Tuesday, August 30, 2011

My Friend Jesus

Today we had the first team hill workout of the year, and it was a combination of a couple classic workouts. It also lends itself to people going at their own paces.

Well, most of the guys finished before most of the girls (a few exceptions), but I was on my last one when a new friend, a freshman who I don't know all that well decided to lend encouragement. Now, everyone who was done was cheering from the sidelines, and even on the "recovery" parts. But this guy took it to a new level. He actually went down to the bottom of the hill with me and paced me, pushing me to run alongside him. It was a huge blessing to me, because hills are not exactly my forte.

I'm not sure if I've said it, but God can and does speak through other people - and not just believers, but nonbelievers too. In fact, some of those statements speak louder than if it were a brother or sister in Christ. Even though Alex is not currently submitted to Jesus as Lord, in God's sovereignty, Alex can still be used by his Creator and Father to send a message to another daughter.

God is not a passive force. Jesus is not the friend who watches from the sidelines, lending kind words and positive thoughts. He is the friend who is willing to go the extra mile and discard His own freedom in order to take on your suffering. It is so active! He literally takes on your pain, your exhaustion and replaces it with His strength and endurance. What a friend!

Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully. 1 Peter 5:7

No one has greater love [no one has shown stronger affection] than to lay down (give up) his own life for his friends.You are My friends if you keep on doing the things which I command you to do. I do not call you servants (slaves) any longer, for the servant does not know what his master is doing (working out). But I have called you My friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from My Father. [I have revealed to you everything that I have learned from Him.] John 15:13-15

Friday, August 26, 2011

Rug Burn On My Face

Ok, so it wasn't really rug burn, but I did have the imprint of the carpet on my forehead. Add that to my red and puffy eyes, and I was looking real attractive this afternoon (very thankful for a single lol).

So how does one end up with such a great look? From actually praying on your knees. There are so many ways that God communicates with us, and ways we in turn are communicating with Him, but there is something about having your face on the ground. It is you truly showing who is Lord of your life; it is showing your submission to a will that is not your own. It is service, it is humility, and it is worship. You can pray anywhere at anytime; when I can't sleep I pray laying down in bed, and when it's slow at work I pray as I roll silverware. And worship happens in so many forms - in appreciating nature, in running in thanks to the body God blessed me with, in standing with arms wide in praise. But the act of getting face down on the ground shows a worshipful devotion that is unmatched by any other position. When your face is on the ground, there is nothing to distract you from the voice of the Holy Spirit. It says, "Lord, I am listening to You. Teach me what to pray, that I may know your will. Speak to me, and I will serve You. You are great and I am not. You are strong and I am weak. You are the leader and I am Your follower"

I know I've talked to many people who've referred to prayer as getting on your knees, but who don't actually do it. For many today, it is a metaphorical term, not accompanied by a literal action. I think it's because somehow, we got the idea into our heads that submission is a bad thing. Michele Bachmann is taking heat for maintaining the biblical worldview of wives submitting to their husbands, and the idea of submitting ourselves to a holy God sounds nice, but not if we have to actually give up our plans and desires for His.

But think about it. If I have a personal relationship with the One who knows all, who made all, and can do all, isn't the best place for me to be under His wing? Why would I want to try to forge my own path? What could I possibly think I could have a better handle on?

To know Jesus as Lord is the most humbling and powerful place to be. But to hold back from Him is one of the biggest mistakes we tend to make. But to live lives wholly devoted and submitted to Him should be the daily desire of each of His followers.

“If Jesus is not Lord of all, He is not Lord at all” Hudson Taylor

Then shall they know [positively] that I, the Lord their God, am with them and that they, the house of Israel, are My people, says the Lord God, And that you, My sheep, the sheep of My pasture, are [only] men and I am your God, says the Lord God. Ezekiel 34:30-31

O come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker [in reverent praise and supplication]. Psalm 95:6

And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. Matthew 26:39

In loud voice they cried, saying, [Our] salvation is due to our God, Who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb [to Them we owe our deliverance]! And all the angels were standing round the throne and round the elders [of the heavenly Sanhedrin] and the four living creatures, and they fell prostrate before the throne and worshiped God. Revelation 7:10-11

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Honeymoon With Jesus

1 John 4:8 tells us that God is love. We know from the Gospels that Jesus is God. And 1 Corinthians 13 tells us what love is, and who God is.

But what's really amazing is that not only is the Lord, but He created us and the world out of love. And we were made to love Him, as well as each other (Mark 12:30). And do you know what else He created? Romance. He scripts perfect love stories for those who are willing to live by His ways. He is the Source, the Author of all romance and intimacy.

In marriage, romantic gestures can differ for each couple, but it's always appreciated. It's a pursuit, and it's enjoyment. But marriage is only a picture. It's an image of the love Christ has His own bride, the Church, of which all believers are members. So through the Holy Spirit, Jesus is the One constantly pursuing our hearts, providing us with love, joy, comfort, and peace. A husband might die for his wife, but Christ loved you before you were even born, so much so that He died to set you free (Romans 5:8) because God's own hand formed you and made you beautifully (Psalm 139).

All things considered, don't laugh at me when I tell you that today felt like a honeymoon with Jesus. I awoke and "I heard the voice, the voice of the One I love calling my name" (Klaus feat. Kari Jobe, "Running"). With only a single cross country practice on the schedule for today, it left the rest of my day free for a purposeful intimacy. I can hardly even describe it. To have the Lord, who is all powerful, who is sovereign and faithful to each and every one of us sitting there with me, for hours on end, as I poured out my heart, and listened to His! It was a truly deep knowing and sharing that has no comparison on this earth. I want to live in that place. God does have plans for me right now and other things that I need to do in order to follow Him, but that intimacy can be an every day thing. Maybe not all day every day, but He is always waiting for us.

The LORD has appeared of old to me, saying:“ Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you. Jeremiah 31:3

With my soul I have desired You in the night, Yes, by my spirit within me I will seek You early; For when Your judgments are in the earth, The inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness. Isaiah 26:9

For this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sin. 1 John 4:10

You will show me the path of life: in your presence is fullness of joy; at your right hand there are pleasures for ever more. Psalm 16:11

You have made known to me the ways of life; you shall make me full of joy with your countenance. Acts 2:28

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Come, Holy Spirit, Come

I just moved into my new room here at school, and I feel as though the Lord has blessed me with a single this year for a reason. Earlier this summer, I had a dream in which representations of the Holy Spirit, God the Father, and Jesus were clearing out my room for me. When they were done, Jesus put a "welcome" sign on the door, and they sat and waited for me on my bed. Since then I have felt a deeper intimacy with the Lord than ever before.

I was praying through my room as I unpacked and got situated, and was desperately crying out for the Holy Spirit's presence. I want people to come into this room and feel a connection to God, even if they don't recognize it. I want people to feel Christ's love, I want to feel it myself - I want to be overwhelmed by the Lord in this space and in my life. Over and over, I was repeating, "Come Holy Spirit, Come; Come, Holy Spirit, Come" and then I was drawn to my knees and found myself in tears, so completely aware of God's love for us and how terribly I need a Savior. It was then that I knew my cries had been heard. I walked in here again, and felt that pursuit that can only be Jesus Christ.

The Lord wants to be near to us, and that's why Jesus came. And when Jesus left, that's why He left us with the Holy Spirit - that we might experience His presence constantly. He loves when we ask for more of Him; the Lord delights in drawing near to us.

On my wall, I posted a sign that reads, "Why yes, the Holy Spirit does live here" It will remind me of God's presence, and will let guests know Who's in control here. And if nothing else, it will certainly be an interesting conversation piece.

Come, Holy Spirit, Come.

By the power of Jesus' sacrifice, we have the privilege of experiencing the presence of God on earth in the Holy Spirit. What a gift!

"Before we can ask David what it was like to slay the giant, to win the battles, he'll say, 'Tell me what it was like on earth to have the Holy Spirit living inside of you, giving you strength when you are weak'. We might say to Elijah, "What was it like to call down fire from heaven before the prophets of Baal and to raise that boy from the dead?' And I think Elijah might say, 'Yeah, he actually ended up dying again. You tell me what it's like to have God living inside of you. What was it like to live life on earth with the Holy Spirit giving you joy when you're depressed or giving you the power to overcome that sin in your life?' We might say to Moses, 'What was it like to follow the cloud by day and the fire by night? What was it like to meet with God on that mountain?' And Moses might say, 'I had to climb that mountain to meet with God. You tell me what it was like to have him dwell within you every day. What was it like to have the Holy Spirit giving you directions when you don't know what to do or where to go?'"
Kyle Idleman

Seek, inquire for, and require the Lord while He may be found [claiming Him by necessity and by right]; call upon Him while He is near. Isaiah 55:6

And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. John 14:16-18

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Do Everything

Yesterday was my birthday. I worked a 9-hour shift at a cafe/restaurant, and handed out complimentary homemade birthday treats to all the customers. Near the end of the day, one of my tables commented, "So for your birthday you get to serve people dessert?"

The most striking part of that question is "you get to serve" It got me thinking about a different level of servanthood - that part of being a servant is not just obliging, but actually delighting in what you're doing. By serving other people, we are serving and advancing the kingdom of heaven as established by Jesus our Lord. The very fact that we, by grace, are called upon to serve our God should make us tremble in awe.

This is the latest from Steven Curtis Chapman. In the early morning when I'm essentially by myself getting ready to open, I turn on the station The Message. I loved hearing this song, especially as I was doing mundane things like restocking sodas and writing the specials on the board. It's a great reminder that we should do everything to please God, for we are His creation.

So then, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you may do, do all for the honor and glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31

I APPEAL to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of [all] the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies [presenting all your members and faculties] as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship. Romans 12:1 (Amp)

Let each of you esteem and look upon and be concerned for not [merely] his own interests, but also each for the interests of others. Let this same attitude and purpose and [humble] mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus: [Let Him be your example in humility:] Philippians 2:4-5 (Amp)

For the love of Christ controls and urges and impels us, because we are of the opinion and conviction that [if] One died for all, then all died; And He died for all, so that all those who live might live no longer to and for themselves, but to and for Him Who died and was raised again for their sake. 2 Corinthians 5:14-15

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Here On Earth

The more time I spend dwelling on thoughts of God and how He relates to His people, the more amazed I am.

O Lord, how my sin has offended You. You hate my lies, my anger, my pride. It is intolerable to You. But, though I have so often rejected You, Your grace remains to be enough. Lord, how describably grateful I am for Your Son and the cross. Your truth pierces my heart, Lord. I was once held captive, but You have set me free, for Your name's sake, that You would enjoy Your creation to the fullest. I think that's what the world wants to lost sight of - that all of this is for Your glory. We're told it's about us. But it's not, and it never has been. You love us, You delight in usm but life is not about us. It is about You - Creator, Savior, Lord. Just as a painting cannot earn money or gain prestige, neither can I do anything on my own. I am the work of Your hand, Lord, and it is by You and for You all things are created. And for that I praise You, for Your lovingkindness is greater than life, and Your mercy endures forever. Holy Spirit, come, and resotre creaion; reconcile us to our Maker. Revive Your people, Lord. Let us rise up by kneeling down, and submitting ourselves to Your will. Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Let Your glory fill our hearts, let praise continuously stream from our lips as we cry holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty. Revive our souls. I know You are able. You are able, Lord, in all things. You give us abundant grace and abundant life, Lord, and I praise Your name for ever. And in Jesus' name I pray for revival, for Your glory, and Your reign. Amen.

Bryan and Katie Torwalt very recently (very, which explains the lame video) released a worship album called "Here On Earth". Many of the songs were written spontaneously as an outflow of the Holy Spirit during times of worship.

But mine eyes are unto thee, O God the Lord: in thee is my trust; leave not my soul destitute. Psalm 141:8

And now I am coming to you; I say these things while I am still in the world, so that My joy may be made full and complete and perfet in them [that they may experience My delight fulfilled in them, that my enjoyment may be perfected in their own souls, that they may have my gladness with them, filling their hearts]. John 17:13 (Amp)

Monday, August 8, 2011


I was raised by the same two parents my entire life, but my mother is the only biological parent. I’ve traveled across the country, gotten jobs, and registered for school and legally, my adoption status has never effected me.

Until today. I was sitting with the clerk as she reviewed my passport application and as she was getting ready to send it off she said, “What a minute. You have listed that your last name was once Davy”. “Yes”, I responded, “But my birth certificate says Finman because my stepfather legally adopted me” She then told me that if that was the case, I would need to present an adoption decree. I left the office wondering how on earth I was going to find a form that I had never seen in my entire life. After a brief conversation with my mom, who was at work, I was given a direction to a file. In that file was a series of county documents, court decrees, and letters from law offices: all the things that come with being adopted and having a legal name change.

Although I’ve always known about my biological dad, I had never seen the paperwork. As I looked at his signature, forfeiting all paternal rights, I completely broke down. It was the worst feeling of being unwanted by someone who is supposed to love me just because I’m his. And I know that he didn’t want me. He never wanted a family.

But then, in the middle of my darkness, I felt the Lord speaking to me, telling me that I was not an accident. He made me, and He knew me before I was born (Psalm 139). And He sent His Son to die for me while I was still a sinner (Romans 5:8). And in Christ, we are all adopted into one family; we are the children of God (Ephesians 1:5, 1 John 3, Galatians 3:26). It was in that moment that the same way that I had never really understood the effects of being adopted by my (step)father would have on me, I had never really comprehended the wonder of being adopted by a heavenly Father, and the tremendous sacrifice it took.

Lord, how I rejoice at my adoption in Your Son!What I have on earth is nothing that could ever compare to the glory You have lavished upon me, that You would look at me with gladness. I am in the best possible hands because I am in Your care!

My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. Psalm 139:15-16

Having predestined us into the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. Ephesians 1:5-6
Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. 1 John 3:1

Friday, August 5, 2011

Our Deliverer

Anyone else surprised I haven't written about the Rob Bell Love Wins controversy yet? I've been praying about it for a long time, and I'm finally ready.

When I initially read the book, I was aware of the allegations against it, but I wanted to hold it accountable to Scripture and Scripture alone. I found it to be inaccurate historically, scripturally, and linguistically. There were quotes taken (from the Bible and other theologians) out of context, words translated in the wrong form, Scriptures ignored, or re-interpreted to suit feelings rather than fact.

This summer, I've spent time reading a lot of the rebuttal books, including God Wins (Mark Galli), Christ Alone (Michael Wittmer), Erasing Hell: What God Said About Hell And The Things We Made Up (Francis Chan), and Is Hell For Real or Does Everyone Go To Heaven? (Tim Keller and others), and of course in prayer and God's Word. What I have come to realize is that we cannot afford to ignore the afterlife. We may say that eternity and what we think about it shouldn't effect how we live now, but it does. How we feel about "heaven, hell, and everyone who ever lived" plays into our ministry, our day to day lives, and our relationship with our Savior. It is unwise, and unbiblical to live as though heaven and hell are not real, eternal places.

We need to grasp the urgency: if we do not believe that those who do not call on the name of Jesus go to hell, then our sin is not a big deal. And if sin isn't really a problem, then the Cross was for nothing; there is no justice necessary. If God doesn't need justice, then the cross isn't really a sacrifice. If the cross wasn't a sacrifice, then Jesus is not love. And if Jesus is not love, how can love win?

At the cross, Jesus did what sacrificed lambs could not do (see Leviticus 16-17). He bore God's wrath, willingly, for us. He rose again, defeating the grave and setting the captives free. He is our Deliverer, and has set us free - from sin, from God's wrath, and from hell. Because of Christ, we are able to sit with our Lord and Maker forever and ever.

For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself. Philippians 3:20-21

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 2 Corinthians 3:17

And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: "The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. Romans 11:26

Monday, August 1, 2011


Maybe you’ve read the book Jesus Freaks, or heard other stories of people who devoted themselves sacrificially to Jesus Christ their Savior. Perhaps you know of Jim Eliot, who was eaten by the people he witnessed to, only for others to come back 20 years later to a people receptive to the Gospel, or Amy Carmichael who jumped at her “chance to die”. Well, until this weekend, they were just some incredible, inspiring stories to me.

I had a friend who I started hanging out with this summer. We went to Bible study with some of his friends and mentors, to a Hillsong concert. We talked about our lives, and found we even share the same life verses. We even thought about our futures, and thought that if God were to show us the way, that one day, we might court and maybe even get married. A little over a month ago, he responded to the Holy Spirit directing him towards Belarus, a place where evangelical Christianity is considered radical and illegal. After two weeks, one of the house churches they’d started was raided, and many of the leaders (including my friend) were imprisoned. On Friday, I got a phone call no one should ever have to hear about a 21 year old, passionate young man. The prison had been set on fire, and he died.

I wasn’t exactly surprised, as that morning I’d been reading verses about how the Lord delights in the death of His saints. But it’s still hard. I know he is so happy, and that he died in devotion to his Savior. Already, the remaining leaders have reported that the churches are growing tremendously. My friend will always be in my heart, and I will see him again one day, and we can praise our Lord face to face instead of in his pastor’s living room.

Knowing someone who literally gave his life to follow Jesus makes me want to go so much further. It makes me want to live with that total, complete, reckless abandon. He wrote a letter for me, left in his room in case he never came back, and he said from the first day he saw me he knew I loved Jesus, and always wanted more, just the way he did.

And I know that it is truly God’s grace that has propelled both of us in our lives. He is the one who not only makes us desire more, but is actually able to supply it. He is abundance, and we just need to step out of our comfort zones and come before His throne.

Lord, let me be brave. Your will does not include timidity. It is boldness, it is abundance, it is abandon. Lord, let Your love penetrate this heart and Your Spirit fill my soul. In Jesus’ name, Amen

The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. John 10:10

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7

For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. Romans 8:15