Thursday, March 31, 2011

Let The Walls Come Down

I'm reading through Joshua right now, and you're probably familiar with Joshua and the battle of Jericho. The Lord made them victorious by no strength of their own, but by His own power and sovereignty. Ephesians 2 also comes to mind; Jesus Christ brought down the wall between the Gentiles and the Jews. I think it's amazing that God doesn't want any walls to be between Him and His people, but also amongst His own people. The Holy Spirit is in all who are in Christ, so by knowing and loving each other, we love God and worship Jesus, who gave us that Spirit.

A wall came down in my life today; I was able to pole vault from a normal grip. I ran about 10 feet less than usual, but it actually helped because it showed me what my strength really is. To be bend a pole the way I did from a short step like that is a great thing. I'm so blessed my coach suggested that because when you're battling a mental block, the most important thing is to build confidence in any way you can. You just have to learn how to believe that you can do it, and small steps break down big barriers.

What I'm getting at is that there are walls in life. There are roadblocks. I think the Lord wants us to be able to trust Him to work through them. The more we believe in Christ's redeeming love, the more we see ourselves as God sees us. We have to know that we are cherished and strong in the Lord.

The healing begins when our walls are broken down by God's grace.

For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation Ephesians 2:14

Monday, March 28, 2011

Pull Me Through

I'm going through something not so fun at pole vault right now, but it's something a lot of us deal with at some point: vaulter's block. I do awesome drills, and look better than ever. I move back, and my run is so much faster than I've ever been. And then, I just don't jump off the ground. My coach went through this, and it was a similar issue - we're not used to having a faster run. I'm incredibly frustrated and disappointed, but he has been awesome. We were talking after practice and I said, "I just really want to work through this" and he said, "I want to get through it with you. I'm here for you and I know what you're capable of" I wish I could believe in myself as much as he believes in me.

And I realized how parallel this is to God in our lives. We all go through periods of struggle and resistance, but the Lord wants to work through us. His Spirit of love is all-consuming, and He really does desire the best for us. But He wants us to trust Him. He wants us to hear His voice and believe it. Christ gave everything we had so that we would be free from all things holding us captive. We need to be obedient to Him, and see what He sees in us, people worthy of dying for on a cross. He loved us and cherished us before we ever came into being, and we just have to trust that He knows what's good for us. Listen and go for it, that's what we have to do.

I have a great coach and friend wanting to pull me through this challenge of vaulter's block, and an even greater God ready to pull me through this challenge called life.

Lord God, I know You want to take me further than I think I can go. Let me pray boldly for the courage to do what You've called me to do. I know I'm not strong enough, but You are. In this, Your glory will be showcased and not mine, for I can not do this without Your Spirit. I love You more than life, and the symbols of Your faithfulness You've placed in my life. In Jesus Always, Amen

You in Your mercy have led forth, the people whom You have redeemed; You have guided them in Your strength to Your holy habitation. Exodus 15:13


Two years ago my grandfather gave his life over to Jesus after many struggles, doubts, and pains. 13 years ago, he went to see a specialist who told him he has Parkinson's. Parkinson's is a neurological disease that very slowly takes basic functions away. Each individual progresses in different ways and times; there is no time table and currently, no cure. He doesn't know what's coming next and small things can be very difficult for him, like tying his shoes or buttoning his shirt. But with the support of his family and church community, he is continuing to walk with the Lord and being continually changed by Jesus. He is so outgoing now and loves to greet everyone with a hug.

He has been wanting to share his testimony with his group study for awhile now, and it's time. Thursday, he will read it for his closest supporters. My grandma and I got a sneak preview; as I read it I was sobbing. I was so amazed at what God has done in his life. It was absolutely incredible. I know that the Lord has been preparing his heart for this very day, and that it will all go according to His perfect will. People are really going to be touched by this story, and I am so blessed that he is my grandfather. It is truly inspiring to see someone go through being absolutely miserable, and then be working through such a difficult disease, and still want to trust God and learn from Him through it all. He comes through at the perfect time.

I picked this song, because sometimes the greatest gifts can come through hardships. My grandpa said that a lot of his healing was learning it was ok to cry and be vulnerable. By being broken, he was healed. And in that, we can gain the confidence to approach God just when we need Him.

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:16

Sunday, March 27, 2011


I love reading through my old journals. It's so fun to see how much has changed over the years. I was a cheerleader, president of student council, in love with science, wanting to be an actress. All of these things are part of my past, but it doesn't look they're going to be a big part of my future.

Very few things have stayed the same throughout every single day of my life. In fact, only one thing has always always been there, and that's God. He watched me trying to learn about His Son, He saw me fighting against Him every now and then, and He's seen me striving to know Him more and be more like Jesus. There are days that I read that make me not like me all that much, and the Lord still relentlessly pursued my heart. He stood by me through everything, and I am amazed at the kind of love it takes to love a proud know it all control freak like myself. I'm even more amazed at how much He's been able to change me. I'm still learning so much, but I know the Lord will be there through it all. He's my constant

I was so foolish and ignorant; I was like a beast before You. Nevertheless I am continually with You; You hold me by my right hand. You will guide me with Your counsel, and afterward receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart fail; But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:22-26

Friday, March 25, 2011

Not One

I love a lot of things. I love reading, coffee, my family, my friends, pole vaulting, playing guitar, and hanging out with kids to name a few. But if I could only love one thing, it would certainly be the Lord.

I often find myself thinking about how much God loves us. He knows us before we are born and forms every single one of us. He knows the hair on our heads, and the plans He has for us. Not only did He make a whole world for us, He made it possible for us to dwell and rejoice with Him in His splendor forever. God knew we would fail Him, so He came up with a plan. He would step down from His throne, and walk His earth alongside us. He would show us what it means to love someone. Jesus' mission was to teach us what love looks like: it is patient and kind; it bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. It has no beginning and no end. Where is love more visible than on the cross, where the blood of the Lamb poured out with every shortness of breath.

There has never been and there never will be another love like this. It just doesn't exist. We don't even have the words to truly describe what it is. I mean, we don't really love Jesus the way we love coffee. We revere, adore, worship, praise, and bow down to Jesus and it is still not enough to capture everything He is and everything He's done for us. There is not one love, not one name, that is higher than that of our Lord and Savior.

Lord, You are the true love of my life. I wish there were another word that would more accurately capture what I mean when I say that. Love has come to be so many things, but in reality, You are love. You love me first, so I love You. Amen

We love Him because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19

There is no greater love than this, that someone would lay down his life for his friends. John 15:3

There is no salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. Acts 4:12

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Cross = Love

I was driven today to re-read part of The Case For Christ, by Lee Strobel. Which part, you ask? The part that describes how Jesus died.

First, Jesus was flogged in the typical Roman manner. The whip was made of braided leather thongs with metal balls woven into them, which caused bruises, and bone that would cut the skin. Often the spine would be exposed by the cuts, and muscles would be torn and produce bleeding flesh, causing death in the victims even before the crucifixion. But He survived,though in shock, which would progress the failure of His heart later on, and was laid down so that His hands were nailed to the horizontal beam of the cross. The spikes used were 5-7 inches long and driven through His wrists (in the language of the time, the wrists were part of the hand, in case you're checking me Scripturally). Imagine taking a pair of pliers to the nerve that is struck when you hit your funny bone and squeeze and crush it. Ouch! Once Jesus was hoisted vertical, stakes were driven through His feet, experiencing that same pain again, and by now His arms have been stretched 6 inches and both shoulders dislocated.

Now that He's on the cross, it is a slow death by asphyxiation. There is so much stress on the muscles and diaphragm that in order to exhale, Jesus had to push up on His feet so the tension in those muscles would be erased for a moment. When He did this, the nails would tear through His feet, locking up against His bones. Then, He would relax and take another breath in. But He had to push Himself back up to exhale, thus scraping His beaten and bloody back against the coarse wooden cross. He did this over and over until He couldn't any more. As His breathing slowed, the carbon dioxide in His blood is dissolved as carbonic acid, causing increased blood acidity. Then, His heart beat irregularly, giving Christ the awareness He was about to die. In Luke 23:46, He says, "Father, into Your hands I commit My Spirit", and breathes His last.

Death by crucifixion was so painful, that they had to make up a new word - excruciating - just to describe it. Every time I think about it, I am blown away by the lengths our God has gone to in order to reach us. It wasn't enough for Christ to bear God's wrath for our sins, but the physical pain He also had to endure. That's what love is. Going to the ends of the earth to bring freedom, peace, mercy, and redemption to all of us.

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

Sunday, March 20, 2011

I Belong, I Will Follow

This was the most effort I've ever put into a post! I actually made the video (and I've never made a video before. It's not fancy or even good. I'm a total novice...listen to the words, ignore the video quality.) just so you all could hear the song I've been obsessing over all day long. (If you're interested check out Foxes Have Foxeholes on facebook)

The theme of the song is that since Jesus bought us with a price, and God created all of us, we belong to Him. We should want to follow Him with reckless abandon.

God Almighty, I am so struck with awe of Your wonder, power, and love. To think that You who created me would come down to give Yourself as a ransom for my sin is just amazing. Oh Jesus, You did nothing wrong, yet You gave up Your life so that I may be brought into union with the Lord. You used Your blood to purchase my heart, and Lord, You certainly have captured me with Your mighty grace. God, I want to follow You. I want to go where You go, and where You need to be. I want everyone to know the love You have for all of us. My heart warms and my eyes brim every time I think about that kind of love, which is often. To You I give my heart and in You, I exist and have my being. You are worthy, Lord, of all of my praise and worship. Forever in Christ, Amen.

You shall be My people, and I will be your God. Jeremiah 30:22

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving. Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power. Colossians 2:6-10

Friday, March 18, 2011

Love of Lies vs Lasting Love

Shel Silverstein has a poem called Peanut Butter Sandwich. It features a king who is obsessed with the delicious nutty goodness. It's all he eats; his schools teach only how to make them; it's all his chefs can cook. One day, he eats one and his mouth gets stuck shut. For years, all of his servants and subjects work on getting his mouth open. When it finally does, the first thing he does it ask for a peanut butter sandwich.

How crazy is that?! The king gets the full consequences of his actions and once the problem is solved, he runs right back to the very thing that caused him so much pain and inconvenience. It doesn't make any sense.

Awhile ago, I read about the bondage that sin casts us into. We can see exactly how it's affecting us, but we still clamor into its lap because it feels good and is comforting in all its familiarity. It's odd because sin is a false comfort; it lies to us (Romans 1:25). It tells us it's ok and then leaves us with nothing but shame and guilt. But Jesus, He is the ultimate Healer, our Rock, our Peace. What He gives to us is matchless (John 14:27). We're holding onto a lie, when it's the Truth that will set us free (John 8:32).

What lies have we fallen in love with? Let us call on the name of our Savior, and feel the redeeming power of His lasting, saving love.

Dear Lord, You are our All in All. Let us forsake the comforts of this world that we might embrace the comfort offered by Calvary's grace. You must be our source of ultimate peace. You invite us in; let us come with reckless abandon, dropping the lies we've fallen into so that we might know Your saving love deeper every day. Amen

"And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, ‘You will be made free’?” Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed. John 8:32-36

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Real St Patrick

I am quite annoyed by the drunken shenanigans on campus today. I would like to properly honor the courageous missionary here in awe of his commitment to Jesus Christ and the saving grace of our Lord.

St. Patrick was actually English, not Irish. At the age of 16, he was captured by Irish pirates and sold into slavery in Ireland. During his time of imprisonment, he said, "It was there that the Lord opened the understanding of my unbelieving heart, so that I should recall my sins and turn with all my heart to the Lord my God.” After 6 years in slavery, Patrick managed to escape Ireland, but he decided to return to that place of some of his darkest hours as a missionary, bearing the light of Christ. He understood that the Irish people were slaves themselves, held captive to sin and were in desperate need of our Savior's redemption. During this time, many people were being put to death for preaching the Gospel, and Patrick himself was put in chains and tortured; still he boldly proclaimed the truth and love of God. Ireland responded greatly to the Word, and celebrated Patrick for leading them to the freedom of the Lord. It's important to know that they weren't really responding to Patrick himself, but the Holy Spirit working through him.

Lord, I thank you for the audacity of Your humble servants throughout time, and for the courage of Patrick. I thank you for working in him to lead so many into Your Kingdom. I pray You would reveal Yourself in our world today, and raise up ambassadors of Your grace and truth. Forever in Christ, Amen.

My eager expectation and hope is that I will not be ashamed about anything, but that now as always, with all boldness, Christ will be highly honored in my body, whether by life or by death. Philippians 1:20

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Cling To The Cross

I'm still trying to orient myself to where I am and what time it is after a break that took me in and out of different time zones, and that pesky daylight savings time. In 27 days, I'm leaving on another trip to see my friend get married, which means I'll be missing some school. I have a lot of work to do before that happens, and even outside of class there are Bible studies, worship, work projects, Sunday school lessons, relationships, and a whole host of other little things that are demanding my attention. It can be a lot to think about sometimes.

Which is why I've really been drawn to the idea of clinging to the cross. The word cling has this connotation of hanging on for dear life, of knowing that whatever you're hanging on to is your only chance for survival, comfort, and freedom. And that's what the cross of Christ really is. Our Lord is our source of salvation, our hope, our peace, our rest, our love, our redemption, our blessings, our care, our absolutely everything. The cross is our source of life, and that's certainly worth holding on to!

(Sorry, this video is quite corny, but it's the only one with the version I want)

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:25-26

And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Colossians 2:13-14

Monday, March 14, 2011

Quick Recap

I can safely say I just had the most incredible spring break of my entire life thus far. Right when I got to Memphis, we went out to dinner and they asked if I wanted to pray. After we said Amen, I had tears in my eyes. They asked what was wrong, and I said, "My family doesn't do this, it's a rare occasion at school, but I'm here with all of you, whom I love and who love the Lord with all they are". And that was only the beginning.

I spent a week talking with parents and kids about cultivating intimate relationships with Christ, surrounded by like-minded Kingdom brothers and sisters. By day we ministered, by night we fellowship-ed and workedin service to our Lord. On the road we read, sharing what we learned, and sang along to the music. I even got to help write Bible studies that are going to be published. I can't remember the last time I laughed so hard or felt that happy. Every day, my journal speaks of happiness and thankfulness.

When it was time for me to go, we of course prayed and hugged. When the girls held me extra long and whispered I love you, I had no idea how I was going to walk away. For a moment, I wanted to just pack up my stuff and move out to Colorado. Beloit? But as comfortable, safe, loved, and free I feel with my dear friends, it's not God's plan for me right now. My friend called every step of the way, and when I was finally home, she said, "We wish you were here, but only the Lord knows His plans for you, and you are needed where you are" Although I am coming out for her wedding in just 4 weeks, I already miss her and the rest of the crew. But I remember that this entire trip was one more of God's undeserved blessings and I am beyond grateful for it.

God, You are good and I am lifting my eyes from my bended knee. You have gifted me with so many precious blessings, the greatest of all being eternal life in Jesus Christ. You are and You were and You will be forever, and I thank You for caring about me and my future and my well being, and that of all your children. Amen

And we know that in all good things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile. Jeremiah 29:11-14

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Kingdom Sisters

Last summer, I spent 6 1/2 weeks in ministry with Generations of Virtue. People who have heard me talk about the experience know that it meant the world to me, and I can't even describe how grateful I am for the opportunity to share the glory of an intimate relationship with Christ with so many teens and parents. But even more than that, and personal growth, was the family I gained. People I knew for only a short time showed me such unconditional love, and love in abundance. Leaving there was so difficult, because I had no idea when I was ever going to see this new family again.

Well, tomorrow, I'm going to be seeing at least a few of them, and I can't believe it. It feels so unreal to me. I'm spending my spring break doing a few conferences with them, and it feels like the day before my internship all over again. Only this time, I know that I love them and it makes it so much sweeter.

The Lord has welcomed me graciously into His family, and it's a big one. Whether it's dinner, a walk, or an awesome Bible study with my girls here on campus or my beautiful GOV sisters, I know I have been blessed. We are sisters in Christ's Kingdom, and I simply say thank You to my Lord. (I have awesome Kingdom brothers too, but I've talked about that a little before!)

I know this song is technically for couples, but God did give me all of you!

I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now. Philippians 1:3-5