Thursday, June 30, 2011

Small Thought

Here is a small thought to ponder. I may enlarge upon it later, but as part of my mulling I thought I'd go ahead and post it.

Self control is the greatest exercise in self denial and loving others.
Because I love others, I am practicing self control.
Because I need to control my actions, I am denying myself of what I want.
Delayed gratification produces maturity.

Any thoughts out there? Please comment!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Let Me Tell You About My Jesus

I was led through a valley, and then began to trudge up a hill. It's been rocky and steep, and every time I see a stream of sunshine, I fall and scrape my knee. But the lessons are there to learn if I look for them.

And my Lord has never forsaken me.

I want to tell others that He is there, and that He is working. I know, because I've seen it. I can prove it.

During the darkness and doubts, and struggling, Jesus has come to my side and He has given me

Mercy. On hardest days of climbing, the pain was eased.
Grace. Strength to do what I thought was impossible.
Trust. When I was lost.
Strength. To keep on, even when I was so weary.
Hope. When I couldn't see.
Peace. That can't be explained.
Happiness. When I needed relief.
Light. To follow and illuminate.

Everything I need.

God never said He'd make it easy. But He did say He'd help us during hard times. He did say He'd be with us. He promised He'd help us carry our cross.

How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent word!
What more can he say than to you He hath said-
To you who for refuge to Jesus have fled?

"Fear not, I am with thee, oh, be not dismayed,
For I am thy God, and will still give thee aid;
I'll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
Upheld by My gracious, omnipotent hand.

"When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of sorrow shall not overflow;
For I will be with thee thy trouble to bless,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.

"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.

"The soul that on Jesus doth lean for repose,
I will not, I will not, desert to his foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I'll never, no never, no never forsake."

How Firm A Foundation, John Keith.

Saturday, June 25, 2011


When I saw this, I thought of Christians linking together all over the world. Connection bringing them together. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Living Water

John 7:3-38
On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water."

Living Water.
It was raining today, and as I was driving to work I was thinking about living water. Water brings life. It makes plants green and vibrant. It makes it strong and healthy and causes it to grow almost before our eyes. Without water the plant would die, and would certainly not grow and bloom and spread seeds.
It would just die, brown and dry and dead. No plant, no blooms, no seeds, nothing to perpetuate the plant to continue on beyond it's natural life.

Living water is water that is fresh, and clean, and moving. It has oxygen added to it from movement. It is cleaned and made pure by movement as well.
Gurgling, splashing, dripping, cool, clear water. Without water, there is no life. Water is essential.
In my life, I know how dark and depressing and confusing it would be without the rivers of Living Water flowing from my heart. Living water that only Christ can bring.

Living water refreshes us, and cleans us, and causes us to grow.
Reminds me of the water of baptism. At baptism, water is used to represent the grace of God and the Holy Spirit as He cleanses us and makes us fresh and new. We make a new start, and have a clear conscience. It's life-giving water.
The love of God is Life-Giving Water.

Sometimes I get so thirsty. All I can think of is water, with ice clinking in the glass. And when I finally get some, it tastes so good. I can feel it trickling down, filling me with coolness, and quenching the dry thirst.
This happens with Living Water, too. I get dry and doubtful, and so thirsty for hope and forgiveness to wash down and pour all over me. Living Water never dries up, and is never stale.

I remember when I was in Israel, the temperatures were easily 100F during the days when we were digging. The soil was dry and dusty, and we were hot and sweaty and thirsty. After work one day we went to a spot on the Kinneret where an underwater spring made a waterfall. It was fresh, pure, clean, and cold. It refreshed us, and washed away the dust, and re-hydrated our bodies as it washed and poured and beat down on us.

Living Water bubbles up from our hearts, it fountains out and helps us to grow and then it helps us to spread. You can't hide Living Water. It shows where it is. It makes us green, healthy, and strong. It helps us to bloom and make seeds and spread.

I am thankful for Living Water. I am thankful that there is never an end to it, and it's always there, waiting for us. Living Water that never goes dry.

We need to share our Living Water. There are thirsty people who need it. They are drying up, and dying inside. Only Living Water can revive them.

John 4:10
Jesus answered and said to her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, 'Give Me a drink,' you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water."

Sunday, June 19, 2011


I believe in the rest of the story
I believe there's still ink in the pen
I have wasted my very last day
Trying to change what happened way back when

I believe it's the human condition
We all need to have answers to why
More than ever, I'm ready to say that I
Will still sleep peacefully
With answers out of reach from me until?

Someday all that's crazy
All that's unexplained
Will fall into place
And someday all that's hazy
Through a clouded glass
Will be clear at last
And sometimes we're just waiting
For someday

We are born with a lingering hunger
We are born to be unsatisfied
We are strangers who can't help but wander
And dream about the other side of?

Every puzzle's missing piece
Every unsolved mystery
More than half of every whole
Rests in the Hands that hold you for someday?

"Someday" Nichole Nordeman

Friday, June 17, 2011

Escaping Stress

Stress. Even seeing the word typed out makes me feel it.

I've been so stressed lately. Every time I have a stressful period it effects me different ways. This time, it's hives. Or extreme emotion. But I'd much rather itch than cry so I've been glad that the last two weeks have been more itching than tears.

I've been so stressed, and trying to escape it different ways.
There's sleeping. But even when I sleep I can still feel the pressure sometimes.
There's computer time. Which I have also been doing, but I'm not seeing it really helping with my stress.
There's writing. Writing is an outlet for me. I've been writing more for my blog, published and unpublished, and writing in my journal. Writing allows me to gain perspective when I see it in black and white. It helps me see when I'm being reasonable, and when I'm completely missing the point. So writing has been a positive escape while also being productive.
There's talking to friends and family as a means of escape. This can be productive, too. Building good relationships and working on them is always a positive thing.
Another way to escape stress is to just not think about whatever it is that stresses me. Focusing on other things and avoiding the stress factor. This can go either way. Either I ignore it and never work through the stress, or I ignore it and eventually it goes away because I've gotten busy and grown beyond it with other more productive things.

This list of ways to escape stress could go on for a while.
If I make a habit of escaping my stress, then won't my strength and ability to deal with the stress diminish? If I don't exercise working through my stress or not letting things get to me, it seems that more and more things will stress me and I will have to escape more and more. And by escaping more and more, I'll just continue the cycle. It's vicious.

So that means I need to work through the stress, and work through the issues that cause the stress. Exercise these stress busting muscles.

One way I can reduce my stress is by resting and eating. I forget to eat, or don't want to eat and forget how much I really need food. It's becoming more and more obvious to me that my mood and well-being is directly tied to how much I've eaten that day. And the less I've eaten, the more tired I am. But I keep going and then stay up a little too late and then get up a little too early. Rest is so good. Rest allows everything to calm down, relax, and helps me put everything into perspective when I take time to rest and look at the big picture. Resting is just as important as accomplishing. Without rest, I can't accomplish.

Another way I can reduce my stress is by working on my spiritual life. Whenever I let myself slip, and get lazy, my stress level goes up. I have to stay consistent with my Bible time and prayer time and thankfulness time. Reading my Bible puts things into perspective, too. Prayer time reminds me that God answers prayers and that I have a relationship with God who made everything! And me! Thankfulness time reminds me of what I have and where I've been and how good God is to me.

I keep thinking of putting things into perspective. It's really easy to feel like this hill is so big, when really it's just an ant bed. When I zoom out to look at the big picture, my big troubling stresser becomes so small. There's really a lot more going on in the world than whatever is stressing me. Looking at the big picture is a good way to figure out where I am and where I'm going and what's really going on.

Another thing to reduce stress is by being missional and thinking of outreach. Often when I am stressed, I start thinking about how stressed I am and what is stressing me, and if I'll stop and think of others and reach out to others my problems are not so bad after all. There's always someone worse off than me.

The problem is, I forget all these things in the stress of the moment. Stress can make me feel kind of bleary-eyed and fuzzy because I'm just so Stressed.  And because of the weight of the stress, I forget what I need to be doing and thinking. My thinking processes start processing wrong and I get caught up in the stress.

But writing helps me remember. When I write about it, I remember what I need to be doing to level off and balance out. And then I have a written reminder that helps me when I stumble across it later...

Like now. :)

So goodbye stress. I'm not letting you control me. But I'm not escaping from you either. I'm busting you.

Walking Down Memory Lane

Today I happened to use a term from a Sesame Street song that my sister and friend didn't recognize. So I went over to Youtube and found it for them. And then I liked it so much, I decided to post it here for future reference. :)

And this one in particular:

Thursday, June 16, 2011


I trust God.
Sounds almost trite and cliche.
But it's true. I trust my God.

But I've discovered that sometimes I have to "put feets" to my prayers. And really show that I trust.

Trusting God does not come naturally. And deciding to trust God does not come easily, either. It's terribly difficult to wake up one day and say to myself, "Today I am going to start trusting God with my life." My life! Just that easy!

Sometimes, I have to fight tooth and nail to trust God.

But it's something I can prove to myself over and over. I can trust God. And I can prove it.

And here's another thing I've been thinking about trust. Trust takes action. To trust, I have to actually let go, all the way, and release whatever it is I'm trusting to God. That's action.
To trust, I have to take steps, actively in the direction I'm being called toward. That's action.
To trust, I have to walk forward calmly, and wait. Yes waiting is action, too.
To trust, I have to believe with all my heart that God really can handle my life.
And I can prove that He can.

2 Samuel 22:31
As for God, His way is perfect;
The word of the Lord is proven;
He is a shield to all who trust in Him.

Job 13:14
Why do I take my flesh in my teeth, and put my life in my hands?
Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.

Psalm 5:11
But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You;
Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them;
Let those also who love Your name be joyful in You.

Psalm 28:7
The Lord is my strength and my shield; My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped;
Therefore my heart greatly rejoices and with my song I will praise Him.

2 Corinthians 1:9
Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Quiet Happiness

I love the feeling of peace. I love the quiet happiness that settles into my heart and life. It's the moments of joy and knowing that God is there and He's guiding and directing my life if I will just relax and let Him. It's so good to have it back after a hard time of darkness. 

It's in the moments of swinging on the porch swing in the evenings, talking to my parents.
It's in the moments of playing kickball in the backyard and laughing at ourselves because we can't throw worth a darn.
It's just as I'm falling asleep and smiling to myself because I know. I know. I know. that He is there. He hasn't forsaken me. He hasn't forgotten me. He has a plan for this journey of life.
Quiet happiness. 

If there's one lesson I am learning on this hill, it's that God always leads us. And always guides us. And He won't let us make mistakes or miss-step. But we have to trust Him, and allow Him to lead. We have to learn to follow.

It reminds me of dancing. As a girl, I have to follow the lead of my partner. He's the one who decides where we go on the dance floor, and what moves we'll be making. He guides the dance. He's in charge. I just have to follow. When I follow, I think about how to follow. I have to relax and let him lead, and not try to take over. Sometimes it's hard, because I start thinking about how I anticipate the dance to go. And that's when I miss-step.
Just as I enjoy dancing with a good lead, I want to be a good follow. 

When I was little, I remember standing on my grandfather's shoes as he danced around the room with me. I remember giggling because I was dancing with my Paw-Paw. He danced. I held on. We laughed.

So in this grand dance of life, I'm the follow. God is the lead. I just need to relax, and let Him guide me. Then the dance will be smooth and beautiful.

Psalm 31:14-15
But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord:
I say, "You are my God."
My times are in Your hand.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Culturally Relevant

My sister Anna and I hung out at the mall yesterday.
And had coffee.
And also a late night conversation thanks to the coffee. But it was a good conversation and I thought I'd blog part of it.

We were discussing the culture. While shopping, we were looking at music. I noticed that all the covers to the pop CDs were so hopeless. They were dark, they were weird, they were forms of art that had no meaning or form or rule. To the artists, life was not guided by a standard of hope. It seemed scary and dark and depressing. Go check out the music in a store near you...and think about the subtle messages being sent as well as the overt ones. I was shocked.

For a while I've been a little back and forth about culture. I've been caught in the middle between two worlds. Growing up, I was the person who didn't know any band names, celebrity names, pop music, and I didn't know what was trendy or fashionable. And I didn't care. It really didn't bother me to not dress in the height of fashion. I don't think I was ever terribly strange with how I lived or looked. I just didn't spend time worrying about culture. It wasn't important to me.

Now I am much more aware of the culture. It bombards me. And I've really been thinking lately about the subliminal messages that are constantly being sent and stored in my mind and heart. Messages sent through images, through tv, through music, through advertisements. And all this culture has a way of creeping in.

For instance, there's this one particular musical artist. Apparently he's a Christian. But his music is not Christian. They're very catchy, very witty songs that he sings. They're full of fun words and images. But when I listen to them, I notice how depressing the messages are. And it clouds up my world slowly, as I am allowing this to enter my mind and heart. I'm just thinking about how this artist is cool, and how popular he is. And how this song is interesting because of the lyrics. And the sound is pretty cool, too. But slowly the messages build up, clouding my view.

When I was talking with Anna, we were discussing how we are called as Christians to share the light of Christ. We have Christ in us. He is shining in us and through us to light up the room and spread to those around us. Like fire. Christ is on a higher level. Christ should be the most important thing to us. And we were discussing how the message of the culture is like a cloud. And we allow this culture unthinkingly to change us as the messages hit us. We're mindlessly going along, doing our thing, and the culture is growing in us. It's growing in importance to us and influencing us to make choices and decisions about how we live our life. And if we don't stop and evaluate sometimes, the light will be clouded.

We spend a lot of time on the culture. We spend a lot of time learning about the newest thing, or keeping up with what everyone one else is listening to or watching or looking at. And we build the foundation of our life on it sometimes. But the things that are taking up our time are like wood, hay and stubble. And the things of Christ are like gold, silver, and precious stones.

The culture itself may not be bad or evil. The problem is when we let it change us unintentionally, and grow into an importance to us that keeps us from Christ as we allow it to define us and shape us and make decisions in ways that we are unaware.

And I don't think Christ needs the culture. I think I can be the hands and feet of Jesus without being in the know of who's on tv, or whos who in artists.

There's a balance between allowing the culture to shape us and define us, and knowing about the culture we live in as we are ambassadors for Christ. I don't think we should be burying our heads in the sand and avoiding the culture at all costs. But I also think we should be very intentional and cognizant of what we're allowing to enter our minds and what we're allowing to change us. There are so many messages being sent to our hearts every day in our culture. Messages about how we're supposed to look, how we're supposed to act, how we're supposed to live. Messages constantly being sent about how we're supposed to think and what we're supposed to believe. It's overwhelming.

But the message we should be focused on is the message of Christ. Of the hope found in Him. Of the forgiveness and love. And the life we can find in Him. This is the message that should be changing us. This is the message that should be guiding us.
Culturally relevant, all over the world.

Romans 12:2
1 John 2:15
John 3:17
John 17

Friday, June 10, 2011

Following Jesus...

What does it mean to follow Jesus?

Following Jesus means hanging out with sinners.
Following Jesus means doing things counter-culturally.
Following Jesus means loving the unlovable.
Following Jesus means taking the hard road.
Following Jesus means taking risks.
Following Jesus means carrying your cross.
Following Jesus means making hard choices.
Following Jesus means taking the narrow way.
Following Jesus means leaving the unimportant things behind.
Following Jesus means dying to self.
Following Jesus means serving others.
Following Jesus means making changes.
Following Jesus means sacrifice.

Following Jesus means always having what is needed.
Following Jesus means deep and abiding joy.
Following Jesus means never being lonely.
Following Jesus means finding new strength.
Following Jesus means healing power.
Following Jesus means overwhelming grace.
Following Jesus means light burdens.
Following Jesus means growth and depth.
Following Jesus means never losing hope.
Following Jesus means everlasting life.
Following Jesus means peace in the midst of conflict.
Following Jesus means your life is changed.
Following Jesus means your heart is changed.
Following Jesus means your world is changed.

Any other definitions of what following Jesus means?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Pentecost is Sunday and in preparation the lectionary texts are turning in that direction today.
As part of my work I occasionally get to look at theology blogs and stumbled upon an interesting post yesterday that I thought I'd share. You can go Here to find it.
I may have more thoughts on the Holy Spirit coming up soon...I'm not finished mulling and thinking yet.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


To the one who's dreams are falling all apart
And all you're left with is a tired and broken heart
I can tell by your eyes you think your on your own
but you're not all alone

Have you heard of the One who can calm the raging seas
Give sight to the blind, pull the lame up to their feet
With a love so strong he'll never let you go
oh you're not alone

You will be safe in His arms
You will be safe in His arms
'Cause the hands that hold the world are holding your heart
This is the promise He made
He will be with You always
When everything is falling apart
You will be safe in His arms

Verse 2:
Did you know that the voice that brings the dead to life
Is the very same voice that calls you to rise
So hear Him now He's calling you home
You will never be alone

These are the hands that built the mountains
the hands that calm the seas
These are the arms that hold the heavens
they are holding you and me

These are hands that healed the leper
Pulled the lame up to their feet
These are the arms that were nailed to a cross
to break our chains and set us free

I love it when I listen to Pandora and the perfect song comes on. Another little thing that bring grace to my life. And also underscores why I purpose to listen to hopeful, happy music that uplifts.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


I was going to write a scathing blog post about reality, or rather, escaping reality. I was going to talk about how reality is where it's real, and how our life shouldn't be lived in a fantasy world.

I was going to mention all the things people use to escape reality. Things like

cell phones
constant music in private ear buds
and so much more.

I was going to discuss how people seem to be escaping reality more and more. It's an acceptable thing nowadays to be always in and out of what's really going on. Bored with what your friend is saying over lunch? Flip open your cell phone to check out Facebook. Tired of hearing your neighbor talk? IPods are there for you and only share what you want to hear. Family members getting on your nerves? Television is easy to focus on if you want to block everyone else out...and they're busy blocking you out with it, too!

Reality is so often hard. Reality often means dealing with painful situations, painful people, or uncomfortable things. Reality is not the fluffy clouds or happy endings of fantasy. Reality is..real. Sometimes it's real hard.

Reality is where it's at though. When you're dealing with reality, you're often in a place where you have the choice to grow, or change, or the choice to ignore what's going on and stay in the same comfortable spot.

Avoiding reality is easy. Avoiding reality allows you to slip into a dream world where everything goes your way or you can control what the outcome looks like.

I was going to write about avoiding reality and escaping reality.
And then I realized that I wanted to escape my own reality. My reality of choosing a hard path. I'd love to escape to an oasis instead of climbing this hill.

But my muscles - be it spiritual muscles or physical muscles- won't grow stronger by lying around an oasis. They'll grow stronger by climbing the hill which is my reality.

And I want to be strong. I want a strong spiritual life. I want a strong physical life. I want to really live. I want to be really present. I want to be present in God's presence. Not avoiding the reality of His goodness and His love. Not avoiding the reality of His discipline or direction. I don't want to miss out on what's going on right before me. I don't want to miss out on God.

So I won't write that scathing blog post.
Instead I'll work on climbing this hill.
Because the view...which the hill blocks...will be beautiful.
And because I'm compelled by the reality of God's presence. Who would want to escape that love?
Not me.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Road Sign

This past week I suddenly noticed some new road signs on the road I travel to and from work. Who knows, they may have been there for months...and I just never paid any attention.

But this week as I was driving along and contemplating life, I passed these signs and it suddenly struck me that these signs are so true. About driving this particular stretch of road, and about life.

Hill Blocks View. The hill is blocking the view so you don't know what is coming next or what is about to come over the hill. The sign is to warn drivers to be cautious in those areas. Don't be impatient and try to pass other drivers when you can't see what might be coming next. Don't anticipate because you can only see the hill, not the view.

I've been thinking about my life as a journey. I often imagine it as a pathway or a road that I am walking as I try to emulate Christ and follow His ways. I imagine the views I'm seeing as I think about the things going on in my life. The happy things and positive things and exciting things seem like pleasant places to me. The hard things and disappointing things seem like deserts, valleys, or hills.

And recently, I've felt like I was in a valley, or trudging up a hill. So when I saw this sign I thought, "This hill blocks my view." I can't see what's coming next. I can't anticipate where this will lead.

In this journey of life, we can't know why things happen or where things will lead. We may have a vision of where we're going, but if we're following Jesus, we can't know for sure where the journey will take us. But we follow our Savior eagerly. And when we get to the top of the hill, we can look back and see the view. And we can begin to see the whys. And be glad for the valley and the climb.

This kind of reminds me of the threads of life. The weaver weaves them together. It takes a while for the pattern to emerge, and especially if you look at the underside, it just looks like a tangle. But it ends up being a beautiful tapestry.

The hill blocks the view. For now. But it won't always. Eventually we'll be at the top and we'll see more clearly where we came from and where we're going. We'll catch a fresh vision and we'll have a fresh viewpoint as we continue our journey. We can't anticipate, or get impatient. But the excitement of seeing the view is building, and the beauty of the view, of seeing the valleys and hills and pleasant places and deserts all blending into a beautiful panorama of a life serving God will be worth it all.

And so I keep walking, keep journeying, keep following my Jesus on this aventura de la vida. Because He is worth it all. Because He is guiding me on this pathway. And I,
must only follow.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Corporate Worship

There's something about gathering together to worship God as one.

There's something about praying in one voice- hundreds of voices, hundreds of ways of speaking, all praying together one prayer in unity. The prayers rise up powerfully to the roof and beyond to the heart of God.

There's something to singing beautifully together in worship of our Creator. Hundreds of voices, blending together in harmony.

There's something to everyone reading the same scripture out loud together. The power of so many voices adds to the power of the Word of God.

There's something about remembering our baptism together. Of remembering how we were washed clean from our sins.

There's something to quietly accepting together the one bread and one cup of redemption. Just as there's one loaf, there's one body of Christ. Hundreds of hands accepting the gift of Christ entering them and giving grace through the act of communion.

There's something about corporately, together, joining to acknowledge God. There's something about fellowshipping with other Christians. There's something about being reminded that there are hundreds of parts to the body of Christ.

"Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke until love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as you see the day approaching. Hebrews 10:22-25

One body. One God. Many people. Joined together in one faith. All following the One True God.
Corporate Worship.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

It Really Is A Wonderful Life

I was thinking today that it really is a wonderful life.
I don't deserve it. God's grace and love has been abundant.

I was thinking particularly about all the dreams I've had that came true.
And all the things I never dreamed that came true, too.

Things like places I wanted to visit, things I wanted to do.
And things like good friends who encourage, and unexpected small things that make me happy.

My family is a huge part of the wonderful life. Especially my Dad and Mom.

So many unexpected happinesses. And you know, it's really small things that often show me that God is there and that He loves me.

Flowers from a giggling little girl.
A pen that flows just right from my boss.
Noticing the yellow flowers against the drab background of winter.
A bird nest in a tree.
Sun shining.
Rain on the roof of my car.
Hugs and kisses from a little brother.
The coolness of a special drink on a hot day.

It's all good.

Thinking of all these good things, and all the lovely things makes me realize how overwhelmingly wonderful this life is. And it makes me remember that I must share this love with others.

I've run into so many people who have things so much worse than I. I'm so incredibly well off compared to so many people. And it makes me want to reach out my two little hands to help them, and it makes my heart ache for them. Some how, some way I've got to show Christ's love to them, some how some way show them a bit of heaven.

Because then it will truly be
A really wonderful life.