Friday, November 30, 2012

Interceding Before the Throne

Ezekiel 17:6, 24 

And it grew and became a spreading vine of low [not Davidic] stature, whose branches turned [in submission] toward him, and its roots remained under and subject to him [the king of Babylon]; so it became a vine and brought forth branches and shot forth leafy twigs.

And all the trees of the field shall know (understand and realize) that I the Lord have brought low the high tree, have exalted the low tree, have dried up the green tree, and have made the dry tree flourish. I the Lord have spoken, and I will do it.

I read these two verses and was immediately struck by what they imply as to what Christ has done for us and is doing for us daily at the throne of the Father. I journaled the following: 

I am a low branch, temporarily subject to certain matters of this world. But the promise I have in Christ is to be brought high. In Him. He has the victory; He is exalted. And He has secured my place in the heavenly courts. And what a marvel that is! The Great High Priest stands before the the throne of the Father and intercedes for me. Not only did He die for me, and raised me to life, but He lives ever to make intercession for me. Christ's death and resurrection were more than enough for me to never run out of praise for my King, but He is still accomplishing so much for me - DAILY. Not just every day that I live, but every day that He has lived at the right hand of the Father. That will always amaze me. 

The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office, but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. 
Hebrews 7:23-25 

Before the Throne 

Mary Did You Know

Time for another edition of Christmas Carols with Kate. 

I didn't hear this one until a couple of years ago; I have no idea who wrote it or when or who sang the original version, but I don't really care. I just love it! 

Mary Did You Know? 

Mary did you know that your baby boy would some day walk on water?
Mary did you know that your baby boy would save our sons and daughters?
Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new?
This child that you've delivered, will soon deliver you.

Mary did you know that your baby boy would give sight to a blind man?
Mary did you know that your baby boy would calm a storm with his hand?
Did you know that your baby boy has walked where angels trod?
And when your kiss your little baby, you have kissed the face of God.

Oh Mary did you know

The blind will see, the deaf will hear, the dead will walk again.
The lame will leap, the dumb will speak, the praises of the lamb

Mary did you know that your baby boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary did you know that your baby boy would one day rule the nations?
Did you know that your baby boy is heaven's perfect Lamb?
This sleeping child you're holding is the great I am

I love the cleverness of "This child that you've delivered, will soon deliver you", and all of the Biblical references throughout the song about who Jesus is to us. The song so perfectly captures His human nature - a baby who would be kissed by HIs mother - and who He is as Sovereign Lord - ruler of the nations, heaven's perfect Lamb. 

I have always loved what Mary says to Elizabeth after they were both found to be pregnant:

And Mary said,
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
47  and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
    For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
49 for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
    and holy is his name.
50 And his mercy is for those who fear him
    from generation to generation.
51 He has shown strength with his arm;
    he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
52 he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
    and exalted those of humble estate;
53 he has filled the hungry with good things,
    and the rich he has sent away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
    in remembrance of his mercy,
55 as he spoke to our fathers,
    to Abraham and to his offspring forever.” (Luke 1:46-55) 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Stay Stay Stay

So I'm packing, my packing playlists are always a little...special...ya know with Taylor Swift and Jamie Grace and DC Talk and Lecrae and Owl City and Big Daddy Weave and some other gems.

But I thought I'd take a minute to highlight my favorite Taylor Swift song of the new album, "Stay Stay Stay". I think it's super funny because that the beginning, she says that her and her guy had a fight and she threw her phone at him. Then the next morning, when they went to talk about it, he came in wearing a football helmet. Ha! He was prepared that time.

Stay, Stay, Stay

This is my favorite part

You took the time to memorize me my fears my hopes and dreams
I just like hanging out with you all the time
All those times that you didn't leave it's been occuring to me I would like to hang out with you for my whole life

I think it's super cute. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Less Fun Side of Being a Senior

I keep trying to edit my last big paper of the semester. 6 of 16 pages are done, but progress is slow.  I am slowly reformatting citations and checking for typos and adding certain sentences and deleting others. It's annoying. I have another minor paper that I need to finish (aka start). And I just bought books for spring 2013. I haven't bought books in a long time...since spring 2011 really (I don't count the $1 French novels for fall 2011), and that was expensive. Slightly less expensive than it could have been, thanks to amazon and kindle, but still.

I am also applying for three different kinds of jobs, and that's making my head spin. I am overqualified for the kind of job I need (seasonal employment...aka Boston Store) and under-qualified for the kind of job I want (my grown up post grad job). In between that is trying to find a campus job, which is annoying because Beloit does a fail job of keeping that section of the website up to date; I email for an application and find the position has already been filled. Ugh.

It would help if I knew what kind of job I wanted. I have applied to Frontline Missions, Samaritan's Purse, World Vision, and various publishers. I feel like I'm grasping at thin air.

I want to go back to village life, when everything was simple.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Joy to the World

Even though I start regularly listening to Christmas music in October (and really, you can always count on hearing the occasional carol from my itunes throughout the year), I have respectfully waited until just one month out from Christmas to start talking about my favorite Christmas songs. I know the "December 1st" people will be upset, but the "first snow", "after Thanksgiving" and "one month" guidelines have all been met so boo on you. 

I have loved Joy to the World for as long as I can remember. It's been a favorite for a long time, and I got to sing it tonight with a lovely family...and snow on the ground! Just a little, but still. 

  1. Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
    Let earth receive her King;
    Let every heart prepare Him room,
    And heav’n and nature sing,
    And heav’n and nature sing,
    And heav’n, and heav’n, and nature sing.
  2. Joy to the earth, the Savior reigns!
    Let men their songs employ;
    While fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains
    Repeat the sounding joy,
    Repeat the sounding joy,
    Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy.
  3. No more let sins and sorrows grow,
    Nor thorns infest the ground;
    He comes to make His blessings flow
    Far as the curse is found,
    Far as the curse is found,
    Far as, far as, the curse is found.
  4. He rules the world with truth and grace,
    And makes the nations prove
    The glories of His righteousness,
    And wonders of His love,
    And wonders of His love,
    And wonders, wonders, of His love.

Friday, November 23, 2012

I Am Free

Pastor Richard Wurmbrand spoke of Jesus in Communist Romania, and paid dearly for it. He spent 14 years in prison, being tortured on a regular basis. He lived in silence, with no books and nothing to write with, not even a cellmate to talk to. He composed over 300 sermons while in prison, committing them to memory using rhymes and other memorization strategies. He spent his first hours after being released just writing them all down so he would not forget.

Richard Wurmbrand also wrote a number of books. I am reading Alone With God, and he shares his thoughts from his cell. In one breath taking line, he talks about freedom:

I do not desire to be free. I am free.
That blew me away. Here is a man with no freedom - he doesn't get to make any choices except what goes through his mind, and he is at the mercy of his torturers. And yet, he is so sure of who God is and what Christ has done, that even in a Communist prison, he can say, "I am free"

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Why Don't I Call?

I spend a lot of time not at home, and this year, a lot of time not at school. I have friends and family that I love. I like when they call me and we talk. It's nice. But I rarely just pick up the phone and call someone.

I have an idea or two as to why.

The first is that I am not a gifted conversationalist. I sit there and well, just sit. I often reach for something to say, even in person, so the phone amplifies my problems. For me, it's enough just to be with someone, which doesn't work so well over the phone.

The second is that I like knowing people are there but it is enough just to know they exist. My dad, mom, sister, friends, aunts/uncles, grandparents...I like knowing they're there. And again, if they call me, we talk, and it's nice.

The third reason is maybe just my age. I like spending time in different environments with different people figuring out what I think about what's going on in my life and the world I'm living in. Sometimes hearing familiar voices makes me seek their approval in a way that's not necessarily healthy. I change what I think to fit what I think they want me to say. I'm a pleaser.

So...if knowing I exist is not enough for you, it's ok to call, but I probably won't call you unless expressly asked. I like floating in and out of places right now - checking in, hugging, staying up late talking, and then packing up for what's next. Maybe that'll change, maybe it will have to, but I like my life right now.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


I'm going to go through the alphabet with thing that I'm thankful for. I'm not going to try to over spiritualize this; I want to be honestly grateful for the many many blessings in my life. I am most thankful for my salvation, given freely by God through His Son, Jesus Christ. Everything else is just an added bonus

Autumn. Cool weather, pretty leaves, and pumpkin spice americanos

Beloit College. It deserves its place in the book Colleges That Changed Lives. It gave me opportunities I couldn't have even dreamed of, and in the process, it has indeed changed my life. Not to mention the incredible mentors and friends it's given me for the ride.

Children. My aunt has 3 adorable little ones, and I've spent some time this fall around some cool kids. I love their playfulness and their confidence. They're not afraid of what you might think of them. And I especially love the things they say when it comes to God sometimes. Love it.

Destiny. The fact that I have one, that God has a plan in my life.

Enthusiasm. I love when I go somewhere - to the library, the tolls, the coffee shop - and the person working is enthusiastic about her life. I love when people get excited about whatever it is they do, even if it's just walking their dog.

Family. Both the family I was born with, and the families I've been given. Although we have our problems at times, I am so thankful for the way I was raised. I am thankful for my two families in Senegal - the Samb family, and the Sine family. They showed me such hospitality and kindness earlier this year. I am thankful for my GOV family, east and west.

Girlfriends. I went from being the girl with few friends because I was so introverted, to having so very many girls I can depend on and trust. They are smart, compassionate, enthusiastic, and a hundred other things.

Health. I don't have any serious health problems. Perhaps even more amazing, I didn't get malaria this year. That is something to be seriously grateful for.

Imagination. Mine is not the best, but it makes me appreciate it that much more. I love seeing these crazy ideas come out of people, like Ian Watt at

Jessica. She is family, so maybe this is a repeat, but I am so grateful for her. I cannot believe how far she's come in just this year. Even if she does call me when I'm dead asleep, I still love her.

Knowledge. The fact that there's always something more to learn, and a way to learn from every other person we meet.

Lecrae. I'm listening to him right now, and his lyrics blow me away every time. I'm thankful for the influence he has, and his willingness to grow.

Moms. Mine, because she manages to put up with me, and mothers in general because the have one of the hardest, but most amazing jobs in the world.

Newness. Beyond thankful that I am a new creation.

Open Doors. An organization, that started with Brother Andrew, that smuggles Bibles to the underground church around the world. Amazing. I'm so thankful for their courage, their faith, and their devotion to the gospel.

Pumpkin. I love pumpkin everything. I'm so grateful someone looked at the hard exterior and figured out it was delcisious and can and should be put in EVERYTHING
Quiet mornings with Jesus and coffee. mmmmyalla bax na

Reading. I love books. I'm reading Equipped to Love and Light Force right now. Both highly recommended.

Salvation. I couldn't resist putting this in here. I love "Under Grace" by Darlene Zschesch, when she says, "I am forever grateful for my salvation/Washing over all my sin/You are washing over all my sin"

Twigs to Branches, our J127 band name. I love everyone I got to spend this semester with and was so blessed by experiencing life together.

Unwhiches. Because sometimes I just don't want bread.

Violin. Even though I don't play much anymore, I'm grateful I learned. It opened up new spaces in my mind, and it made learning guitar (and piano) so much easier.

Wisdom. I have had some very wise people pouring into my life, and sharing what they've learned. Not to mention that I have finally come around to the book of Proverbs.

Xadi, xarit, xam and all the other Wolof words that start with X. Maybe this is cheating, but I don't care. I loved learning Wolof this year, and the way it feels in my mouth.

Young women in CCM, like Dara Maclean, Kari Jobe, and especially Jamie Grace ;)

Zest. And all the people who add it to my life.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Healing My Faithlessness

I will heal their apostasy;
    I will love them freely,
    for my anger has turned from them. Hosea 14:4

“Return, O faithless sons;
    I will heal your faithlessness.”
“Behold, we come to you,
    for you are the Lord our God. Jeremiah 3:22

God's faithfulness has been among my favorite of His attributes for quite some time. I love how He was working for our good long before we were even created. Mimi talked one day about how our Father knew that His beloved people would sin, and Jesus said He would come down as our ransom. She teared up as she said it, and when I think about it, so do I. Isn't it incredible? Our God was faithful to us, when He knew that we would not be faithful to Him.

That's why I LOVE Hosea's story. Hosea loved his bride even though he knew she was already bonded with so many other men. She had not been at all faithful to him, yet he remained faithful in that faithlessness. It's easy to love someone when they love you back - when they give you all of their attention and affection and tell you why they love you, all the things that make you great. She was hard to love. 

And so are we. 

True, devoted, constant and loyal. These are synonyms for faithful. The Lord is devoted to us. Doesn't that seem strange? Unbelievable? But praise Him, for it is true indeed. Before time began, He loved us, and continues to love us with that everlasting love. Christ died for us, and lives ever to make intercession for us. 

But I think it gets even crazier. Because even after Christ died, we did not become intensely faithful. We are not loyal and true and ultimately devoted to our King. But the Holy Spirit is making us new. He transforms us. And part of that is enabling us to love God. He is healing our faithlessness by drawing us closer to God. He pulls our hearts in and causes us to seek after, to desire our Lord. 

Thank You Jesus. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

He Has Made Me Glad

I didn't know this song before this fall, but I love it!

I will enter His gates with thanksgiving in my heart
I will enter His courts with praise
I will say this is the day that the Lord has made
I will rejoice for He has made me glad

He has made me glad, He has made me glad
I will rejoice for He has made me glaaaaaad
He has made me glad, He has made me glad
I will rejoice for He has made me glad.

I like to make it personal when I'm singing alone

I will enter Your gates with thanksgiving in my heart
I will enter Your courts with praise
I will say this is the day that my Lord has made
I will rejoice for You have made me glad

You have made me glad, You have  made me glad
I will rejoice for You have made me glaaaaaad
You have  made me glad, You have  made me glad
I will rejoice for You have  made me glad. 

I looked up glad in the dictionary because I'm a fan of that, and this is what I found: 


1   [glad]  Show IPA adjective, glad·der, glad·dest,verb, glad·ded, glad·ding.
feeling joy or pleasure; delighted; pleased: glad about the goodnews; glad that you are here.
accompanied by or causing joy or pleasure: a glad occasion; gladtidings.
characterized by or showing cheerfulness, joy, or pleasure, aslooks or utterances.

Cool right? I thought saw. I wish I could sing "You have made me gladdest", because that's true. Gladdest doesn't even sound like a real word, but the dictionary says it is. Lord, You have made me gladdest! 

Friday, November 16, 2012

New Favorite Verse

Don't you love it when you're just sitting there one morning, reading the Bible as normal, and BAM, something you never saw before just hits you, and it pretty much the coolest thing you've read in a long time? Yup, welcome to my morning.

And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter's hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do. Jeremiah 18:4

I LOVE THIS. The vessel of clay he was making spoiled in the potter's hand. Adam and Eve were right there in the garden. They walked with their God. And they still sinned. They spoiled. But God was faithful to them, even in their faithlessness. Yes, there are severe consequences for sin ("the death" as Havah would say), but the Lord is merciful. He covered them in their shame, and carried on their line. 

And what about us? You? Me? Are you spoiled? I am. Wow, I know that. I'm not perfect. Far from it. But God made Jesus who knew no sin to be sin for us. He already died for every sin, past, present and future. His grace is there for our salvation, but also our sanctification. He is reworking us into another vessel, because God is making all things work together for our good. 

2 Corinthians 5:17 has been coming up a lot these last weeks, If any man is in Christ He is a new creation...

In Christ, you are new. You are being reworked into another vessel, because God is good. 

Beautiful Things

Your Love Never Fails

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Be Thou My Vision

Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art.
Thou my best thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be Thou my Wisdom, Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee, Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

Be Thou my battle-shield, sword for my fight,
Be Thou my dignity, Thou my delight.
Thou my soul's shelter, Thou my high tower.
Raise Thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.

Riches I heed not, nor man's empty praise,
Thou mine inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of heaven, my Treasure Thou art.

  High King of heaven, my victory won,
  May I reach heaven's joys, O bright heav'ns Son!
  Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
  Still be my vision, O ruler of all.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Held Hostage

Yesterday, Angel Alert Network came to do security training with us. They work with a lot of NGOs, churches, and missions organizations to prepare them for everything from a robber in their home/street crimes, armed assaults, traveling, to sexual assault, car jacking, and abduction/kidnappings. So it's intense. They do a lot of demonstrations to put you in the moment to help you feel what the pressure is like in order to encourage you to have a plan. Their motto is "Be alert, be aware, have a plan". They also like to play the "what if?" game. Like "What if you're at home with your family and you hear someone downstairs? Do you go after him, or do you protect your family by staying closer to them?" "What if you're driving and find a poisonous snake at your feet?" "What if you (a young woman) are in an elevator and two guys get on?" It gets you thinking about what you would do.

Things got real when "shots" were "fired". We all instinctively hit the ground at the sound (we were later applauded for our quick reaction time). In walked our trainer, dressed as a terrorist. He started giving us orders, telling us to sit up, give him our wallets, asking questions of us. He ended up abducting myself, one girl, and one guy, a Malaysian. To show some of the things terrorists do, he asked about who would pay ransom for us, etc. Then he pried about Eddie's (Malaysian dude) religion and found out he was a Christian, even though most Malaysians are Muslim. So he asked Eddie to deny his faith. He kept prodding him to deny Christ, asking him to make a tape for his Malaysian brothers. When Eddie wouldn't do it, JoJo (trainer) put the "gun" to my head, and said, "Deny Christ or she's dead" Even though it was a totally fake scenario, it felt very real. A man with a gun to your head. In that moment all I could think of was Jesus. Literally, that was it. I remember praying for Eddie to love Christ and not life, not even to be the protector, as he was inclined to do. He looked at me and asked if I was ready to die, if I were right with God. Although they called the exercise off at that point, Eddie said his next move was going to be to attempt to disarm JoJo (if I said yes). This way, even if we both died, he died fighting, and we both knew we were going to heaven. Boys. But he said if I'd said no, he'd deny Christ. Interesting the decisions you make when life is on the line. What if it had been a child? A spouse? This is real hard stuff.

I am so thankful for the opportunity to experience and think about these things. JoJo says that he hopes we never have to use anything he tells us, but he wants us to be ready to if we do. It is far more likely for me to be struck by lightning than abducted, but it is good to have the awareness. Being aware minimizes the risk, and also allows you to take steps to be less vulnerable.

And, some of the stuff was super practical - especially for a young single gal about to graduate college and live on her own, most likely! And the traveling abroad things...I've been abroad, and I definitely was not as prepared as I could have been.

I highly recommend the training that we had. Angel Alert Network in case you forgot.

As I Was With Moses

I was reading Joshua 1:5 the other morning, and that one phrase stood out to me

No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you.

That is an AWESOME promise. I mean, think about it: 

Moses' life was preserved as an infant. God protected him, and valued his life. 

Moses committed a crime, but the Lord redeemed him. God worked all things for Moses' good, and His glory. 

Moses stood with I AM at the burning bush. God revealed Himself to Moses in a new way. 

Moses had some sort of speech impediment, yet he stood before Pharaoh to plead his peoples' cause. God gave him words, and used a weakness as a strength. 

Moses was 80 years old when he led the Israelites. God used a man who should not have been strong as a leader for all. 

Moses went back to Egypt with the knowledge of all that would happen. God revealed Himself and His plan to Moses in just the right timing. 

Moses received the Law right from God. God gave Moses what we needed in order to be obedient, and again revealed Himself in a powerful way. 

Moses led Israel into the promise land, and blessed the Israelites before dying without the promise. God was faithful to reveal Himself, yet left a testimony of the fact that there was more to come. 

As I was with Moses, so I will be with you. God and Moses were tight. And in Christ, you and God the Father are tight. 

Like I said, AWESOME 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Nerd Post

I'm going to be a big nerd here. You don't have to read it, I really don't care.

I spent $1.99 on the Collected Works of Andrew Murray, and $0.99 to add Abide in Christ to that collection (why it wasn't in there to begin with, I have no idea - also, both kindle editions). That makes about $3 and the depth of the reading material is absolutely astonishing. I am slowly making my way through everything, and his work is so good that I have finished a book, only to begin it again right away. I know I've said it before, but you don't have to have a kindle in order to read online editions. You can do it on your computer. I absolutely love it, because I can get books just about anywhere, and read them. There are offline modes, too, so you can read even when you're not connected to the internet. I love that you can highlight and make notes, and that it bookmarks your page for you automatically. This has been my favorite thing over the last year, especially with traveling so much. I need my computer to do school and life, and this allows me to take all my books in one place. I even grab things for school, like sociological analyses of the study of religion and the Chicago style citation manual. For the latter, a paperback copy of the 500+ page book is almost $30, but I got it for $5 digitally, and it's way easier to pack! The only negative could be if you don't like looking at a screen for so long, but it doesn't bother me. I never expected to be such a digital reader, but it is crazy convenient for both school and work.

I should add that they have TONS of free books, from classics by Tolstoy to theology by Spurgeon. I really love it!

I don't know how long it's been since I updated what I've been reading, so here are some of the more recent titles

The Pastor's Wife - Sabina Wurmbrand
Deeper Fellowship With God - Andrew Murray
Absolute Surrender - Andrew Murray
The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness - Tim Keller
The Autobiography of Hudson Taylor - Guess :)
The Sacred Canopy - Peter L Berger
The Biography of Robert Murray M'Cheyne - Andrew Bonar
And always, the Chicago Style Manual. You'd think after 2 1/2 years in the religious studies field I might have it down by now. #ihatechicagostyle #leastfavoritepartofmymajor #mlaisahundredtimeseasier  #isitrealynecessarytohavefootnotesandendnotes #isntitfuntohastagthingsevenwhenyourenotontwitter

Speaking of school, I get to pick classes for next semester! We're self registering, one class at a time every day for a week. I think that's weird, and I also have a sneaking suspicion that the website is going to crash. Plus it's at 7:30am. That's kind of mean (but not for me because I'm on the east coast so it's 8:30 bwahahaha). I found out I'm the only one in my honors thesis class...that's not weird at all right? I don't know how that's even possible. Am I really the only one in my graduating class in my major brave enough to try for honors? Should I be afraid? I don't know. I'm kind of intimidated at the whole "present at the national academy conference"stipulation but I guess we'll burn that bridge when we get there. I really hope I don't end up having to present in front of people I've cited in my papers because that would make me even more nervous and small feeling.

My professor ignores my assignments for a month and then grades them all at once. It's not super useful, but at least they get graded I guess. Who doesn't love getting all their grades in five separate emails on Sunday nights? Rolls eyes. It's actually all pass/fail. "Traditional college education" is going to be so hard next semester.


I am really excited about graduating. Mostly the being done part. Not so much the being separated from my friends. Although we have proven that we can indeed survive without each other's physical presence.

And since you sat through all that, I will give you my dear friend Betsy Wynn. She wins for best Halloween-related facebook post ever. I laughed so hard, because she is very correct (I did censor her though):
"facebook wants to know my favorite halloween candy. I feel like that is a misleading question because most candy given out on halloween is also available every other day of the year, I can buy milky way midnights year round. This leads me to believe that facebook wants to know my favorite candy ONLY available on halloween, which is gross stuff like candy corn, and the weird orange and black candies, or pumpkin shaped peeps. In that case I don't have a favorite, because in my opinion halloween specific candy stinks"

Friday, November 2, 2012

Denying Self, Being New

My lack of blogging this week has not been due to power loss; though that would be a wonderful excuse. No, I've been sick and busy and when you're busy and sick at the same time, it's quite sad.

Earlier this week, we did a word study on 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8, including a paraphrase that was meant to minister to us. I learned a lot from looking at the key words of this passage.

Here's my paraphrase:
For the glorification of Christ Jesus, we are begging you, as dearly loved brothers and sisters, that you would live by the standards we taught you, so as to please our Master. You are doing this already, but we exhort you to examine your hearts and every aspect of your lives, so that you could gratify the Lord even more abundantly. Be assured that these standards are given in Christ's authority. For it is God's will that you would dedicate yourself to honor, purity, and transparent and unadulterated living. Set yourselves apart as witnesses for authentic grace and unclouded judgment. Renounce all sexual vice; debilitate and undermine them in Jesus' name. Claim, govern, and conduct your body as the home of the Holy Spirit. Deprave your body of the vulgarity of this world; flee corruption and do not be spoiled by the mundane. Do not use your body to give in to your longings, cravings, and weaknesses, so that you would not rob your brothers of the manifestation of God's grace in Christ. For the Lord will avenge all these things. Purity is for our God and the glory of His kingdom. He has given us the anointing to be spotless and undefiled in the blood of His Son. Let us not be distracted by carnality and greed. If you ignore this teaching, you are not disregarding us but your Owner and Master, whose Spirit is given to you for your innocence, righteousness, and sanctification. Honor your Lord in utmost purity. 

Purity is about forsaking yourself in order to show that you belong to Jesus. Walking in integrity shows the world that His glory is alive in your life.

Andrew Murray writes in A Deeper Fellowship With God, "As long as a man, a Christian, is under the power of the flesh, he is continually denying Jesus. You always must do one of the two, you must deny yourself, or you must deny Jesus"

Thank the Lord for the giving of His Holy Spirit to sanctify us.

Here's a paraphrase of 2 Corinthians 5:17 done after a word study
You are in Christ as an unused Divine work. Your previous moral condition has been crushed; a fresh foundation has arrived.