Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Hill Workout

Yesterday I was scheduled for a hill workout. Since it's summer, it's up to me to pick the hill and the reps. I like a good challenge so I picked a teaser - the first 250 meters or so is really steep, and then it levels off for about 50 meters. Then there's another 200 meters at a slightly more gradual incline until you get to another 25 meters level, and then yet another 250 meters to the top. It's tough, and I'm sure all the people who live in those houses think I'm nuts as I run up and down and up and down.

Every time I reach the top of the hill, I pause for just a moment. I look down and soak in what I just did. I feel strong and secure. And yesterday, for some reason, I kept singing "Only me, on my knees, singing holy,holy, and somehow, all that matters now is you are holy,holy"

When I was at the bottom, looking up, I was still singing "Only me, on my knees, singing holy,holy, and somehow, all that matters now is You are holy,holy" On my way home, I was thinking about going up and down and trying to find the strength to do one more, the reluctance to leave the top and head down, only to work my way back up again. I realized that my walk with the Lord is like that. He blesses us in provision, in strength, and security, but He also tests us. Whether we are in a season of comfort, or a season of trial, God is there and carrying us along. But all that matters is that He is faithful, sovereign, and holy.

Lord, I love how You use routine parts of my day to draw attention to Your holiness, to Your being set apart and having set me apart. I love being drawn to worship who You are Lord, and I pray for more of You in my life very day. Amen

"Heaven is a place where God’s holiness is seen fully and that holiness causes such a response that all of heaven can’t help but worship. To be caught up in worship on earth is only a primer of what awaits us in heaven" David Whitehead

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. Psalm 23:4

Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under his wings. Day and night they never stop saying: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.” – Revelation 4:8

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Nothing Is Impossible

I was praying tonight, and a simple bridge from a song kept playing over and over in my head:

Nothing is impossible, nothing is impossible, nothing is impossible for You

The more I though about it, I realized that that phrase has two meanings. The first is the one that I most often think of, “there is no thing that is impossible; there is nothing that you can’t do”. But the second meaning is the one that really caught me. Put in more words, it says, “it is impossible for nothing to happen”

Think about it. When you surrender yourself to Jesus and decide you want to be under God’s will, things are going to change. Everything – what you do, what you like, what you want, the very depths of who you are. It is impossible for you to be under grace and stay exactly the same as before. You will not be perfect, you will fall, but you will not remain unchanged. I look at people like my grandfather, who is now as social as can be and finds joy in a men’s Bible study and plays Christian music in his car. I look at my friend Brian, who went from too proud to care to humbly accepting defeat and finding victory not in himself, but in Christ. And I think of myself, who is moving further away from self-centeredness every day.

All of our sin is disease. It is brokenness. But the Lord is our Healer. He is Rapha , God Who Heals. His name is Jesus.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

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

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. 1 Peter 2:24

For with God nothing shall be impossible. Luke 1:37

But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26

Friday, June 24, 2011

Longing For The Lord

When I work the opening shift at work, I like to play the satellite radio station "the message" in the hour I'm there without any customers. Starting my day in worship helps me get into the right state of mind for the day.

This morning, the familiar beats of Matt Maher's "Your Grace Is Enough" came through the sound system. This is one of my favorite songs, and I have often found comfort in the verses it is inspired by. I was going about my duties when the Lord shot a question at me: "Do you believe that?"

It is one thing to stand and say "Your grace is enough for me", but another to live as if you actually believe it is true. If I truly believed God's grace were enough for me, all day every day, I would never pursue anything that was outside of His plan. I would never look to anything that wants to tell me otherwise. There are so many dark forces that try to tell us that God's grace is not enough. The enemy wants us to believe that we have needs that the Lord just can't fill. He wants us to think that we need more money or a promotion or a boyfriend or whatever because going after those thing will keep us from surrendering ourselves to the work of Christ's Kingdom. Evil is no match for our God, and through the Holy Spirit, God lives in all who call on the name of Jesus. So if we wholeheartedly believed that God's grace was enough, we would see revival in the church; we would begin to see more of the glory of the Lord here on earth.

It is an every day conscious decision that we must make. We must choose to say that the blood of Jesus is enough to keep us from our sin and our desires. We must decide to see the glory, honor, power and truth of God in our lives at a greater level every day. We have to reject in Jesus' name all that tries to keep us from running into our Father's open arms. We must seek the Lord with all of our hearts, because then will we find Him.

O Lord, how I long for more of You and Your glory and majesty in my life. I pray You would remove the corners of my heart that are devoted to causes other than Your Kingdom and power. Fill them, Lord, with Your great love instead and let me by satisfied with the amazing thing called grace. Amen

You will call to Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for me with all you heart. Jeremiah 29:12-13

I will praise thee, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will shew forth all thy marvellous works. I will be glad and rejoice in thee: I will sing praise to thy name, O thou most High. Psalm 9:1-10

The Prayer Closet

It is so important for me to have a special sacred place where I can visit the Lord and not be distracted by any of life’s demands. Before I went to college and my sister swapped rooms with me, it was a literal closet, albeit one that had no door. Now, though, it is under a tree at a nearby park. I can’t really explain why it’s that tree or how it became the place; I was just drawn to it. Every day, rain or shine, I spend some time there, worshipping, digging into the Word, and making my requests known to God.

Today, I was full of hurt and sadness, and came to God for healing and confirmation of His promises. The Lord spoke so clearly into my heart the unfailing nature of His love and faithfulness. He told me that even when I can’t see, I have to believe He is leading me, working in my life, and healing the brokenness that overwhelms by soul.

Lord, my soul is overwhelmed. Never before have I realized how thick this tension is. Lord, I believe that You heal, and I believe You make my paths straight, and I believe You are in control. And I have such immeasurable joy in the truth of Your promises, Father. I rejoice in all of Your blessings, including those that come with temporary burdens and pains. I love who You are; I surrender myself at Your feet. I trust that You are good and You are in control. But still, I weep. I long for my sister and parents to really know You. They are chasing things that will never satisfy them. They are looking for Your comfort, perfection and stability in flawed people and pursuits. They are blind, yet think they can see, Lord. They are deaf but are content to move through live without joyful music of triumph. Lord I simply cannot go any further like this. Relieve me of my burden and carry me. Savior, I lift up to You this weight on my heart, all that is distracting me from Your glory. I give You my life Lord to with what You will. Not my will Father, but Yours. Whatever it takes, Lord, whatever it takes for continual praise to stream from my lips, for Your grace to radiate Your Spirit inside me. Inhabit me, Lord. My life is of no value to myself for I do not do what is good. Lord, You are all that is good. Take my life and use it to further Your Kingdom and Christ’s glory. Forever I will worship You. You are my everything, Lord, and at every point in my live, You are faithful, strong and true. With boldness I humbly receive in Christ my Savior, Amen.

Hearken unto this, O Job: Stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God. Job 37:14

For if, when we were enemies, we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement. Romans 5:10-11

The Lord appeared to him from far away. I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore, I have continued to extend faithful love to you. Jeremiah 31:3

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Let's imagine for a minute that I told you I wanted to be a better runner. I figured out a training schedule, put on some nice running shorts and laced up the latest shoes. But when it was time to run I said that I was too tired or I didn't feel like it. Every day it was a different excuse until race day. I make it to the finish line, but I'm disappointed with my time. Obviously, I didn't do well because I wasn't willing to put forth the effort. I wanted to be a great runner but I didn't want to work like one.

That's the big problem with a lot of our modern churches. They are selling this Christianity that tells us we can get dressed and show up and that we will see the fullness of God's glory. We can get one of those nice looking Bibles for our coffee tables and come to church on Sundays and that's good enough. But God doesn't have good in mind. He has great. He has perfection. He has wonders. He has majesty. And if we aren't earnestly, actively seeking the Lord, we won't know Him. We will not see His hand in our lives. We will not see His joy; we will not recognize His blessings during the fire. We cannot accept a comfortable Christianity that does not expect us to take up our crosses and die to ourselves. We cannot be content to flounder when our God died so that we might flourish.

This summer, I've adopted a motto for my cross country training: RED (Run. Every. Day.) You know what else is red? Grace. Salvation. Love. The blood of Jesus has been poured out for every single one of us; the cross etched so deeply into all of our hearts. Christ died that we might live not in ourselves, because that's what we were already doing. And we were doing a pretty miserable job of it; sin had darkened our hearts and clouded our lives. But Jesus came so that in Him we could live and move and have our being. In God's grace we have life. In His blood we have overcome the powers of darkness. If we seek Him, we will see a greater purpose in our lives. If we strive to know the Lord, we will find victory in who He is.

But we can't take the cross for granted, or think of it as some nice symbol for church walls and jewelry. The cross is the greatest paradox in history - because in its pain we find life; its ugliness is what makes it so breathtakingly beautiful. We must chase after God the same way He has chased after us, seeking Him every day and allowing Him to challenge us with His incredible will for our lives. And then we will find that we have overcome.

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. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father’s, and of the holy angels.Luke 9:23-26

Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. 1 Corinthians 9:26

And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. Revelation 12:11

Saturday, June 18, 2011

This Is Our God

Last night, after a really long day, I was reading the book of Job and instantly found myself with tears in my eyes, revelling in the nature of the God we serve.

Job was a righteous man, and had found favor in the eyes of the Lord. But Satan wanted to see him curse His God. God wanted to show that Job really was faithful, so he allowed for poverty and famine and disease to strike Job and his family. But instead of cursing God, Job praised Him ( Job 1:20-22). Sure, there was a lot of questioning, but never did Job turn from His God.

A lot of people look at the book of Job and think that God must be so ruthless to allow such horrible things to happen to His children. I was thinking about it, and the ways of the Lord in general. Think about it, when you pray for patience, God doesn't suddenly make you patient; He gives you opporunities to exercise patience. So if Job wanted to be a faithful servant in the ways of the Lord, God wasn't going to just tell Satan, "No,he's faithful, just let him be". God wants to test us, because without tests and challenges we do not change. We cannot be closer to the Lord and more like Jesus our Savior if God never shows us how to do that. So when the Lord was testing and trying Job, He was really blessing him.

And then I kept going. I thought about times I've been tested by God, and how praising God for who He is revealed more of His Spirit in my life. I thought about the magnitude of His greatness, glory, and love that He would inspire such praise and servanthood.

This is our God: the One who formed the seas and the mountains, the One who redeemed a nation and brought a people to safety. The One who rescued His prophets and commanded praise in all situations. The One who was born among animals, the One who was followed and then mocked, the One who lived in submission to His Father, the One who stretched out and died in shame on a tree. The One for whom followers risked and continue to risk all honor, pride, and life. The One who is coming for all who call on His name and will wipe all tears from their eyes, erasing the darkness and establishing the rule of Light and Truth on earth. This is our God.

I would seek unto God, and unto God would I commit my cause: Which doeth great things and unsearchable; marvellous things without number: Who giveth rain upon the earth, and sendeth waters upon the fields:set up on high those that be low; that those which mourn may be exalted to safety. Job 5:8-11

Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty: For he maketh sore, and bindeth up: he woundeth, and his hands make whole. He shall deliver thee in six troubles: yea, in seven there shall no evil touch thee. In famine he shall redeem thee from death: and in war from the power of the sword. Thou shalt be hid from the scourge of the tongue: neither shalt thou be afraid of destruction when it cometh. destruction and famine thou shalt laugh: neither shalt thou be afraid of the beasts of the earth. Job 5:17-22

Thursday, June 16, 2011

I Need A Savior

To say that, to admit my need for help, is something very hard for me. I have been little miss "let me do it myself" since I was little. I was the early walker, the crib escapee, the early reader; I joined future problem solvers club the first chance I had; I've been known as the person with the answers. When something's wrong, I want to fix it, and I want to do it myself. I'm incredibly stubborn, and have some perfectionist qualities, which is what makes me good at certain things I do and have done in my life. But it has also cultivated this fear of failure, and to me, asking for help is part of failure.

But the more I read about the standard that God set for His people from the very beginning of time, the more I realize how screwed we all are. I mean, there is just no way anyone can keep the Ten Commandments. No one can follow all of the ways of the Lord, and Jesus certainly didn't make it easier with the broadening of adultery to include lust, and murder to also mean anger. James 2:10 says that if we keep the entire law but stumble at just one point, it is as though we have broken it all.

Do you know how people used to get in God's graces before Jesus? They had to make offerings. Sin offerings, peace offerings - there was a blood requirement. Leviticus, especially chapter 16 and 17, as I've blogged before, makes this all very clear. It was an incredibly vicious cycle. People would sin, so they would slaughter and sacrifice, and then things would be good for awhile, but inevitably they'd fall again, and there was more killing and then more stumbling and it just never stopped. Being that we serve an incredibly gracious and loving God, He Himself decided to step down. Jesus, who was when the world was created, and will be when it ends, decided that we were worth His love. As an artist is very proud of her creations, as a father is protective of his children, so was the Lord. We were worth His pain, His suffering, His mocking, HIs life.

And it gets more amazing than that. If you read the Old Testament, I mean, really read it, it is blatantly obvious that Jesus was always going to come, that there was always going to be one name, one person, one Savior to rescue and redeem a people. From the beginning our God knew that we would need a Savior; we'd need the blood of the Lamb as a perfect sacrifice. Jesus did what all of those sin offerings could not do. He filled a need before we ever knew we had it.

For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have appointed it to you to make atonement on the altar for your lives, since it is the lifeblood that makes atonement. Leviticus 17:11

For a child will be born for us, a son will be given to us, and the government will be on His shoulders. He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. The dominion will be vast, and its prosperity will never end. He will reign on the throne of David over his kingdom, to establish and sustain it with justice and righteousness from now on and forever. The zeal of the Lord of Hosts will accomplish this. Isaiah 9:6-7

There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to people by which we must be saved. Acts 4:12

For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. Romans 10:13 (Joel 2:32)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Come Away

I believe that God speaks to us in many was. He speaks through other people, the Bible, nature, musice, dreams...I'm going to plug Hearing God 30 Different ways because I think it is one of the most important devotionals of our time. It helped me really grasp the depth of the love and desire the Lord has for us.

This morning, I heard a voice sinigng to me, "Come away with me; come away with me" What a beautiful invitation! One of the reasons I love Jesus Culture's music so much is because it zeroes in on the spiritual realm. Their songs are just dripping with the anointing of the Holy Spirit. When I heard this track this morning, I finished it in my head, "open up your heart and let Me in" Do you hear that? The Lord God wants us to "come away" with Him, and let Him inside of us.

Lord, I am humbled by Your desire to reign inside of me. It's amazing that you would die to be able to do that. When Jesus took to the cross, it ushered in the rule of grace. It is You, wanting to not just be in our lives, but to be our lives. Every day, I want to be ready to accept your invitation to come away with You. Amen

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. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.
Matthew 11:28-30

Friday, June 10, 2011

100th Post!

I didn't even realize it when I was writing it, but I had already decided to copy a prayer from my journal last night. I'm really amazed at all God has done in my life, and how many stories I've heard of how He's touched all of you readers. The Lord has been revealing Himself to me in ways I can't keep quiet.

Sometimes I tremble, Lord, when I read Your word. You are so present. I am in awe when I I see You faithfulness from the old covenant to the new. Reading a verse and then seeing it come to life serves to remind me of how spectacular Your plan for Your creation really is. God, I love You. I love not having to be worried about my words sounding "right" to You, Lord. I can say whatever comes to mind, and I know You gladly hear me. I'm so happy in Your presence, Lord; I can feel Your overwhelming love and joy. And then I cry, Father, because of Your beauty. Beauty that's made even more wondrous through pain - like Jesus on the cross. That cross is etched to carefully into the entire world, and my own heart. That kind of love just has no comparison. You, Lord, are wonderful, and with all that I am I will praise You, in every way I know how. By Your grace and the blood of the Lamb, Amen

And these are the verses that inspired me ( I was reading them in French, but I'll be nice and give you the English )

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. Psalm 100:4

Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, 12 saying with a loud voice: “ Worthy is the Lamb who was slain To receive power and riches and wisdom, And strength and honor and glory and blessing!” And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying: “ Blessing and honor and glory and power Be to Him who sits on the throne,
And to the Lamb, forever and ever!” Revelation 5:11-13

Isn't is incredible to see how we're told to praise the Lord, and then in the end, that's exactly what we all do?!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Arms That Hold The Universe

Yesterday, I went out for a nice, short, easy run. It was hot and wicked humid, but I was kind of relazing into it. On my way home, I heard a woman yelling; she was walking 5 dogs, and one of them was about to run into the street. I was right there, so I went to go keep it from getting run over, so the little dog of course ran the opposite direction. Once it realized I was trying to catch it, it darted off, leaving me sprinting after this stranger's dog. I can still make out her cries - she's almost hysterical at this point - and I am getting tired. But, I finally catch the dog and have to back track quite a ways to reach the woman. And, naturally, I am significantly further away from home. But that woman was so thankful that I found her dog for her; when she hugged me it made it all worth it because I saw how much that animal was loved and valued by her. I don't like dogs or animals all that much, but to her, this was incredibly important.

And I thought about how precious we all are in the eyes of the Lord. Even those most unreached, most blind to the Truth, running the furthest and fastest away from Him, He wants. He so desperately wants to lead us, to have us trust Him as our protection and our source. He wants to take care of us, He wants us to be obedient. We are so blessed, so privileged to rest in Jesus' arms for eternity. Those arms that stretched out on that rugged cross are the same arms that are holding You and I. The hands that crafted every mountain are the ones reaching for us now. The eyes that crafted the sunlight and the autumn leaves are watching out for us.

And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found. Luke 15:31-32

For I, the LORD your God, will hold your right hand, Saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you. Isaiah 41:13

Thursday, June 2, 2011


You've probably noticed I don't post as often now that I'm home. That would be because although I have me laptop, I don't have a way to connect it to the internet here. Thus, we have one computer for 4 people, 1 of which is my sister, who besides being incredible social, is also currently taking an online class. (Read:computer hog lol)

But anyway, moving on. I had off work today, and I'm getting really excited about seeing Needtobreathe and Taylor Swift in concert next week. Since I like Needtobreathe's music, but didn't know much about the band, I decided to do some research. I'd always been intrigued by their name, and I wanted to know where it came from. It's from a story that one of the members had heard as a kid. It’s about Socrates, that he was teaching students along the water. One of his kids asked, ‘how will I know if I am really seeking after God?’ Rather than answering, they’re down at the water, he dunked the kid’s head in the water and wouldn’t let him up. When he did, gasping for air, Socrates said, ‘When you want God as much as you need to breathe,you’ll know you’re really seeking after God.

When you want God as much as you need to breathe, you'll know you're really seeking after God. What a simple but incredibly strong statement. I also like that in the story, Socrates dunked his student's head under the water, because of all the water symbolism in the Bible. In one of my favorite Needtobreathe songs, it talks about the healing and protective waters of the Lord, "Even when the rain falls, even when the flood starts rising, even when the storms comes, I am washed by the water"

Let not the floodwater overflow me; Nor let the deep swallow me up; And let not the pit shut its mouth on me. Hear me, O LORD, for Your lovingkindness is good; Turn to me according to the multitude of Your tender mercies. Psalm 69:15-16

Psalm 63
O God, You are my God;
Early will I seek You;
My soul thirsts for You;
My flesh longs for You
In a dry and thirsty land
Where there is no water.
So I have looked for You in the sanctuary,
To see Your power and Your glory.

Because Your lovingkindness is better than life,
My lips shall praise You.
Thus I will bless You while I live;
I will lift up my hands in Your name.
My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness,
And my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips.

When I remember You on my bed,
I meditate on You in the night watches.
Because You have been my help,
Therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice.
My soul follows close behind You;
Your right hand upholds me.

But those who seek my life, to destroy it,
Shall go into the lower parts of the earth.
They shall fall by the sword;
They shall be a portion for jackals.

But the king shall rejoice in God;
Everyone who swears by Him shall glory;
But the mouth of those who speak lies shall be stopped.

Not A Fan

As some of you know, I'm one of the bloggers for A.Pure.Generation, which is Generations of Virtue's online resource specifically for teens and young adults. I recently wrote about an incredible book, Not A Fan by Kyle Idleman. Read it here.