride. I was there. But when I truly, one hundred percent came to know the Jesus took my place. He went to the cross when it should've been me. Barabbas knew that. I wonder if he looked up at that cross thinking, "That's supposed to be me". Relief, gratitude, unbelief, sadness, wonder, awe. I bet he felt all of those things and much more. I know I do when I gaze upon the cross.

When we look to the cross, we have to see it for all of its is. All of the pain and all of the joy. If we forget the sadness, we lose the sacrifice. What is love if it costs nothing? No, it was the highest price ever paid. And if we forget the be joyful, we lose the knowledge and confidence that we are free forver.

Click here to listen to an awesome song. (Side note: I'm not actually on myspace, it's just the only place I could find the whole cut)

The governor answered and said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” They said, “Barabbas!” Pilate said to them, “What then shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all said to him, “Let Him be crucified!” Then the governor said, “Why, what evil has He done?” But they cried out all the more, saying, “Let Him be crucified!” When Pilate saw that he could not prevail at all, but rather that a tumult was rising, he took water and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, “I am innocent of the blood of this just Person. You see to it.” And all the people answered and said, “His blood be on us and on our children.” Then he released Barabbas to them; and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered Him to be crucified.
Matthew 27:21-26

But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. Titus 3:4-7

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Confessions of a DD

"Hey Kate, what are you doing Saturday night?"

"To be determined."

"Do you think you could be the designated driver for a car for Eck's (our coach) 11/11/11 party?"


When I said yes, I honestly didn't know what I was getting myself into. Usually things at our coach's house are pretty chill. There are people drinking, but they're not sloppy; it's just people hanging out and talking, and is over by midnight or so. But I forgot the extent of our coach's 11 obsession and the fact that a ton of alumni were there, ready to get this party started. I drove a car of 3 girlfriends and 1 of the girl's boyfriend to the party around 8:30, and the first part was pretty enjoyable. People were drinking, yes, but no one was trashed and it gave me a chance to catch up with some old friends. I even did some dancing.

Things took a turn for the worse just before midnight, when it was decided that pants were to come off, and people were dancing around in their underwear. By this point, many were totally wasted, and clothing kept coming off until it was just underwear (and bras for girls). Our coach was also drunk. Now, as I watched the scene steadily declining, with all its perversion and suggestive dance moves, I felt embarrassed to be there. It was appalling. I am adamantly against drunk driving, though, and there are multiple reasons I'm sure God had me there (that I won't go into in detail about here).

My four drunken passengers were ready to go around 2:30am, and one passed out in the car on the way home. I was thanked profusely for driving, and again this morning, but I still feel ill about it. I didn't do anything, but I'm still carrying a sense of shame and a heavy heart. And now this morning, I'm going to go try to meet with the Lord and His saints, but I feel so dirty. I know all the verses about being washed and forgiven and clean, but only time devoted to Jesus will heal this broken heart right now.

Lord, tell me again that I'm innocent. I don't believe in right now, and I need You so badly. I'm crying out to You, Father. You amaze me, and I believe this is Your way of showing me a new dimension of Your amazing grace. In Jesus' name, Amen

Come now, and let us reason 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 be as wool. Isaiah 1:18

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Psalm 51:7

Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed. John 8:36

As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us. Psalm 103:12

I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more. Isaiah 43:25

Friday, November 11, 2011

Intimacy With Jesus

What can I do with my obsession
With the things I can not see
It's a madness in my being
It's the wind that blows the tree
Sometimes you're further than the moon
Sometimes you're closer than my skin
You surround me like a winter fall
You come and burn me with a kiss

And my heart burns for you
And my heart burns for you

Song lyrics. What kind of song do you think this is? If I told you it was from one of the greatest worship bands ever, does it change your mind?

I was struck by the pure, raw, holy intimacy captured in this song. It takes my breath away to think that this is a depiction of the relationship between the singer and the Savior. It just makes be want to know Jesus more, to be present at His feet, to love as He loves. In fact, I hear Him calling me now :)

Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching. Luke 10:38

But from there you will seek the LORD your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul. When you are in distress, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, when you turn to the LORD your God and obey His voice for the LORD your God is a merciful God, He will not forsake you nor destroy you, nor forget the covenant of your fathers which He swore to them. Deuteronomy 4:29-32

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Where The Spirit of the Lord Is

Wow, I just got home from InterVarsity Fall Conference, and I had an amazing time. It was a totally different experience from last year. I was in the interecessors track, which meant that I prayed...a lot. There are 100 little moments that I could share about, and probably another 200 that I don't know about (yet).

Beyond all else, though, I learned two big things. I learned the power of presence. Just being can be a prayer; words aren't always necessary. In some ways, this enables us to better hear the Lord. I had an experience during large group worship (think 1,000 people) where it was as though everything fell silent around me - all the music, all the worship-ers - and I heard the cries of individual broken hearts, with their struggles, fears, desires and hopes. Though it was loud all around me, I was brought into a silent state to actually hear and know the heart of Jesus.

The second thing came from a word that I got very early on Saturday morning, about freedom in the Spirit of the Lord brought to us through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Freedom and the joy we experience therein quickly became a focus of our prayers; it came up over and over throughout the day as we prayed for people, for the different tracks, for the worship team and speakers, through the large group room, the conference as a whole, and each other. This came through when different people sat with us or came in and listened to the worship music I played on my guitar - people I didn't know, but still felt connected to because we all wanted to sit at the cross.

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 1 Corinthians 3:17

For with You is the fountain of life;
In Your light we see light. Psalm 36:9

There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you[a] all. Ephesians 4:4-6

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Love Takes Time

I was at the library with a teammate and we were talking about the fact that we were tired. I shared that I'm currently participating in a night watch - where people take shifts praying for our nation throughout the night - and that I get up and pray from 3:00-3:30 in the morning. Now, the getting up in the middle of the night part went mostly unnoticed as he said, "You can pray for a half hour straight? I feel like I'd run out of things to say"

A half hour seems so short to me! I treasure whatever time I can get, but the longer the better :) During my regular morning quiet times, I have to set an alarm so that I remember to go to class, etc. Time with my Savior is the most enjoyable part of my day, and it's constant. I know that I can come to His cross and hear His voice, and that He will hear mine. It's nothing to me to wait upon the One I love, to really get to know His heart.

One of the most commonly expressed ideas in the Christian community is that's it's a religion and not a relationship. But I think we do a really poor job of showing what that actually means. If it's a relationship, we have to put time into it, and not just that we have to, but we should want to. I can imagine that if I was learning to fall in love with a guy, I'd want to spend time talking with him and just finding out more about who he is. So why shouldn't I be willing to do the same for Jesus?

Our society isn't conditioned to wait patiently. Eric and Leslie Ludy write in Meet Mr. Smith"We live in a fast-food, microwavable, Internet-downloadable society and the idea of waiting for anything is tantamount to returning to cooking over an open fire and pacing in front of dial-up modems. But waiting is the chief ingredient in every great romantic tale. For it is through cherishing the ‘waiting’ seasons of life that we learn to fully appreciate and take delight in the ‘receiving’ seasons” (Page 103, in case anyone's fact-checking me). The same way that we might wait for an earthly prince, we need to devote ourselves to knowledge of the Lord. It's a process, and it takes some patience.

Lord, how I love You and time in Your presence. There is no such thing as too much time at Your feet!

Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving Colossians 4:2

Scarcely had I passed by them,
When I found the one I love.
I held him and would not let him go,
Until I had brought him to the house of my mother,
And into the chamber of her who conceived me. Song of Solomon 3:4

Jesus Paid It All

Thank You Lord Jesus for rescuing me out of my deep depravity of sin. Oh, how dark I realized I was the moment I truly grasped Your light. Your holiness illuminates my impurities. Which is why You took to the cross and suffered in anguish as God's wrath - everything that I deserved - was instead placed on You. And then You have called me to live in You that I too may be holy, not in my righteousness but in Yours. You O Lord are good when there's nothing good in me. For that I praise You; You came to my rescue.

If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. John 15:22

And there is salvation in and through no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by and in which me must be saved. Acts 4:12

Come now, and let us reason 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 be as wool. Isaiah 1:18

But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed. Isaiah 53:5

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


I've been really high the past few days; just really enjoying the Lord and the direction He's taking me. I wanted to share this poem with you. It's by an unknown author

God's Boxes

I have in my hands two boxes,
Which God gave me to hold.
He said, "Put all your sorrows in the black box,
And all your joys in the gold."

I heeded His words, and in the two boxes,
Both my joys and sorrows I stored,
But though the gold became heavier each day,
The black was as light as before.
With curiosity, I opened the black,
I wanted to find out why,
And I saw, in the base of the box, a hole,
Which my sorrows had fallen out by.

I showed the hole to God, and mused,
"I wonder where my sorrows could be!"
He smiled a gentle smile and said,
"My child, they're all here with me.."
I asked God, why He gave me the boxes,
Why the gold and the black with the hole?
"My child, the gold is for you to count your blessings,
The black is for you to let go."

I feel so blessed that through the cross, God has set me free from my pains and instead multiplied my blessings.

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Blessed Be Your Name

Today, because of God's recent calling on my life, was unexpectedly my last cross country race, and I was feeling pretty bummed about that. I love my team, and racing, and just everything about Beloit College cross country. I never thought it would be cut short.

But do you know what, the Lord met me. I woke up this morning before the race for a long prayer time, and He showed me the ways that He had fulfilled the desires of my heart before I even knew what they were. This call isn't just obedience (although that should be enough, and it was enough for me to follow it), but it was an answer to a prayer I hadn't thought of yet. How incredible is that? Even yesterday as we practiced on the course, I experience God in such a beautiful and holy way. I ended up praying for the Holy Spirit to move in the hearts of others the way He had in mine. Today, during the race, in the times I was most tired, I literally felt swept away by Christ's strength and sovereignty. I felt inhabited completely by His Spirit. It was so amazing, I hardly have words for it.

Before the race started, I decided to make Blessed Be Your Name the soundtrack for the race. It made me think about how blessed I am, and how much I have to praise God for. And it also reminded me that He gives, and He takes away, but through it all, we can choose to say: Blessed be Your name. The Lord just never ceases to amaze me.

This is the version I have on my iPod. Yes, I know this is the Newsboys and that Matt Redman is the writer/originator, but I love the Scripture he speaks at the end!

A man’s steps are from the LORD;
how then can man understand his way? Proverbs 20:24

and 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. For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:5-8

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Fullness of Blessing

And the son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.' But the father said to his servants, 'Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. Luke 15:21-22

I have always loved Luke 15, for the pursuit for what we love: the shepherd after his lost sheep, the woman for her coin, the way the father rejoices when his son returns home. But last night, I noted something completely different about the parable of the prodigal son, about the incredible way the Lord relates to us, His people.

We mess up all the time; it's nearly impossible not to recognize our own failures and unworthiness. In some manuscripts, the prodigal son asks to be treated by his father as a hired servant, not a member of the family. We too, come crawling back to God, wounded and desperate. And he far surpasses our petitions and expectations. He not only picks us up, but He turns us around and sets our feet on solid ground. He doesn't just fulfill our most basic needs, He gives us the fullness of His blessings!

It's amazing the ways the Lord blesses us. But most of all, He gives us Himself. Try as we might, we can't find joy outside of Him. What a God we serve who delights to fulfill our hearts.

“The reason why it can never succeed is this: God made us, invented us as a man invents an engine. A car is made to run on gasoline, and it would not run properly on anything else. Now God designed the human machine to run on Himself. He Himself is the fuel our spirits were designed to burn, or the food our spirits were designed to feed on. There is no other. That is why it is just no good asking God to make us happy in our own way without bothering about religion. God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.” C.S. Lewis

He drew me up from the pit of destruction,
out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
making my steps secure.
Psalm 40:2

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Listening to the Lord

Life-changing stuff coming here.

When I prayed about where to go to college, I was under the impression that I would be there for four years, hopefully taking a semester to study abroad, and then the Lord would show me the next step. But this line from Not A Fan, by Kyle Idleman keeps floating in my head, "When is the last time that you allowed Jesus to mess with your plans?"

This summer, Generations of Virtue told me they were going to be piloting a gap year program in the fall of 2012. As they explained the program, I nodded along; it sounded like an awesome idea. And then they asked me to consider coming out to write the curriculum/run the program. Honestly, at this time, I blew it off. I didn't want to think about it and I sure didn't want to pray about it. I didn't even want to hear what God might say.

Well, when I was out there for fall break, it became pretty clear this subject wasn't going to just disappear. I even sat in on a gap year meeting and did a little research. The whole time I was thinking, "Ugh! Why? Why can't I just go to school and be a witness here like we planned?' Of course, I could almost see the smile on God's face, "You mean, like you planned"

On Saturday, God gave me the verse Psalm 16:11. This verse is in 3 parts, and I felt Him highlighting the third part: at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. I understood that I can't have the delight of my heart apart from Him.

Sunday, it was time for part two: in your presence is fullness of joy. Ok, remain in Christ in order to have unshakable joy. Got it, I mean my life verse is Acts 17:28 after all.

And Monday, oh Monday. Monday was part 1: You make known to me the paths of life. But it didn't end there. We went to the amplified 1 Thessalonians 5:18b: For that is God's will for you in Christ Jesus (the Revealer and Mediator of that will) and Luke 5:11b They left everything and followed him.

I figured it was time to check in with my advisor to see if it was even possible to take the fall off and graduate on time. And wouldn't you know it, if I drop my French major down to a minor, I'll have exactly enough credits to graduate. How great.

I'm scared, I'm uncertain, and I'm working my way to excited. I know these verses don't leave room for argument, but this is not the easy road by any means. Breathe and relax, and rejoice in my Love one day at a time, I suppose.

Thank You, Lord, for all You've done and the ways You've chased after my heart to draw it closer to You. Provide for me clarity to know Your will and the strength and courage to carry it out. In Jesus' name, Amen

You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psalm 16:11

And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him. Luke 5:11

Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will]. 1 Thessalonians 5:18

And He said to all, If any person wills to come after Me, let him deny himself [disown himself, forget, lose sight of himself and his own interests, refuse and give up himself] and take up his cross daily and follow Me [cleave steadfastly to Me, conform wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying also]. Luke 9:23

Sunday, October 23, 2011

God Speaks

Yesterday I went out for a walk in the mid morning. Seeing the sun top the mountains is so beautiful. After all the emotion of the night before, I really wanted to hear what the Lord had to say.

This is what I heard from Him:

Kate, I am here. I am all that you need. I knew what I was doing when I gave you the family and past that I did. I know you sometimes wish that things had been different, but I have never left you. I have such wonderful plans for you, Kate. I had to create holes in your heart, that you would seek Me to fill them. I am with you, Kate, and I will never leave you. I think such high thoughts toward you. I am always open to you; I wait patiently for you to run into my arms and be quieted by My great love for you. I have written My cross on your heart, so that you would know the depth of My love for you. I am all that you need. Love, your Father, King, and very best friend.

The Lord spoke right to me to say that I am in Him. My life verse says that in Christ, we live and move and have our being. It's good to have this painted freshly on my heart.

"This is what it is to be loved and to know
That the promise was that when everything fell
We'd be held"

Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
I say to the LORD, "You are my Lord;
I have no good apart from you."
As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones,
in whom is all my delight.

The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply;
their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out
or take their names on my lips.

The LORD is my chosen portion and my(G) cup;
you hold my lot.
The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.

I bless the LORD who gives me counsel;
in the night also my heart instructs me
I have set the LORD always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.

Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices;
my flesh also dwells secure.
For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,
or let your holy one see corruption.

You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Psalm 16

Friday, October 21, 2011

Save Me From Myself

Colorado has been such a blessing. Every time I come visit my friends, I am amazed at the new things the Lord wants to show me.

Like last night. A lot of the team has testimonies on the Culture Shock website (a book they wrote), about living lives in purity and walking with God. This week, it was decided that I was going to film a testimony. I started prepping on Monday and was scheduled to film on Thursday. I couldn't decide which way I wanted to tell my story. I kept getting blocked. I wrote it out, practiced, but it didn't feel authentic. So come film time, I was kind of a mess.

I went down to the studio with an amazing friend of mine, Courtney. I was supposed to pick a word that described my testimony (examples like mercy, redemption, faithfulness). I didn't even know my word yet! She gave me a look, but eventually I picked sovereignty. As we did the screen and audio tests, I got so nervous. I was not ready. What was the problem? I'd told this story before, even to Courtney. Ok, so she prayed over me (Thank You Lord!) and it was time to start.

My name is Kate, and this is my story. So far so good. But it went downhill from there. As I talked about some of the messy things growing up, like my parents, I kept crying. Now, for these videos it was ok to cry as long as it didn't interfere with people hearing your story. I could pause and regain composure if I wanted. Well at one point it was so bad, we had to turn the camera off. By the time I choked by way through the story, it was not very usable. She let me cry on her. She affirmed that this was stuff that had to come out, and I couldn't just shove it down. Once I calmed down some, Courtney remarked how I had managed to make a small, backless stool comfortable. I laughed and said that's what I do. She wisely said, making things comfortable doesn't fix the problem. We sat for awhile before she gave me some choices.Courtney looked at me and said I could either do it again, have someone else in the room with me, or tell it from the 3rd person. I told her I needed to get on prayer before anything else happened.

Exodus 15:26b says For I am the Lord who heals you. That's what God wanted to do. But He needed me to give Him my wounded heart. I could just hide things away; I had to draw them out into the open. And wow, do I hate doing that! I'm perfectly content to keep pressing forward pretending things are fine. But that's not how we grow. I am so thankful for this home, and for Courtney especially for allowing the Holy Spirit to move through her.

So I got off prayer, and it was time for dinner. After dinner was all cleaned up, it was time for Tim's testimony. His went off without a hitch. I was up for round 2. We did the screen tests, and shot the fluff footage. Then Courtney left the room and let me record by myself. Having her there highlighted the rawness of it all.

Later, Court and I were hanging out playing guitar. When we finally declared bedtime, she said, "Is it going to be ok" Me: "I think so". Court: "And not just push everything back down?" Me: "Noooo", to which she said, "Don't lie!"

Working through my past is a process. I don't get it out there once and that's that. I have to continually rely on the cross to define me and to shape my life.

Lord, thank You for saving me from myself and the hurt I try to hide behind. Thank You especially for Your faithful servant Courtney and all the ways You move in her. I love You, Lord.

Kiddo quote of the day "Sing a song in tongues! A worship song in tongues!" Alissa, age 10.
Only at the Generations of Virtue House

The LORD your God is in your midst,
a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.
Zephaniah 3:17

Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. James 5:16

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Child's Praise

I am not one to underestimate children. I take God at His word when He says that we are to have child-like faith (Matthew 18:3), and where do you learn best about how to do this than from children?

Yesterday, my friends and I were all around the house working on different projects when we received a visitor, 4 year old Mikayla from across the street. Since I am the novelty, it didn't take long for her to place herself right in the middle of my workspace. Kids are really good at entertaining themselves, so after she'd posed questions about my computer and the pictures she saw, she took to chattering happily away at the seat next to me. Then, as I was immersed in an article, she starts telling a story about God talking to her. She heard Him speaking her name, and she told me about how she wanted to listen to Him and spend more time with Him. This captured my attention. I was struck by how such a small girl could truly know a big God.

Then, at bedtime, she announced that she wanted me to put her to bed. For this one, bedtime is often a challenge. Getting pajamas on went smoothly, and we went back downstairs to say goodnight to everyone else. Mikayla got a bit sidetracked and had grandma read her a story before choosing another book to take upstairs. As I followed her up to her room, the other adults told me to take the angels with me, as now the hard part would set in.

I sat with her in a rocking chair and read to her about her favorite subject, horses. Then she asked if we could sing a song. I happen to know that she loves "The Wonderful Cross", so I queued my phone up to the part where the chorus repeats several times and we sang along. Then she got into bed, and I pulled the covers over her. I told her it was time to pray, and asked if it was ok if I prayed for her. She said yes, and so I prayed, "Dear God thank You so much for Your princess and daughter Mikayla. Help her to sleep well and have nice dreams that let her to see You. We love You so much, Father. In Jesus' name, Amen". Then it was her turn, "God, I love You. Thank You for Kate. I love her infinity. Help me fall asleep fast and have no bad dreams. Amen"

Simple things like this make me overwhelmingly thankful. I was recapping my last two days on my run this morning when I was hit by the sun rising over the mountains. I became so aware of how I lacked the words to accurately praise the Lord for all I was feeling. I can't say anything that He hasn't heard already. The words of my heart are nowhere near enough to give praise for His goodness. But it's all I have, so I lift it up, so aware of my own unworthiness.

There's no video for this song, and I don't feel like making one, but please listen to it. Or at least read the lyrics

I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies and of all the truth which You have shown Your servant; for I crossed over this Jordan with my staff, and now I have become two companies. Genesis 32:10

Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. Hebrews 13:15

Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and perform your vows to the Most High, Psalm 50:14

Give to the LORD the glory due His name;
Bring an offering, and come into His courts.
Oh, worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness!
Tremble before Him, all the earth. Psalm 96:8-9

Monday, October 17, 2011

Forever Blessed

Nothing like a 2:30 am, wake up call to start fall break off right. I caught an early flight to see my friends in Colorado Springs, Colorado. It's been just one day, but I'm already amazed at how blessed that I am.

My friend Kate picked me up at the airport in Denver, and we had an awesome time just chatting as we got to the Springs. Most of the people I'm here to see live in two houses across the street from each other. I went to the first house, and got stuck. It's not that we were doing anything in particular; it's hard to describe what felt so good. Then I went across the street. With 5 girls from 4-17, things can be a little crazy so when I walked in, there was some ruckus already. Then the oldest said my name, and ran downstairs as the youngest heard from the living room and came running over. They'd sent me a video for my birthday, and Mikayla, their 4 year old said, "Happy birthday Kate the great! I missed it!" At dinner, she sat between her mom and I and said, "These are my favorites. I love them forever", as I had Hana, their 8 year old, on my lap. I ran errands with one of the big kids, Beth, which was great. She helps take care of the kids, so her and I hardly get any time alone together. Then it was family dinner where Alissa, 10, and Stacia, 14, tag teamed saying grace. After dinner, we had a "family activity" - puzzle wars. 2 teams each work on a puzzle to see who can get it done faster. Then I watched a movie with some of the big kids, after we figured out which movies we had Clearplay filters for ( it skips the inappropriate parts of movies).

And I went to bed, thanking the Lord with all that I am. I am nowhere near worthy of these tremendous blessings. I don't deserve any of this. I should be enslaved to sin and darkness, but Jesus took that upon Himself and instead gave me the freedom to bask in His life.

I woke up with this song in my head, "You are good, You are good, when there's nothing good in me...Light of the world, forever reign" Because God reigns forever, we are forever blessed by His presence.

Lord, thank You for all of this, of which I could never be worthy. You grace is a mystery, but it is also sufficient, Lord. I love and praise You forever for who You are. In Jesus' Name, Amen
For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants. Isaiah 44:3

Saturday, October 15, 2011

In Christ

As I said before, I've had a really exhausting week. Today we left for our cross country race at 6:15am, when the campus was dead as a doornail. I don't leave my room without getting into the Word, so I read a few chapters of Hosea (by now, y'all should know how I feel about Hosea) and Psalms.

On the bus, as the sun was rising, I was continuing my reading of Hosea and one of my new favorite songs came through my headphones. I was thinking about how spectacular our relationship is with our Maker, that through the cross, we are made to be the bride of the Lord. We "play the harlot", acting as mistress to so many things and people. We look everywhere but to God, when He is truly the One that we need.

When I'm on the bus like that, I'm not totally aware of my location. But I always know that I'm in Christ, that He's called me His own. He chased after my heart so hard that He gave His life to win me over. And it was never about me; I think that's the best part. It was to show that there is one God and one love. And we live in Him.

I'm going to type out the lyrics that moved me this morning:

Dwelling Place - Gateway Worship

You excite me
You surprise me
You pursue me
You move me
Like a whirlwind You lift me
Like a whisper You kiss me

For in You I find my dwelling place
In You I find amazing grace
In You I find security
Jesus You're all I need

I am standing
And not falling
'Cause You're ending
What You're starting
You won't leave me
Or deceive me
You'll always guide me
Always hide me in You

For in You I find my dwelling place
In You I find amazing grace
In You I find security
Jesus You're all I need

“ I will betroth you to Me forever;
Yes, I will betroth you to Me
In righteousness and justice,
In lovingkindness and mercy;
I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness,
And you shall know the LORD.
“ It shall come to pass in that day
That I will answer,” says the LORD;

“I will answer the heavens,
And they shall answer the earth.
The earth shall answer
With grain,
With new wine,
And with oil;
They shall answer Jezreel.
Then I will sow her for Myself in the earth,
And I will have mercy on her who had not obtained mercy;
Then I will say to those who were not My people,

‘ You are My people!’
And they shall say, ‘You are my God!’”

Hosea 2:19-23

for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring' Acts 17:28

For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. Colossians 3:3

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Nothing Else I Need

Last night, I was in a really drained place. It's midterms week and I haven't been sleeping very much at all. Add to that the fact that our cross country coach switched up our routine. We usually do two easy runs Monday, a hard workout Tuesday, and two easy runs or cross training on Wednesday. This week Monday and Tuesday were more or less the same, but Wednesday we went easy in the morning and then hard again in the afternoon. I was so sore and completely wiped.

When my friend came over to practice for worship at InterVarsity last night, I was minutes away from being asleep. She offered to just figure something out so I wouldn't have to lead and could just go to sleep instead, which I did appreciate her kindness. But when our other friend got there, I figured I'd see how things went.

And I was amazed. Even though I was running on less than empty, when we got our guitars and drum going, I could feel the Lord pouring Himself into me. His glory gave me strength and restoration. God gave me the ability to praise Him and be made new. At InterVarsity a bit later, it intensified. Lifting up my heart with my brothers and sisters fulfilled and sustained me like nothing else.

Jesus took the cross that in Him we would live an abundant life, filled with peace, confidence, and joy. He came to wipe out the pain our sin has caused us, to carry our burdens and remove them from our mind. The more I seek the Lord, the more I know Him. I crave this overwhelming sense of healing and restoration that only He can provide. I am so satisfied in His presence; I have no other needs.

And the LORD will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail. Isaiah 58:11

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Lord, You Move Me

After an amazing, crazy blessed weekend, things had finally settled down, and I was in need for some recharge time. I queued up my iPod to my soothing worship playlist of the moment, and set out for a walk. But as I was walking to the park, I was just completely swept away in how truly incredible the Lord is. The cross is the picture of eternal love, a portrait of redemption by a perfect Savior who was willing to take my punishment.

That kind of thing is so powerful, and something about tonight was making it extra special. Maybe it was because my sister visited this weekend, maybe it was spending time with my wonderful friends (and making some new ones), but in that moment, I'd never felt more loved. It wasn't enough to sing - I was compelled to dance. I took my sweater off, clipped my iPod to my hip, and just moved freely. I'm not trained in dance, but I took classes as a gymnast to improve my choreography. Lyrical dance to me is so smooth, and even though it's physically hard, it's relaxing for my mind. It didn't matter who saw me; this dance wasn't for anyone but the Lord. I was using my whole body to empty my heart in praise. So lovely, so wonderful, there are hardly words.

Lord, how I love You. You move the deepest parts of my soul. You amaze me more each and every day, Jesus. I want to touch You; I want to do something that makes You smile, Lord. I want to be able to pour out my whole self to You at all times, to just give You everlasting glory and praise and honor. Thank You for music, Lord, and for the song in my heart that demands a dance to go along. That was so beautiful; God I am in awe of Your beauty and wonder. In the name of my Savior I pray, Amen

Let them praise His name with the dance; Let them sing praises to Him with the timbrel and harp. Psalm 149: 3

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Romans 12:1

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Faithful Blessings in Disguise

As a runner, not being able to run is not fun at all. Sure, we have highs and lows, but for the most part, we want to run. So when I got hurt on Monday, I was bummed. I was resigned to cross training (biking or aquajogging) for at least 3 practices, and the trainer said we'd go from there. I was not happy about this. Aquajogging is one of the most terribly boring exercises in existence, and a stationary bike, please!

But on Tuesday, my sister called and asked if she could come for a visit this weekend. Since I don't have a race, I said of course. And do you know what, my hour long aquajog session turned out to be an awesome time to pray for her and for this weekend, as did my double sessions on the bike. Being injured just gave me more time to seek the Lord, what a tremendous blessing. Only He knew that my sister would be coming, and that we needed some prayer. So faithful!

Lord, I thank You for being present in even what seems to me to be less than ideal circumstances. It's all part of Your plan; I am the work of Your hand, Lord. Bless this time with Jessica, and I pray that You would do whatever it takes that she would see and know You. Your love is better than life. Amen.

For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. 1 Corinthians 2:11

O LORD God Almighty, who is like you? You are mighty, O LORD, and your faithfulness surrounds you. Psalm 89:8

Saturday, October 1, 2011

A New Song

What does the Bible mean when it talks about a new song? I did a search on and got 9 results: 6 from the Psalms, 1 from Isaiah, and 2 from Revelation.

I was mulling all this over. Why do we sing a new song? What's wrong with the ones we had before? What changes? Why sing at all? Where do we get this new song to sing?

I think the last result from Revelation is key

They sang as it were a new song before the throne, before the four living creatures, and the elders; and no one could learn that song except the hundred and forty-four thousand who were redeemed from the earth. Revelation 14:3

This new song gets sung before the throne of God, of Jesus Christ our Savior. Only the redeemed are able to sing this song.


Because when we are redeemed, and we accept God's grace, we automatically want to worship Him. But we, in our broken condition, don't have a way to truly communicate with our Maker. So when we come to know Jesus as Lord, He gives us a new song to sing. It's His way of changing our hearts to make us want to give praise to Him the way He deserves it. We learn our new song by sitting at the feet of our precious Savior. He writes it into our hearts, a love song between Christ and His Bride.

Sing to the LORD a new song, And His praise from the ends of the earth, You who go down to the sea, and all that is in it, You coastlands and you inhabitants of them! Isaiah 42:10

He has put a new song in my mouth— Praise to our God; Many will see it and fear, And will trust in the LORD. Psalm 40:3

Monday, September 26, 2011

Today's The Day

Funny, this post is also about rain :)

College students on a Monday morning are always a little rough. Add 6:30am practice and cool rain showers, and it's a lot rough. My teammates were complaining about what an awful day it was, and yeah, is being soaked down to the bone awesome? Not exactly. But for some reason, I just couldn't get the smile off my face. I was so filled with joy. Maybe it's because of how I started the day.

Unlike most people, I woke up to the sound of rain at 4:30am instead of a buzzing alarm at 6:15. I thanked the Lord for His presence and surrendered the day to Him. I read some of Ezra and Nehemiah and then a few chapters of Matthew. I turned on some worship music and prayed along, in awe of how great our God is.

So by the time I went to the gym, I was awakened to the glory of the Lord, ready to experience Him whatever way He had planned for me. As I ran, with my clothes and body completely dripping, I remembered Betsie Ten Boom who reminded the world that the Bible doesn't say to give thinks in pleasant circumstances, it says all circumstances. The Lord made today, so I'm going to recjoice and be glad in it.

Thank You Jesus for the rain! You are always good, no matter what.

Today is the day that the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24

Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will]. 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Rain Down On Us

Ah yes, cross country season in the midwest. One week there are people dropping like flies from heat exhaustion and the next you're bundled up in all your sweats.

Anyway, today we had a race, and throughout the whole thing I had the song "All My Fountains" stuck in my head, due to the fact that a friend asked me to learn it this week. It was actually a pretty good race song - high energy with some pertinent lines like "I tell myself keep walking on...Your river carries me home...let it flow, let it flow" But the bridge is "Rain down on us, rain down on us Lord" and during the 3.1 mile race, I probably said that several dozen times.

Well, we all know that God answers prayer, so not long after the boys' race started, it began to rain. I just smiled because to me, it was confirmation that the Lord had heard me singing to Him, and He responded - literally!

As they make music they will sing,
“All my fountains are in You.” Psalm 87:7

Rain down, you heavens, from above,
And let the skies pour down righteousness;
Let the earth open, let them bring forth salvation,
And let righteousness spring up together.
I, the LORD, have created it. Isaiah 45:8

Let us know,
Let us pursue the knowledge of the LORD.
His going forth is established as the morning;
He will come to us like the rain,
Like the latter and former rain to the earth. Hosea 6:3

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Night Watch

Many of you will know that I really like going to bed early. I just do. Part of this is because I love getting up early. The way I've structured my life has kind of come to depend on it. For example, this morning, by 8am, I'd read the book of Ruth, the first 2 chapters of 1 Samuel, Galatians 6, run 4.5 miles, lifted weights, eaten breakfast, and showered - in that order. It has become absolutely crucial to put my top priority first in my day, and that means no matter what, I spend time seeking the Lord before I do anything else. Even if I wake up and my phone kindly tells me I have 14 emails, a half dozen texts, and 8 new facebook notifications, I'm going to pray first. Sometimes this takes a lot of discipline, especially with how crazy life can get as a college student. But I notice the difference. The few times I've waited until "after" to have my special time with Jesus, I find myself lacking joy, peace, and love.

That being said, every now and then I stay up late. I am an imperfect person striving to follow the Word of a holy God, and He tells us to meditate on Him in the night watches. Besides the issue of obedience that this raises, I've also found that I pray for different things in the evening, especially when I'm on campus. The Holy Spirit directs my heart to needs at midnight that are different from the needs at 5am, when everyone is asleep. Sometimes after I've been on a "night watch" I'll hear someone telling me about something "super random and bizarre" that happened to them that night. It'll be something that I was specifically praying for! I love that, that we're able, through Christ, to begin to know the heart of God.

The more time we spend with the Lord, the more we'll know Him and what He sees. We'll know how to better serve His people, because our heart will be knit closer to His own.

Lord, Lord, Direct my heart to You. Let me never tire in Your presence. My flesh is weak, but in You I find strength. To pray in the Spirit is to know You directly and intimately. Bless my time with You Lord, for You are the most beautiful One I've ever known. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Arise, cry out in the night: in the beginning of the watches pour out thine heart like water before the face of the Lord: lift up thy hands toward him for the life of thy young children, that faint for hunger in the top of every street. Lamentations 2:19

when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night; Psalm 63:6

My eyes are awake before the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promise. Psalm 119:48

Sunday, September 18, 2011


Lately, I have been seeking deeper wisdom and knowledge. I've been checking out Hebrew and Greek study aids and reading more and more commentaries. I love what the Lord is teaching me through His Word and the words of those He's inspired.

So, here's a part of Matthew Henry's Commentary on Psalm 103, and one of my current favorite songs to go along with it.

1 Bless the LORD, O my soul;
And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
2 Bless the LORD, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits:
3 Who forgives all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases,
4 Who redeems your life from destruction,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
5 Who satisfies your mouth with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
Psalm 103

"By the pardon of sin, that is taken away which kept good things from us, and we are restored to the favor of God, who bestows good things on us. Think of the provocation; it was sin, and yet pardoned: how many the provocations, yet all pardoned! God is still forgiving, as we are still sinning and repenting. The body finds the melancholy consequences of Adam's offence, it is subject to many infirmities, and the soul also. Christ alone forgives all our sins; it is he alone who heals all our infirmities. And the person who finds his sin cured, has a well-grounded assurance that it is forgiven. When God, by the graces and comforts of his Spirit, recovers his people from their decays, and fills them with new life and joy, which is to them an earnest of eternal life and joy, they may then be said to return to the days of their youth."

Then He saw wisdom and declared it;He prepared it, indeed, He searched it out. Job 28:27

Then you will understand the fear of the LORD,
And find the knowledge of God.
For the LORD gives wisdom;
From His mouth come knowledge and understanding;
He stores up sound wisdom for the upright;
He is a shield to those who walk uprightly;
Proverbs 2:5-7

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. Colossians 3:16

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Great Are You Lord

I was reading Numbers today, and I was really amazed by the way that Moses was so open about his own inabilities. I know I have such a hard time admitting that I can't do it all. I want to have everything under control, but that's really not my place. And Moses had the wisdom to know that it wasn't his either:

I am not able to carry all these people alone, because the burden is too heavy for me. Numbers 11:14

I mean, wow. Look at that. I am not able. It's such a poignant act of submission; it's Moses saying, "God I can't do this, but I believe that You can, so I'm asking for Your help here". I wish I remembered to do that right away all the time, instead of getting myself overwhelmed and in a mess, because look at the Lord's response to Him:

And I will come down and talk with you there; and I will take of the Spirit which is upon you and will put It upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with you, so that you may not have to bear it yourself alone. Numbers 11:17

I loved this verse because not only is God going to come down to Moses and meet him where he is, He's going to work through other ordinary people. It's amazing to watch the Holy Spirit move in people because I think it shows God's incredible greatness - that He can take broken vessels as ourselves and use them for His glory.

And do you know what Moses did when He realized how great God really is,

And when Moses heard it, he fell upon his face Numbers 16:4

That was how he told the Lord he needed help, and would rely on Him for it all. I think we can learn a thing or two from this.

Lord, You are strong when we are weak. You are able when you are not. You are great, Lord. You are worthy of all praise. That You come down to us and use us is amazing. Great are You Lord.

And Moses said, By this you shall know that the Lord has sent me to do all these works, for I do not act of my own accord. Numbers 16:28

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

I'm In Love

Get out of class, grab some lunch. I was planning out the rest of my free afternoon, taking note of the beautiful weather. I really just wanted to go on a prayer walk, maybe bring my iPod for some soothing worship tunes and my Bible and journal and stop along the river. But in order to fulfill the holy calling God has on this season of my life, I really need to study and do my homework. So, I found myself on the way to the library, yearning for time alone with my precious Savior.

I told myself that if I worked steadily for the next two hours, I could have my last hour and a half before practice in prayer. It was then that I realized that this is a healthy way to be in the world but not of it. Although I wanted the Lord more than anything else, I respected the life He has for me right now. But I made Christ my joy and my reward. Better than taking a coffee break or reading a fun book, I was seeking after more of Him.

Simply put, He is my desire. I'm so in love with HIm.

You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psalm 16:11

Without having seen Him, you love Him; though you do not [even] now see Him, you believe in Him and exult and thrill with inexpressible and glorious (triumphant, heavenly) joy. 1 Peter 1:8

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Beauty Will Rise

Today was such a blessed day - worship at church, a powerful sermon, and a delightful lunch/afternoon with my pastor and his family, followed by the opportunity to pray at a memorial for 9/11/01.

All day, I thought of the song, "Beauty Will Rise", and how it says, "Out of these ashes/beauty will rise". That is what I felt today, and that's what I prayed about at the event, which I am re-posting here.

I am one of those people who prays about everything, including what to pray. So this past week, I've been asking God to direct my heart and thoughts. I mean, what do I have to say? What happened ten years ago today has no words. Every time I checked my phone or calendar, I saw those digits - 9-11 - and was struck by them. Pain will often unite people more than anything else, and today, I see many differences being put outside in order that we would come together and just remember. But I also believe that we need to look ahead. In the Bible, the prophet Isaiah writes that we will be given a crown of beauty out of our ashes, and John speaks of a light that shines into the darkness.

At church this morning, my pastor talked about the picture in his office, where beams of light formed a cross around the twin towers. It reminded me of what Corrie Ten Boom wrote in her account of the Holocaust, the Hiding Place. She was asking God where He was in the middle of the tragedy, and then she saw it: the cross of Jesus Christ etched forever into all of human history. In Christ we have life and hope that the Lord is sovereign. He is in control. We don't know if we will wake up tomorrow and live another day, but those who are right with God through the saving power of Jesus are guaranteed a place in His house today, tomorrow, and forever. And it is by this knowledge, by this grace, God's free gift of freedom, life, and hope to each and every one of us, that I am welcomed into His presence to pray:

Lord, thank You for being sovereign and so faithful. As we remember the events from ten years past, let us not forget that ultimately, our lives are in Your hands. Your word says that You are with those who mourn and comfort the afflicted. But more than anything else, Father I pray that You would use this as a wake up call to us. Only You, Lord are forever. We are just a vapor in time here briefly and then gone. But You are the God who was, who is, and who will be. And You loved us enough to come in the person of Jesus and die for all of our sin and failures. You took that upon Yourself that we would know You. Holy Spirit, speak into our hearts the truth of Christ. Let us come to You, in full recognition that we do not know what comes next, but that we can trust fully in You. We are invited into a relationship with Jesus, to know Him as our personal Savior, and let that be our source of joy, hope, peace, and restoration. Because You have said that if Your people would humble themselves and pray, You will restore their land. Lord, today I pray for remembrance - not just of the victims, but further back, to the cross, to Christ, through whom we are saved and redeemed. I praise You for You abundant blessings, for Your promises to us, and for who You are. You are sovereign, Lord, let this be our cry. In Jesus' name, Amen.

(Although this song is about the death of the Chapman's daughter, I feel it is also a great song for today)

“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me,
Because the LORD has anointed Me
To preach good tidings to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives,
And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD,
And the day of vengeance of our God;
To comfort all who mourn,
To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
That they may be called trees of righteousness,
The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.”
And they shall rebuild the old ruins,
They shall raise up the former desolations,
And they shall repair the ruined cities,
The desolations of many generations.
Strangers shall stand and feed your flocks,
And the sons of the foreigner
Shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers.
But you shall be named the priests of the LORD,
They shall call you the servants of our God.
You shall eat the riches of the Gentiles,
And in their glory you shall boast.
Instead of your shame you shall have double honor,
And instead of confusion they shall rejoice in their portion.
Therefore in their land they shall possess double;
Everlasting joy shall be theirs.
“ For I, the LORD, love justice;
I hate robbery for burnt offering;
I will direct their work in truth,
And will make with them an everlasting covenant.
Their descendants shall be known among the Gentiles,
And their offspring among the people.
All who see them shall acknowledge them,
That they are the posterity whom the LORD has blessed.”
I will greatly rejoice in the LORD,
My soul shall be joyful in my God;
For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation,
He has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
As a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments,
And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
For as the earth brings forth its bud,
As the garden causes the things that are sown in it to spring forth,
So the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations. Isaiah 61

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Under Grace

So today I was reading in Exodus, all about the covenant that God continues to promise and His people continue to fail to grasp. Chapter 29 goes into great detail about the sacrifices and offerings that are necessary in order to be in right standing with God. I was pretty struck by all that was required - just one part for example, is the daily sacrifice of two lambs and 1 bull:

This shall be a continual offering throughout your generations at the door of the Tent of Meeting before the Lord, where I will meet with you to speak there to you (Verse 42).

A continual offering is what is required to meet with the Lord. The depth of the depravity of sin is astounding. Our holy God is so offended by it that He can't even look at us without the fragrant smoke of our offerings. We cannot be in right standing on our own. All that we do is never enough.

Thankfully, God had a plan. One of the things that is distinct to Christianity is this: that our God came down. He lived, in the person of Jesus, and walked among us. And He took to the cross, giving Himself up as an offering. This offering did what thousands of lambs could not do; it put us in right standing with the Lord not for a day but for eternity. Christ lived in our world, but knew no sin. He took all of our sin - past, present, and future - onto Himself and put it to death by crucifixion. And because He was raised, that sin is forever defeated. God can look through Christ as our living lens; that's what it means to be under grace.

And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” Acts 2:38-39

Well then, as one man's trespass [one man's false step and falling away led] to condemnation for all men, so one Man's act of righteousness [leads] to acquittal and right standing with God and life for all men. So that, [just] as sin has reigned in death, [so] grace (His unearned and undeserved favor) might reign also through righteousness (right standing with God) which issues in eternal life through Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) our Lord. Romans 5:18, 21

Thursday, September 8, 2011

God Is Able

I seriously can't believe I haven't posted on this yet!

Anyway, on the way to the outdoor conference track meet in the spring, I was reading the Bible and the phrase God is able kept leaping off the page. I knew then that the Lord wanted to get it through my thick skull, that no matter what I could or could not do, He could do more, and better.

Ever since then, I've found myself meditating on that phrase. Working on a tough paper - God is able to provide wisdom and focus. Navigating the waters of a sometimes muddy home life - God is able to heal. Struggling through a hard run - God is able to give strength and endurance. Completely exhausted -God is able to restore me. Full of stress - God is able to grant me peace. Overwhelmed by the sin in my life - God is able drown me in grace. Feeling alone - God is able to comfort me, love me, and provide blissful companionship. In all ways, in all things, the Lord our God is able. His love is able, His grace is able. He is able.

This summer, Hillsong came out with the God Is Able album. I could honestly listen to the title track all day. The God who hand-crafted the world and everything and everyone in it came down and lived a perfect life while walking among us. Jesus was tested and tried in every way, yet lived to be the perfect sacrifice - a pure Lamb slain as a sin offering. And Christ did something impossible. He rose from the dead. He forever conquered the powers of sin and death and has taken up a life inside of His people in the Holy Spirit.

Just today, I was trying to figure out how I was going to do everything the Lord has called me to do. But do you know what, it doesn't matter what I do in my strength. Because it is never going to stand up to what He can do. By residing in Him and His sovereignty, I too am able. I am able, solely because God is able.

Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Ephesians 3:20 (NLT)

And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: 2 Corinthians 9:8

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Prepare To Worship

I believe that Christ’s church worships Him better together on Sundays when we are all cultivating individual hearts of worship every day. I can only control myself, so, realizing my status as a member of His church, I make an effort to worship Him for who He is in everything I do, say, and am. This morning was no different. For too many Sunday mornings are rushed – after sleeping in late, we finally manage to get ourselves out the door and into the church, without ever pausing to consider whom we’re about to meet with.

This morning, I rose early to prepare my own heart. I read His Word, and then put together an active worship playlist for a two-hour run. I’ve always felt that running is an act of worship; I thank God for the body He gave me to use. And early in the morning, when all is quiet and still, it creates an atmosphere tailor-made to hear the Lord. After all, if worship is a response, we have to have something that we’re responding to.

After breakfast (and a shower!) I was ready for worship in the presence of the Lord’s saints. During the opening music, I kept seeing myself at the foot of the cross, offering my heart to Jesus my Savior. As one of the elders prayed, I found myself pleading alongside him, asking for the presence of the Holy Spirit to overwhelm this place. The Word was so alive during the sermon; it sounds strange, but I could see it working among the body. Always, always the cross was at the forefront of my mind.

When the service was over, one of the worship leaders came over to me and shook my hand, saying, “It’s great to see you today. I love worshiping with you. I always keep looking over at you, because I can see you right there – at the foot of the cross, giving your all to Christ. And it takes me there”

We were all made to worship our Maker, our Savior, and our Counselor. And He made the church to be His own. We are designed to love the Lord, and He speaks through us to lead one another closer to His beauty and holiness. In heaven, when we meet our Lord face to face, the bonds of eternal worship will unite us. The Bride will be joined in holy union with her Beloved Savior, praising His name forever and ever. And we can only prepare ourselves by keeping the cross at the very center of our worship.

Let our body be pleasing to You, Lord. Hear our praises as we come together, joined by the awesome power of Your name, and the blood of Christ our Savior, shed at the cross, where our worship is made whole.

O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness; tremble before and reverently fear Him, all the earth. Psalm 96:9

His intention was the perfecting and the full equipping of the saints (His consecrated people), [that they should do] the work of ministering toward building up Christ’s body (the church), [That is might develop] until we all attain oneness in the faith and in the comprehension of the [full and accurate] knowledge of the Son of God, that [we might arrive] at really mature manhood (completeness of personality which is nothing less than the standard height of Christ’s own perfection), the measure of the stature of the fullness of the Christ and the completeness found in Him. Ephesians 4:12-13

Let us rejoice and shout for joy [exulting and triumphant]! Let us celebrate and ascribe to Him glory and honor, for the marriage of the Lamb [at last] has come, and His bride has prepared herself. Revelation 19:7