Sunday, June 29, 2014

Dross and Gold

I have fallen head over heels for the original How Firm A Foundation after months of struggling between it and the remake Jesus, Firm Foundation (that refrain good). I love some of the antiquated language, though, as well as some verses and lines the remake either changes or drops completely. 

When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie
My grace all sufficient shall be thy supply 
The flame shall not hurt thee, I only design 
Thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine. 

Luckily for me, my church also loves this song. Today I was really thinking about this song and turning the last lyric in particular over my theological tongue and it really is amazing. 

When you refine precious metals, you're melting away the lead and what is referred to as dross in the Bible was the lead oxide that separated in the process. It's about removing impurities. All that's unclean in us was never meant to be there. But refining is hard work. It feels difficult and uncomfortable. And it's only by God's grace that we can be refined at all. 

The Old Testament prophet Malachi told of Jesus, who would come as the refiner 

He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to The Lord. 
Malachi 3:3 

I also love what this verse says about those who are refined: they worship. Once Jesus gives us a new heart, and the dross (if you say it incorrectly, it rhymes with gross and sin is gross stinky garbage), we are free to love Him. 

A few hundred years earlier, Isaiah also prophesied of what it will be like when The Lord, Messiah, comes to draw sinners to Himself.  

You will say in that day: "I will give thanks to you, O Lord, for though you were angry with me, your anger turned away, that you might comfort me". 


With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. 

Isaiah 12:1,3 

They had the same message: Jesus is coming. He will save you. You will be changed. You will be glad. You will rejoice. You will worship. 

His grace is always meant to be our guide. He takes our dross and refines the gold He places in us. The bottom line is that Christ always works for our good and our greatest joy in Him. Wherever He leads, we can follow with joy because 

And though even hell should endeavor to shake 
[He'll] never, no never, no never forsake. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

A million million doors

That radio again...Jason Gray is killing it as usual with Every Act of Love. In it he sings that "God put a million million doors in this world for his love to walk through".

And I've felt it.

I cannot express the love and gratitude that I have not only for my church but for the church universal, as so many brothers and sisters in Christ have covered me in prayer and kindness as I walk through this season. The Anchor service team has prayed for my hospitalized student and me each week, and friends and members check in often. The Tuesday night ladies laid hands on me and prayed this week, and I felt so covered. Through texts and messages and the City, the church has been such a family, and in this, I've seen God's grace.

I'm thankful for those million million doors.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014


At approximately 2:37pm on June 24th, 2014, I replaced the Wisconsin license plates on my car with ones from Washington. Although I moved just over a year ago, it still felt kind of sad. I moved from America's Dairyland to the Evergreen State. And sorry, Wisconsin, the mountain on these plates is just a lot cooler.

My car was the last step - my driver's license is already Washington (and horizontal now too!), and I registered to vote here. How strange.

Saturday, June 21, 2014


I love Job's story, and I love that it's in the Bible. I was reading yesterday and just had a couple notes: 

Lamenting is humbling -
I have sewed my sackcloth upon my skin and have laid my strength in the dust. Job 16:15 

Job had nothing left. He had nothing in himself to count on or be proud of; he saw himself as weak and at the mercy of his God. 

There is hope in the struggle - 
Even now; behold, my witness is in heaven, and he who testifies for me is on high. Job 16:19 

Job lost everything he owned. He lost his children. He lost his health. His wife, instead of following him in continuing to worship and not curse God, called him a fool (I have a lot of thoughts on Job's wife. Another time). And yet it was enough for him that he had a witness in heaven to speak for him. 

We shall see God - 
For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been this destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. My heart faints within me! Job 19:25-27 

At Bible study recently we were talking about having a longing for heaven. Nearly all of us spoke with watery eyes as we thought about our desire to be with Jesus face to face forever. Job had that. And it held him. 

Closing thoughts from my journal: 

I'm so thankful that Job's story was given to us by God. I think it shows how much He knows the human heart- how badly we need an example of how to suffer. Sometimes I like to stop to think how God put His Word together, for generations to seek Him and know Him. It really shows His tremendous care for us. What a gift. 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

I am really sorry for the lack of blog posts. I miss writing. I have amazing excuses, I promise. I can't even tell you how full and full of challenges life has been lately because it would take too long. But I can tell you that on the worst days, God has still been showing himself to be so good and I'm really excited about who he is and what he's doing right now. 

Also, Betsy is coming next week, which is really important obviously. 

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Stuff Liztowne Says

I should really do a better job keeping track of these things because my roommate just so happens to be hilarious. Here's the latest:

Elizabeth: Just so you know, that banana is yours. It's less ripe than the one you had before but I ate that one because I had a banana emergency so I replaced it.

Elizabeth: What kind of sim card do you have?
Me: I don't know
Elizabeth: How do you open your phone?
Me: I don't know

Elizabeth, every day for the last two months: I should really clean my room today.

Praise the Lord

I got in my car tonight and for once, I turned the radio on to hear a song that went

"There is grace for today, so praise the Lord. There is grace for today, so praise the Lord"

I looked it up and it turns out, the song is "Praise the Lord" by The City Harmonic. I realized that this song is really the perfect song for my week. It was rough, guys. But I felt held the whole time. It's hard to explain -  it's like I could recognize how awful things were, but I still saw how good God was and is. He got me through every single day, every moment.

There is grace for today, so praise the Lord.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

A Bible Study in Seattle

I am a creature of habit. So much so that Betsy has more than once reminded me that the habits I set for myself are not rules and can most certainly be stepped around.

In any event, my Thursday mornings are a highlight of my week. I wake up at 4:45, read the Old Testament, eat breakfast, and read the New Testament. Then I go to Bible study at Zoka where the barista knows that I want a 12 ounce drip coffee in a mug. I go over to Mighty-Os where they know I don't want coffee because I just had some. And then I go grocery shopping.

For a long time, I had the same cashier at Trader Joe's every Thursday and for those of you who don't know this, Trader Joe's employees are generally some of the friendliest grocery store workers ever. So this girl who always ask me how Bible study was and about my church and it was quite pleasant.

But today, I had a new guy. He commented on how I'd gotten to the store right at opening, and so I said the usual, "Yup. I have a Bible study right over in Wallingford at 6, so I come here right after, and it's perfect timing"

And he said, "A Bible study in Seattle. That's an anomaly"

It was striking to me. I know Seattle is hipster. I know it's "unchurched". But I also know that one of the largest churches of our time started here. I know that the Christian community is deep and authentic and multi-generational and familial. I know that my church alone has groups that meet outside of Sunday service on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. And I know that when my church is wrapping up on Thursday mornings at Zoka, another group from another church is just getting started.

Anomaly? Maybe. Or maybe it just depends what angle you're looking from.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Heavy Heart

This week has been interesting. I celebrated my one year anniversary in Seattle and at my job!

But I also sprained my ankle while working, learned about the two 12-year olds in my hometown who tried to stab their friend to death to please a mythological creature, and was asked by a parent to talk to her daughter about her eating disorder.

Is this what it means to learn to pray without ceasing?