Thursday, December 27, 2012

acknowledge


gratitude
is acknowledged dependence on God.

the past week has handed me plenty to be thankful for.

overhearing what my aunts were whispering about me at breakfast yesterday.
micah's squealing joyfulness.
fireplaces.
words, books, and writing.
the january series.
the Holy Spirit and His unmistakable presence.
crossroads family.
diversity.
childlike curiosity. addi.
holiday trivia.
sunshine.
travel.
new learning opportunities.
mercies that are new every morning.
the Gospel, preached again and again.
j & k's baby coming in the summer...
vacation.
friends with hearts to serve around the world
   kenya, bangladesh, india, korea, dominican republic, poland, new zealand
Bible translating projects around the world
dreams of traveling
   the netherlands, germany, india, zambia, south africa, rome, mexico, israel. again.
my family
God's power, perfect in my weakness
prayer
the story i'll hear tonight.

gratitude
is acknowledged dependence on God.
n talks about it in his book
let me put in a plug for it...
you might consider checking it out for yourself...
Keep Going: Overcoming Doubts about Your Faith
did i mention that i recommend it? 
it is a beautiful testimony
which flows out of his own 8-year wrestling match
and it follows a path to the exaltation of God and Scripture,
to a resting place of acceptance of sovereignty, responsibility, divine justice, and assurance.


Monday, December 24, 2012

emmanuel

what hope we hold this starlit night
a king is born in bethlehem
our journey long, we seek the light
that leads to the hallowed manger ground

what fear we felt in the silent age
four-hundred years can He be found
but broken by a baby's cry
rejoice in the hallowed manger ground

Emmanuel, Emmanuel
God incarnate, here to dwell
Emmanuel, Emmanuel
praise His name Emmanuel

the son of God, here born to bleed
a crown of thorns would pierce His brow
and we beheld this offering
exalted now the King of kings
praise God for the hallowed manger ground

thank you, chris tomlin, for a beautiful, theological worship song. listen to it here: emmanuel

read the christmas story in light of those who walked, worked, learned, and waited in those years just before B.C met A.D.
the people of israel had lived a blind 400 years with no obvious influence from the God whom they had followed (though unfaithfully) for as long as they existed as a people, established under abraham.
they rested under God's rule, with His hand regularly evident in the day to day
until the time that followed solomon
when the king and the people had finally rejected God for the last time
until He gave Himself in reconciliation to mankind once and for all in the birth of Jesus.
the people had anxiously hoped for the prophet, priest, king who would be able to finally and completely reconcile them to God
but each mediator that stood on their behalf proved that he/she, like all the others before him/her had not the power to rule over death, thus making the washing of sin out of the question as well
again, until Jesus.
finally.
after years of waiting for God to bring to reality the things that He had promised so many years before,
the song describes that a baby's cry broke the hopelessness of silence that man had experienced in their relationship with God
and not only did God show His face again to mankind (the lack of which we will never know…) He allowed His people to feel His presence again in the form of the long-awaited fulfillment to their deepest longing:
a mediator that would stand forever on their behalf. 
we have Him still.
we've been given the greatest gift in our opportunity to know Him.
beautiful grace and precious salvation
a gift from a good Father who cannot help but pour out the abundance of perfect love that He is…
merry christmas, friends!!
i love you. because He loves.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

breathe

yes, i unplugged from facebook for a few days
and i'm very excited about it.
i took up a challenge after listening
to a beautiful testimony from a friend
(...thank you for your honesty and humility!)
God has been teaching my heart plenty
and over the next days i hope to put words to as much of it as possible.
see you soon...


Saturday, December 1, 2012

rags



the difference between sins and sin.
i asked Him to show me my sins.
He did
and not much time had to pass
before i understood that He'd take them
from the east to the west
but still
that lingering sin... sinfulness
the disease that is not identifiable by a label or a moment in time
but by a seed that grows itself in the heart
from conception
until...
Jesus.
the concreteness of sins make them graspable
and this makes a need for a savior realistic.
but when those apparent sins are less a part of one's story
this clouds a vision of any emptiness.
He'll show me my sins (plural)
and yes, I can see Jesus' blood cover them.
But when He shows me my sin (singular)
the seed in my soul
that continues to manufacture the sins
i start to wonder what good it is to cover the sins
when the factory that forms and develops and trains them
remains seemingly untouched and functioning just like before?
my mind begins to conceptualize this reality
and my eyes widen, not in childlike wonder,
but in devastatingly hopeless turmoil
and finally
the sense that i have nothing to wipe up this mess
except for these perpetually filthy rags,
sentenced to forever be a plant of sin production-
this eclipses my vision and i see nothing beyond.
finally.
and i'm left there
if not for One who so far surpasses me
but One who at the same time
can sympathize with my weaknesses,
the humble Savior who alone
offers clean rags
and a pure heart.
and everything is different now.
not because the sins are atoned for
but because the sin is removed
at its root
and He plants Himself where the seed used to be
for He delights in showing me mercy.
fresh each morning.

Monday, November 5, 2012

honor


they are 
few and far between-
those women who are patient to observe
and careful to act
those who are gracious towards others
and faithful in their loyalties
those who are quick to listen and slow to speak
but when they do speak,
these rare ones
hold treasures of wisdom.

one of these gems
(who shall remain nameless)
shared with me once
a part of her and her husband's story.
she talked about his discipline
about his stability and his faithfulness.
we talked about lots of things
so no question was off limits for either of us
did you wait? i asked her...
she nodded, a bit questioningly as to why i would ask
yes...of course.
why? i abruptly dropped this question without hesitation.
because i knew, she added confidently,
that if he lacked the self-control with me
then i would wonder throughout our whole marriage
whether or not i could trust him around other women.
i trust him now still.
he showed me decades ago that he was a man of his word
and when he made that promise to me on our wedding day...
i haven't doubted it once.

and recently i talked with a couple who shared a similar thought.
when you observe a man, he said,
look at the areas of influence and authority that he has.
how does he maintain these things?
look first at how he controls himself.
does he have self control?
physically?
financially?
emotionally?
because if a man shows great promise in these areas
it will be much more hopeful
that he can lead well in other areas too.
will he be able to lead his wife well?
his family?
will he be a leader in the community?
in the church?
if he can control himself
he is one to respect.
if he can't, you would do best to question his character.
(and as he spoke these things, his wife watched him
in agreement
holding him in such honor
because he is such a man as this)
and this type of man, she added,
only has this strength because he trusts in God's power
not his own.
he has such a view of God
that it guides his actions
that he excels in all that he does.
her eyes were bright as she spoke
because she has lived in this reality,
through God-given discernment
and patience and sacrifice.

standards and boundaries and expectations
are good and wise and necessary
of course, paired with grace.

ladies,
ten, twenty-five, fifty years from now
what do you want to be able to say of the man to whom devote your life?


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

naivety


"...when a person really understands it..," she said.
then a moment with no words, two of us in silent agreement
that nothing has been the same since the scales were removed
from our eyes.
yet
we have still only shadows of the things to come.
n describes it from the beginning like practice swings that prepare us
and give us the tiniest glimpse of what it is supposed to be
and we, on the edge of our seats,
we sit back...?

satisfied? with this?

because, perhaps,
we can't see beyond it
and we redefine faith,
as something around which we can wrap both our minds and our hands
with crossed arms
and with closed eyes,
like a sweet but naive toddler who plays such a simple game of hide-and-seek...
sure of what we hope for?
certain of what we do not see?
we label these questions rhetorical
and we move on
rooting ourselves deeper into the sand.
the testimonies that have gone before us
describe suffering...
then joy
and hope
and rest.
however, this suffering, joy, hope, rest is rooted in what is lasting,
rooted in He who alone is able to save completely
those who come to God through Him...
because by one sacrifice He has made perfect forever
those who are being made holy.
a story defined by naivety goes left at the fork in the road
the one that goes right,
hope.
naivety is cute. for a short time.
ask for understanding.
the One who called you is faithful to give you what you ask
when you ask according to His will.




Thursday, October 11, 2012

birthday

if you know me well, you know that it has forever bothered me that i share a birthday with...no one.
no one that i actually know at least. anne frank and george h. w. bush are special, sure. but a real friend who shares june 12 with me...
well, i now have a birthday twin.
heck.
yes.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

plate

love the new and improved food pyramid...

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

voting?



the following is a challenge written by former Circuit Court Judge, Randy Hekman, husband, father of 12, follower of Jesus, friend. read and discern for yourself what your responsibility will be on tuesday november 6, 2012. 

                          ___________________________________________________

Is it acceptable for a follower of Christ vote for President in this election when the choice is between two men, one of whom supports policies that are contrary to Scripture and the other is an active member of the Mormon church?

I have heard that a number of Christians feel it would be sinful for them to engage at all in the election process in light of the “lesser of two evils” choice that con

fronts us. Is the best answer for us to not vote at all? Is this the way for a Christian to avoid responsibility for an election that will inevitably usher in a President who, from all we can tell, is not a Christ follower?

Let me suggest we are derelict in our responsibility as Christians if we do NOT cast a vote this November. My reasons for saying this:
• We are electing a President, not appointing a pastor of our church. Good government requires men and women of competence, diligence, honesty and accountability. While these qualities will ideally be found in all Christians, they can also be found in many non-Christians because of God’s common grace to mankind.
• Scripture is clear that our sovereign God frequently works through even godless governmental leaders for our good. Godless Caesar Augustus, through the census he ordered, was responsible, humanly speaking, for Christ to be born in Bethlehem. Persian dictator Cyrus was used by God to cause the Jews to leave captivity and return to Jerusalem. Jesus reminded Pontius Pilate that the governor’s authority came from God.
• Even the Jewish people in captivity in Babylon were commanded by God to promote the good of that godless nation. “This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: . . . ‘[S]eek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.’” (Jer. 29:4,7)
• The ultimate leaders of our nation are “We the People.” This is a government “of the people, by the people and for the people.” God holds us accountable as stewards of that for which we are responsible. I as a husband and father will someday answer to God for my stewardship of those roles. And, as a citizen of the United States, I believe I will also answer for my role as a voter and participant in this Constitutional republic.
Bottom line, Christian, vote for the person that best shares your Biblical values and will do the best to provide an environment that allows us to live “peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” (I Timothy 2:1-2)


Thursday, September 20, 2012

wheat


i remember the days when words used to flow out from my fingertips
and now it seems that i have so much to say when i can't possibly write
(like when i'm driving, for instance)
but when i get a moment with a keyboard in front of me it is all i can do to squeeze out a few drops that testify to what God is doing
but more often than not i'll start writing
and soon i recognize my preoccupation with trying to make things look or sound a certain way
and it distracts me enough that the little bit that i originally had to say trickles away
and i'm left with a stupid blank screen
and disappointment.
but there's so much to say
like how He's taught me to love people and to put myself aside
granted, not comparable to the way that Jesus loves, but being sanctified to become more like Him
like how He's begun to show me what i love and why
like how He's saved me from decisions that i've made so selfishly
like how He's placed me within a safety net of people who will ask and challenge and listen and forgive and teach and wait and pray and
model for me what it looks like to live a life worthy of Jesus Christ
like how He's planted me in a community of people who can own their sin
and who have learned submission to the painful process of God's discipline
because they have tested and trusted His outcome of the process,
glorifying, exalting the name of Jesus
and at the same time finding such rest under the promise of His faithful acceptance
that He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it
even though it comes with pain
even He, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, [made] the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering.
i'm grateful for the men in our church family who have testified to God's healing power,
the men who can confidently tell of His rescue from addictions
addictions to pornography
addictions to self, to pride,
addictions to alcohol, 
addictions to money and control.
and any of these have in common a core belief that God just isn't enough
and many of these brothers share that they masked and performed and faked their ways through years,
claiming Jesus, telling of dreams to serve Him, leading others "in the name of Jesus"
but now, now able to claim Jesus with assurance, to tell of dreams that God is bringing to fruition now, now that they are walking with Him in all truth,
and He, now, has placed so many of these dear brothers into leadership in His Name
because now they walk in His strength,
trusting Him for purity, depending on the all-surpassing power of the Spirit of God in order to fix their eyes on Jesus as the only way to resist sin, the only way to experience life, 
this is testimony.
neil challenges us to recognize testimony the way that paul testified of God - not by telling our stories and how God fits into them, but by telling God's story and how we so humbly and so gratefully fit into His.
the One who has called you is faithful and He will do it.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

wiser


there is rich suggestiveness in this interpretation of the pruning process, as we apply it to the christian life. pruning seems to be destroying the vine, the gardener appears to be cutting at all away; but he looks on into the future and knows that the final outcome will be the enrichment of its life and greater abundance of fruit.
there are blessings we can never have unless we are ready to the price of pain. there is no way to reach them save through suffering.
[dr. miller, from streams in the desert]

"i walked a mile with Pleasure, she chattered all the way;
but left me none the wiser for all she had to say.

i walked a mile with Sorrow, and ne'er a word said she;
but, oh, the things i learned from her when sorrow walked with me."

He


oh, my God, He will not delay
my refuge and strength always
i will not fear, His promise is true
my God will come through always, always
[kristian stanfill]

so, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! no temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. and God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. but when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.
therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry. i speak to sensible people; judge for yourselves what i say. is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ?...
[paul, 1 corinthians 10]

He is faithful
teaching humility in temptation
and childlike dependence in suffering
because it is not a question of who will be tempted, who will sin, who will suffer,
but when.
yet
He is faithful to provide avenues around this,
a learned process - 
sanctification.
r often says "choose to sin, choose to suffer"
and it is unfathomable that a person would choose sin so that s/he might suffer
and neither is suffering a result only of sin
but yet God produces fruit out of our suffering

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

led


a testimony indeed
and not just because this season is good
but because He is so obvious in it.
He has led me away from things that have sapped His life out of me
and into the things that make my eyes shine
with all the joy and hope that He intended.
i'm finding what i love, finally,
because He has meticulously chiseled me,
not without pain, to fit where He has me now.
and as things so often do under His watch
pieces from each category come together to make sense of it all
and i don't mind collecting them into one whole
that, by His grace, will increasingly reflect His wholeness
.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

rainbow

this is beautiful.
this is the kingdom of God.
[m says that there is even 1 sister missing from this picture]
but these 10 brothers and sisters
have Jesus in common.
some adopted,
some biological,
but family regardless.
all loving and all loved.
a small glimpse of what eternity will be...

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

thankful

again.

thankful for a year [nearly]
with two dear friends
and spending an evening packing, cleaning, talking, laughing
together
probably this one last time
but God orchestrated even these few hours

i'm thankful also that although i rarely drove the 25 mph on valley...
i never did get pulled over.
i'm thankful that we had a huge bin for recycling
and we faithfully filled that thing most weeks [okay, bi-weekly]
i'm thankful that c & a were so patient with me while i worked nights
and they let me sleep peacefully during the day every saturday...
i'm thankful for a very special french press
that our precious artist friend designed so creatively
i'm thankful for so many things over these past months.
i don't want to forget any of it
so as i think of things, i'll add them here.
loved this season.

Monday, September 3, 2012

:: max & chelsea ::


[photo by brooke collier photography]

years of prayers and questions and tears and excitement culminated in
one bright and sandy afternoon
and 150 pairs of eyes joined as witnesses to
yet another of God's promises fulfilled.

max and chelsea garter.

will's, jana's, and my words combined to bless the new husband and wife
and each of our outbursts had a common thread weaving though:
jesus.
here we have two people who are crazy about each other,
but, when we said the things that we said,
i know that each of us was convinced 
that max and chelsea, individually, are committed first to God,
then to each other.
and this, this is why it was hard to hold back tears as
neil challenged them to love well,
as they made their promises to one another,
no doubt comforted to have the accountability of so many godly men and women.

dear chelsea,
the friend who listened for so many hours,
who patiently sat with me when i cried,
who had sleepovers in my room (even though her room was 2 feet away),
who generously helped me with hair problems and curls for special events,
who consisently offered to me wise counsel and uplifting encouragement,
who forgave me and prayed for me,
who melted her french press to our stovetop,
who lined our teeny tiny house with art and paint and canvases,
who cleaned our sick nasty bathtub without asking for any acknowledgement,
who shared her precious family,
who taught me to talk about the deep things of God
and to trust His leading even in the desert,
the friend whose meals were so very predictable,
who never ceased to amaze me with her inappropriate appearances around the house
and her unpredictable style of dress,
the same girl who would leave her car windows open in the rain,
who would drink my smoothies even when they were gross,
who would eat beans and rice or chips and salsa or popcorn. anytime.
the woman who would worship with her whole heart and love people with the same,
a rare proverbs 31 beauty.

faithful max,
the man who chelsea says she can dream with,
the man who slaved away to create a place for her,
the man whose priority was so clearly to protect his wife-to-be,
the one who is so incredibly laid back and so very intense. at the same time.
the one who waited for his bride,
the one who owns who he is and fights to be the best he can,
who seeks accountability and forgiveness,
the one who forgives and encourages,
who (jana said it best) is a place of safety for his wife, a landing place, shelter,
the man who also worships with his whole heart,
who surfs and who epitomizes a surfer,
the man who is a faithful one (as will knows to be true after 25 years of friendship)
the one who finally was able to capture her heart
and the one who will be so blessed by her humility for a lifetime.

a beautiful team.
praise Him.

[photo by nathan english photography]

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

anticipate

if i find in myself desires nothing in this world can satisfy
i can only conclude that i was not made for here

[c.s. lewis song :: brooke fraser]


Monday, August 27, 2012

in time

i am embarrassed by all that i am learning now, wishing that i had grasped these things before.
i see now why certain challenges were as heavy as they were.
they needed to be
because i needed to learn.
[when you live safely, you simply learn the hard lessons later.]
acceptance - fostering the strengths of those who are so very different from me
respect - lifting up those who work above, underneath, and alongside me
but when my eyes are fixed on Jesus
everything. falls. into. place.
everything unifies under His authority
because the design naturally follows the character of the designer.

Friday, August 17, 2012

wait



i've said it before
and i find it to be true again... and again
the way that God communicates is often through repetition.  
over the past couple of weeks
i seem to hear from each possible direction
that  

God is good to those who wait on Him.

president kemper opened yesterday's meeting with verses from psalm 37

be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him...those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land.

and those words brought to completion the third piece to this puzzle.
this morning i listened to matt gilman and cory asbury sing,

i waited patiently upon the Lord, and He inclined and heard my cry.  

and for weeks bethany dillon has echoed through the quiet moments

You say you're good to those who wait...
You can do more in my waiting than [i can do in my doing] 

i've tried for a long time to be the type of person who waits on Him.
i've wanted to look like sarah and shawna and neil and derek and erin and plenty of others 
but wanting it is nothing if not for the doing.

andrew murray writes about the morning watch in a life of obedience 
and this prompt is good
but there is this discipline of practicing God's presence
sarah young and ann voskamp preach this as necessity
and i agree.

a healthy person is one who stops multiple times each day to recognize God's presence and His absolute competency
and at the same time his or her own insufficiency, incompetency, dependency.

it feels good to pause often to resubmit oneself to One who is able. 

now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever...

wait on Him. He alone is faithful to the end. 


Saturday, August 11, 2012

joshua


neil and rod often say, "as goes the leader, so go the people"
and joshua and caleb are no exception
numbers, deuteronomy, and joshua describe these men as following the Lord wholeheartedly,
even when they were the only ones walking this road of obedience.
God, pleased with joshua and caleb's submission, lead israel into the wilderness to wander for 40 years until the disobedient generation was no more.
and caleb and joshua lead a refined community of israel into the land that God had promised

So the Lord gave Israel all the land he had sworn to give their forefathers, and they took possession of it and settled there. The Lord gave them rest on every side, just as he had sworn to their forefathers. Not one of their enemies withstood them; the Lord handed all their enemies over to them. Not one of all the Lord’s good promises to the house of Israel failed; every one was fulfilled.
[Joshua 21.43-45]

if this is not a picture of God's faithfulness in man's submission, i don't know what is. 

Father, may i, may crossroads, may grace bible college, and may Your whole Church follow you in this way, proving to the world Your worthiness of our worship, Your grace through Jesus, the LIFE that we have when we are connected to the Vine.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

jay & elizabeth


july 20, 2012.
i pray for you two, that your marriage will be a joy to you and to those around you.
may you be better [patient, generous, selfless, gracious] together than separate -
i pray that you will be active in learning each other,
intrigued and excited by your differences.
i pray that your conflicts will lead to unity through God's work in you.
Jesus says that eternal life is knowing the Father  -
i pray that your marriage will grow you both in your knowledge of Him
and that with greater understanding you find greater hope and peace.
may God grow in you an intentionality toward each other, to serve, listen, forgive.
i pray that you will repent to God and to one another and that you will forgive well.
i pray that you will honor one another, in the way that you speak to each other and about each other.
i pray that you will touch, talk, and work together with gentleness and respect.
i pray that you will surround yourselves with godly men and women,
that you will be accountable, transparent, honest, humble
and that you will be willing to be trained by righteousness, and that your lives will bear this fruit,
that you'll look more and more like Jesus
and that together you'll have the influence that Jesus was talking about when He said these things you will do and more...
i pray for the little ones that will come...in time.
i pray that you will be prepared to look not only to your own interests, but that you will recognize God's call to train up new disciples,
that you will take seriously the job of pouring your lives out on their behalf,
that God would be pleased with you, His good and faithful servants.
may you honor Him in all things.
i pray that you laugh together, so much,
and that you love your families, friends, and each other so well. 

i pray also that you two will continue to teach me also.
i love you both so very much...
congratulations again.
and jay, i'm so glad that i can officially call you brother.
 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

thankful

thankfulness is the key to joy.



and today
i am thankful for

> a cool morning, accompanied by hot tea. finally.
> a new brother who adores his new wife.
> chelsea and a few more weeks [until she becomes max's roommate].
> God's perfect timing, even when last minute, clearly His doing.
> denver, and always feeling welcome
> colossians

colossians 3.
15 and let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. 
and be thankful.
16 let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, 
with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
17 and whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God the Father through Him.




Tuesday, July 24, 2012

sonship


when i am weak, He is strong.
nothing reminds me of this like running.
i hate it.
but i do it.
and it is one of many ways to worship
and God meets our sacrifices
with His strength.
[running] is when i think the most clearly, the most graciously, the most optimistically.
this is when i forgive people, when i pray for people, when i find joy in life -
this abundant life that He has set before me.
this is when i ask for forgiveness and when i ask God to change me.
lately
i've been asking for three things
greater discernment, that i may live a life of holiness because of His Spirit in me.
steadfast obedience, to Him alone.
and a greater capacity to hide His Word in my heart
:: john 15 :: philippians 3 :: romans 8 ::
walking and talking with c last night and also talking with j today
i am reminded that when we pray,
we must pray in Jesus' name, according to His will,
and we must believe that we have what we have asked for if we have asked according to His will and with a pure heart.
believing it is the battle
and our natural tendency is to lose this fight
but in the same way that He draws us to Himself, He gives us the faith to believe Him
if we ask.
ben pasley talks about this in his book [orphan slave son]. i recommend it.
God's heart for his children is as a perfect Father towards His highly imperfect children.
He will discipline and teach, guide and correct.
He delights in spending time with His sons and daughters.
He prizes us and is active in teaching us about Himself. because this is where life is rooted. in our knowledge of Him.
and our knowledge of the freedom and acceptance that we have with Him.
i am praying that you and i and our community will rest in Him because we recognize our complete dependence on His presence, patience, and grace.
may He bless you and keep you.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

requesting

two things that i am praying for:
discernment. a greater measure of God's wisdom.
and obedience. a strict unwillingness to do anything apart from Him.

i believe that the essence of a song depends on the heart behind it
rich lyrics are a must
"to those who wait" :: bethany dillon 


You say You’re good to those who wait...

Lord, today You know what i need to do,
but You can do more in my waiting than in my doing I could do....


oh, my soul,
wait upon the Lord
keep your lamp filled with oil
oh, my soul,
be not deceived!
wait for Him
don’t be quick to leave...


i’m waiting on You


john 15 :: psalm 41 :: psalm 5 :: matthew 25

and i think about all that k has said since last july,
that God basically decided for her what she needed
and He placed in front of her things that she likely would not have chosen on her own
she didn't try
He chose
and she accepted
and now, all because of His provision
she has joy
and life
abundantly



Saturday, July 14, 2012

bud




God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform
He plants His footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm

Deep in unsearchable mines
Of never failing skill
He treasures up His bright designs
And works His sovereign will

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take
The clouds you so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings, in blessings
In blessings on your head


Judge not the Lord by feeble sense
But trust Him for His grace
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face

His purposes will ripen fast
Unfolding every hour
The bud may have a bitter taste
But sweet will be the flower


Blind unbelief is sure to err
And scan His work in vain
God is His own interpreter
And He will make it plain

In His own time
In His own way...


i post lyrics often i'm finding
but i can't help it.
words are the way that God reveals Himself to me
and when someone can so precisely combine rich words with beautiful music
i'm drawn in...and my mind cannot avoid engaging with what lies behind such a pairing.
jeremy riddle borrows these lines
directly from william cowper's 1774 hymn God Moves in a Mysterious Way.
that He does
and His mysterious ways can be trusted.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

keep

[keep me abiding in You, that i would bear fruit.]

::full attention:: by jeremy riddle

i fell in love this song a couple of weeks ago
and i was delighted to find it yesterday among a collection of cd's sent to me from st. louis...
the word "abide" triggered distinct memories of 5th street.
morning prayer with some of the dearest friends,
a sweet little girl whose name derives directly from john 15,
worship, conversations, community.
a number of recent, small happenings have directed my attention similarly
jordan and charis' plans for kc,
dietrich bonhoeffer's life and purpose,
brandon and gabe's pictures in ibiza...

::full attention::
  
may Your voice be louder
may Your voice be clearer

than all the others
than all the others

may Your face be dearer
may Your words be sweeter
than all the others
than all the others in my life

please keep my eyes fixed on You
please root my heart so deep in You
keep me abiding, keep me abiding
keep me abiding that i,

that i would bear fruit

may Your your presence be truer
may Your presence be nearer
than all the others
than all the others

and may Your light shine brighter
and may Your love move deeper
than all the others
than all the others in my life

please keep these eyes fixed on You
please root my heart so deep in You
keep me asking, Lord, keep me kneeling
keep me abiding that i,

that i would bear fruit

john 15.1-8
i am the true vine, and my father is the gardener.
he cuts of every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.
you are already clean because of the word i have spoken to you.
remain in me and i will remain in you.
no branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
i am the vine, you are the branches.
if a man remains in me and i in him, he will bear much fruit. 
apart from Me [tammy] can do nothing.
if anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.
if you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be given to you. this is to my father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

enough


at some point
everyone has to decide
whether or not to believe that who i am is enough.
if i believe this,
then joy.
if i can't believe this
then i'll try to become someone else
i'll try live up to other peoples' expectations of me
i'll try to be enough.
but
He says
all the days ordained for me were written in His book before one of them came to be.
He knows
and He isn't surprised by what i'm feeling
or by what i will do
because He has in His hands
my whole heart.
when i can find myself awake for hours in the night
striving to determine a life for myself
He simply says, "daughter, rest."
and that one word captures me over and again.
daughter.
because He is Father
and this has the capability of changing the way that i handle any anxious thoughts.
if at the very name of Jesus every knee will bow,
then this name holds a great power
and this power, i've found, gives life.
"Jesus Jesus Jesus..."
has become my prayer when words escape me,
and this, often.
and He speaks that i am indeed enough.
i am enough in my simplicity
i am enough in my silence
i am enough in my own pace
i am enough because He has not made a mistake in shaping and leading my life.
and only when i hear Him speak this way does my heart find rest
and then
under an umbrella of unconditional acceptance
i can flourish.
only then
i believe that i can do anything that He sets before me,
i believe that i am adequate and capable.
i see everyone else before myself
and Jesus is constantly before my eyes.
and i see that
He is good to allow suffering.
i know this because it is in suffering that we learn to teach ourselves truth.
alex has said enough times that teaching something is the best way to learn it
and i've seen that suffering places a demand on the development of our individual theologies,
tests our obedience, either proving or disproving our claims.
my prayer is that i can learn more and more to be the best representation of myself
because like kierkegaard said
with God's help i shall become myself. 
His help alone.

[i need thee]

Friday, June 1, 2012

master

i heard a song on the radio today
"turn around" by matt mahr
and in it he says, "if you're looking for a savior, all you gotta do is turn around"
this got me thinking
about crossroads, and how rod loves to preach from hebrew concepts
i thought of this especially yesterday when i heard his voice over skype with libby
because he's in israel...*sigh*
teshuva is the hebrew idea of making a complete 180-degree turn and looking from my own self-made itinerary, to God's
the word technically means "return" and the idea points to a complete repentance
in their june first entries, charles cowman [streams in the desert] and sarah young [jesus calling] seem to echo eachother
and these seeming coincidences capture my attention
and for whatever reason this has been the common way that the Lord will draw my eyes back to Himself, reminding me of His loving leadership, my adequacy only because of His, my hope because of the power of His Spirit that is in me.
cowman quotes spurgeon when he says,
"thou art on board a vessel which thou could not steer even if the great Captain put thee at the helm, of which thou could not so much as reef a sail, yet thou worriest as if thou wert captain and helmsman. oh, be quiet; God is Master!"
young writes,
"stay conscious of [God] as you go through this day, remembering that [He] never leave[s] your side...thus the light of [His] presence shines on you, giving you Peace and Joy that circumstances cannot touch."

now to Him who is able...

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

fruitfulness

to Him who is able to do more than all we ask or imagine.
to Him who is able.
i feel more His tool than i have in recent years.
and it is He who convicts... and yet He pours out grace.
and i've believed for years now that when He convicts He doesn't condemn, He doesn't point out sin
just to make a son or daughter feel terrible (though this is often to be expected)
but He convicts of sin in order to encourage us in a healthy direction, always back to Himself.
for it is His kindness that leads us to repentance.
because where sin is present, his presence is absent.
for no light is found where there is darkness.
and darkness cannot exist where the light is present.
but, He says, you, i, have His spirit.
and where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
and I see Him, pained in my selfishness, hurt by my chasing after the worries of this life, the Word being choked out and made unfruitful.
i've felt this to be the case.
time and time again.
but
He who is able
promises life and righteousness to those who will be trained by it.

i recommend reading, or i challenge you, as rod says, to read 1 john every day for at least a week.
and i pray that God roots His words into your life and that they flow out of you.

"i write to you dear children because your sins have been forgiven on account of His Name...
i write to you young men because you are strong and the word of God lives in you and you have overcome the evil one...
and so we know and rely on the love God has for us."

to the only God [and you should listen to this]

now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of His glory
with great joy,
to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord,
be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. amen.
[jude 24-25]

Sunday, May 20, 2012

thinking

jana writes all the time these days
and she is beautiful and real and raw
and i'm encouraged by her, by what God is doing in her family,
and her introspection
the unexamined life, after all, is not worth living
[thank you, socrates]
these past couple of weeks have provided some much-needed thinking space
but i will still argue that too much thinking space is no good for anyone
i've wrestled with questions of career and identity
friendships, mentorship, discipleship,
i work and work and work
to create value for myself
and it leaves me feeling like i can never measure up
but
i have needed to arrive back at this conclusion
for quite a while now
realizing that i, indeed, can.never.do.it.
and i can so quickly and so often drift from this, the greatest of any reality that will ever face me
that He who sees,
He who adopts undeserving children,
He who longs to be gracious,
He is right here
עמנואל
and i need Him  
always and completely
i've felt an urge to start another season of the truth project 
looking again at the richness of God's character
as truth is fundamentally about who God is

[thank you, os guiness]
and as i continue to learn who it is that God created me to be
i am again grateful to Him for His mercy
because i don't deserve a bit of it
and to mom and dad for the lessons that they hammered into us
and that i can be sure of one thing
Jesus Christ and Him crucified
[thank you, paul] 
and that this guarantee ushers me into His presence,
not in fear like esther's experience with her husband
but in confidence that He hears us in our time of need,
that He has drawn us as a holy priesthood 
to represent Him to a world that just doesn't know
people who don't know what it can feel like when the God of the universe makes Himself known
and shows how such selfless sacrifice, grace, and love without condition 
creates such a place of safety, trust, and rest.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

disagree

"you may disagree with others about a lot,
but how you disagree has the ability to draw you together or drive you apart."

tony dungy

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

ties

i am so in love with ties.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

echoes


life this week looks like catching up...
a handful of dear friends
and a list of appointments that i've been putting off
and a house, neglected, though now back to normal.
and as i start after these lists
i find this joy that has been dormant for a while.

it was a treat to have emily over last night with me and a and c
and i don't think i've laughed that hard...ever.
and again today.

i've missed having time to read
and to talk with people, unrushed and restful.
i have been finding things like this from charles spurgeon,
"my case is urgent, and i do not see how i am to be delivered, but this is no business of mine. He who makes the promise will find ways and means of keeping it. it is mine to obey His commands ; it is not mine to direct His counsels. i am His servant, not His solicitor. i call upon Him and He will deliver."
but this is no business of mine.
i love this.
i call upon Him and He will deliver.
danae says things like this to me often
and i love when the same idea echoes from more than one place.

i am already anxious for wednesday night and john 17.
i am barely restraining myself for all that this week holds. can. not. wait.
God is before me in new and fresh ways

and though i wonder...He proves that He can be trusted.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Friday, April 20, 2012

close

my college days are drawing to a close.
and i
could.
not.
be.
more.
excited.
but it is a challenge with these exciting days ahead
and the thing that is frustrating me the most
is that my time in the mornings
is so very distractible.
i remember seasons where the first 30+ minutes in the mornings
was so disciplined and rich and focused and exciting.
they were my favorite time of the day.

mornings at the boiler room, especially during weeks of 24/7
when i would sit in chelsea's bird nest chair in front of my huge window
studying deuteronomy and joshua.

the weeks after i got home from israel,
studying the life of david and i was absolutely enthralled...

early mornings in colorado
saw a perfect team of hot tea, jesus calling, the gospels, and the mountains.
then mal would come into the living room and blow dry her hair.
i loved these mornings.

i'm distracted now by the freedom and possibilities that graduation promises,
i'm distracted by the most wonderful man that God has brought into my life,
i'm distracted by so. many. things. that i want to learn next...
and all of these are such great things.

but
He
is
better.
and in light of this, everything else will hold its rightful place.

luke 10.41-42 

but the Lord answered her, “martha, martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

luke 12.29-32

and do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. for all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. instead, seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you. “fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

philippians 4:6-8

do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Friday, April 13, 2012

intricately

talk about a heavy week...
God's faithfulness became more real to me
and i am so humbled in my helplessness.
i feel like i had to answer this question for myself as if i have never asked it before.
God, are you present? are you faithful? do you hear me?
there were moments when i have never felt more alone
and He would remind me of His immanence.
it seemed like each day one conversation or one random interaction blessed me such that it would sustain me until i needed that next confirmation of His promise.
like shawna said today that it is no small thing to learn that our God is both sovereign and good.
He works for our good.
He is involved and aware
and because of this we can expect that even the hard weeks
are purposed.
i haven't felt humility this way in a long time.
it kind of makes me sick
but it also makes God look so much greater in my eyes.
i see Him as more capable than i've believed before
I see His compassion, His eyes, sincere.
though overwhelmed with what life is asking of me now
as i finish my college career
i'm learning myself
in new ways
and i've been challenged and encouraged by so many dear friends.
thank you, dear friends. you have no idea what God is doing through you.
and this last little acknowledgement that He is concerned for the small things as well,
i looked at one of my favorite blogs.
it is called 365 promises.
i do this thing where i like to read the thing that is posted on my birthdate,
and actually, i like to do this in the book of luke too.
i'll read a june 12 entry. or, with luke, i'll read chapter 6, verse 12.
i don't just do this for my birthday.
[i love birthdays.]
and i do this for friends and family as well.
i looked up alex's birthday on 365 promises.
this was the picture and promise that was posted there:
this was on my desktop for months...
months ago.
such a small detail.
perhaps.
but quite possibly just another reminder that He is intricately aware of my life
and He cares.
how easily we can miss these precious details if we are not watching for them.
His mercies are new every morning.
He blesses us all. day. long.
and how blessed i am.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

easter

easter is the best day of the year
in my opinion.
i love easter week. i love good friday.
so thankful for all of it.
the world's story coming together
in Jesus, the One whose righteousness alone is sufficient
sufficient to remove all sin, guilt, shame, fear
the things that can so often and so easily own our days,
and to replace these things with grace, joy, peace,
the things that - whether we can label them or not - we are all desperately living our lives in search of
but
these human limitations,
our boxed-in comprehensions of what it means to receive something
will never make sense of our undeserved gift,
the greatest self-denial ever known.
this humility of Jesus contrasted against - but somehow also working in tandem with -
the Father's complete power, rooted in His complete love.
it is hard to understand Jesus' death as love
and our sins, gone.
but
when we know the character of God,
we can know that it is His very nature that desires to give Himself
so that we may have life to the full [john 10]
and we can know that Jesus was obedient, even to death
to prove 2 things
that God, the Father, can be trusted no matter how must we must give
and that life comes only from death.
the Resurrection.
the reason we can stand today in assurance that
the God of the universe delights in us.
Jesus says that very few people can say this
because the road is narrow [matthew 7]
but
His Word also states that
in those who believe in Him [with lives that show this to be so clear, bearing fruit] [john 15]
dwells the same power that raised Jesus from the dead. [romans 8.11]
and i, we, can walk in confidence knowing this.
it is finished.
...this day changed everything.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

steadfast


this never happens to me
i woke up singing a song ["You are my hope" by Matt Gilman and Cory Asbury]
and when i opened my Bible to read, i was at Psalm 25

To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
O my God, in you I trust;
    let me not be put to shame;
    let not my enemies exult over me.
Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame;
    they shall be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.
4 Make me to know your ways, O Lord;
    teach me your paths.
Lead me in your truth and teach me,
    for you are the God of my salvation;
    for you I wait all the day long.
Remember your mercy, O Lord, and your steadfast love,
    for they have been from of old.
Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions;
    according to your steadfast love remember me,
    for the sake of your goodness, O Lord!
8 Good and upright is the Lord;
    therefore he instructs sinners in the way.
He leads the humble in what is right,
    and teaches the humble his way.
10 All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness,
    for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.
11 For your name's sake, O Lord,
    pardon my guilt, for it is great.
12 Who is the man who fears the Lord?
    Him will he instruct in the way that he should choose.
13 His soul shall abide in well-being,
    and his offspring shall inherit the land.
14 The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear him,
    and he makes known to them his covenant.
15 My eyes are ever toward the Lord,
    for he will pluck my feet out of the net.
16 Turn to me and be gracious to me,
    for I am lonely and afflicted.
17 The troubles of my heart are enlarged;
    bring me out of my distresses.
18 Consider my affliction and my trouble,
    and forgive all my sins.
19 Consider how many are my foes,
    and with what violent hatred they hate me.
20 Oh, guard my soul, and deliver me!
    Let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in you.
21 May integrity and uprightness preserve me,
    for I wait for you.
22 Redeem Israel, O God,
    out of all his troubles.

these lines stood out to me

Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame;

10 All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness,
    for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.

all the paths. even the hard ones. 
love and faithfulness for those who hold fast to Him.

[and this makes me think of char. i miss her.]