Thursday, January 29, 2009


Sometimes it's really hard for me to wrap my mind around how big Christ is. His words could calm a treacherous storm. His hands could heal a blind woman. He walked on this Earth as a human, felt emotions, was tempted, was tortured, yet never sinned. 

Possibly the hardest thing for me to comprehend is that HIS blood, that was shed for MY disgusting sins, is the only reason I won't be suffering through eternal punishment. There's nobody else that we have known or will ever know that has that power.
In my Life Together Group (LTG), we were discussing how all of our sins are recorded and we'll be face-to-face with God and there they'll be. All of them washed away by his grace, but still, all will be there. But the part that really got me was that all of our "good deeds" will be shown to us for what they really are. Yikes! As humbling as it is to know that not even the best display of kindness, love, thankfulness, or selflessness is considered good compared to our Almighty God, it does give us more appreciation for the pain, wrath, and punishment that Christ took upon himself to spare us. Not even the purest of humans could enter Heaven on their own accord. 

"This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."-Romans 3:22-23 (NIV)

I seek to know so much about the Lord and I strive to grow daily in my desire to understand him, but at the same time, I feel fine with the fact that sometimes I can't fathom it. The lyrics from "Indescribable" by Chris Tomlin say it better than I can:

All powerful, untamable
Awestruck we fall to our knees 
As we humbly proclaim
You are amazing, God

I pray the power of the Holy Spirit and the gift of eternal life in Heaven with my Creator never ceases to amaze me.

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Love of Money

Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, I send a text message to 13 women at 6:30 a.m. The goal of this text is to get everyone up and out of bed in time to spend some quality devotional time with the Lord before shuffling off to work, school, or whatever mom/wife tasks they have that day. I include a verse to kick-start the day.

Today's verse is Hebrews 13:5.

"Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you.'” (ESV)

Living in Orange County, this is not an easy task. ;) People love their things. Big houses, expensive cars, lots of bling- whatever it is. I'm definitely guilty of this! I can't afford a big house or an expensive car but I catch myself desiring to have these things "when I'm older". I'm not saying it's necessarily bad to want or have these things, but when our love and desire for these things goes above and beyond our love and desire for Christ and His glory, it becomes idolatry.

Lately I've been trying to keep my priorities in check. I want to make sure God's glory is first in my life. Sadly, that's definitely not always the case. I am prayerfully hoping that it becomes easier and easier to just naturally desire God's glory above anything else. After all, the promise that Christ will never leave or forsake me is way better than anything I could buy.

"But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal."-Matthew 6:20 (NIV)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration 2009

Regardless of my personal feelings about President-elect Barack Obama taking office today, I am resting in God's sovereignty over the situation.

"Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God."-Romans 13:1 (ESV)

If this wasn't part of the Lord's perfect plan, it would not be happening.

Please join me in praying for the future of our Nation, the decisions that are yet to be made by Obama and others in Washington, the outcome of those decisions, the health of our economy, the war and impending changes regarding it, and also for the safety of our new President, his wife, and his two daughters. To read Dr. Albert Mohler's prayer for today's inauguration, click here.

Also, though everyone has a different opinion about President Bush and his wife, Laura, I think it's important to be grateful for the past 8 years that he dedicated to our country. He took office during a very tumultuous time in America and despite differing opinions on how situations were handled, his reign as President was also part of a plan bigger than we can know. I pray for health, peace, happiness, and a huge sigh of relief for President and Mrs. George W. Bush.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Praying for Our Youth

I was just realizing the other day that I have had my driver's license for over 6 1/2years, meaning 6 1/2 years ago I was 16. In some ways, it feels like just yesterday and in others, that was an eternity ago. I couldn't help but think about all the changes that have occurred since then, not in my life, but in the life of a 16-year-old. With the invention of MySpace, Facebook, and YouTube, there are a billion ways to "put yourself out there", whereas none of those social outlets were around when I was 16. Apparently, parental monitoring is not as strict as it should be, considering the things that are in the news regarding the aforementioned websites. Pornography is available at the click of a button and even "Seventeen" magazine has articles that no 17-year-old needs to be reading. It's a slippery slope we are on.

Lately, the youth of not only my church, but of our nation, have really been heavy on my heart. As I was looking on MySpace, I was browsing through some younger girls' bulletin posts and the words that these 14- and 15-year-old girls were typing for their friends (and undoubtedly some strangers) to see were appalling. These girls are obviously under the impression that being openly sexual and promiscuous is a benefit to them. I can't help but be so saddened and so afraid for these young girls, soon to be the young women of our generation.

It became so apparent to me how vital our role as "older" women is. (This is not to discount mens' role in young women's lives, by any means. It is just as vital, if not more so, for young girls to have positive male role models in their lives.) I have a 17-year-old sister, and obviously she is more open to discussing the real details of what goes on in High School with me than she would be with my mom. It's NOT pretty out there, seriously. We need to be desperately seeking God in this and praying for this upcoming generation ferverently.

Sadly, this is not just a problem outside the church (as is true with most "worldly issues"). The youth of our own churches need to be cultivated and shown a good example just the same. I grew up in the church and still had a rebellious streak in my teen years. Being a woman of God is an honor and we should serve as examples of God's love all the time, especially to our younger brothers and sisters in Christ.

Titus 2: 3-5 says, "Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled." (ESV)

Please be in prayer with me for the youth, who are seeing and experiencing things much beyond their maturity level.

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Flesh is Weak

Lately I've been overcome with the feeling of inadequacy and the realization that I'm a horrible sinner. Is this the first time I've realized this? No, absolutely not. However, it is the first time that I've used this realization to drop to my knees and praise God. Understanding my faults and acknowledging my battles can be one of the greatest ways to give God the glory and express my gratitude that I am not suffering the wrath that I so very much deserve.

Realizing that we are sinners and that we are nothing without the grace of God is part of being diligent Christ-followers. Last night in our small groups, we were discussing the love that Christ has for us and how unfathomable it is at times. The strongest love that we can possibly have here on Earth (whether for a child, spouse, parent, etc) is NOTHING in comparison to the love that Christ has for us. Nothing! I can hardly wrap my mind around it. I can't imagine still loving someone so much after they have deliberately and knowingly wronged me over and over. It's like if one of your closest family members or your best friend just keeps punching you in the face over and over again. They know it's wrong, but after they do it, they feel guilty and apologize. After the third or fourth punch (maybe less, maybe more, depending on how patient you are) you'd be thinking, "If you were REALLY sorry, you'd stop punching me!" Right?! I know I would. The truth is that we figuratively "punch" God in the face over and over with our constant disobedience, but He loves us anyway. Our sins, every last one, were washed away by the nails that struck through our Creator's hands.

"Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." -Matthew 26:41 (ESV)

Am I sad that I'm a sinner and that my flesh is weak and that I'm easily tempted? Yes. But in realizing that, the Cross and the payment of my sins becomes more real and becomes more of an every day thankfulness; an utter and complete gratitude for the best gift I could ever receive.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

What's Important Enough?

I attended a time management seminar a number of years ago, led by a highly successful former NCAA basketball coach. The coach tried to help us clarify what was most important to us in life. He said, "Lets pretend theres a 140 foot I-beam laying on the ground that's 9 inches wide and the top of the beam is about l2 inches off the ground. Let's say that I'm standing on one end with a $100 dollar bill and you're standing at the other. Now how many of you would be willing to come get that $100 if all you had to do was walk down that I-beam to have it?" Well everybody raised their hand.

Then he said, "Now let's hook that I-beam to a helicopter and lift it up between the twin towers at the World Trade Center in New York City (This was before their tragic collapse) . They're about 138 feet apart, so because of this long expanse, the I-beam is sagging a little bit. It's windy up at that altitude. There's snow and a sleet coming down. How many of you would walk across the I-beam now for that $100 bill?" Nobody raised their hand. "How about for a $1000?" Nobody raised their hand. "How about for $10,000?" Nobody raised their hand.

Then he pointed to a woman and he said, "Do you have any kids?" And she said, "I have a 2 year old." He said, "What if I was holding your 2 year old on the other end of that beam? Would you be willing to come then?" She said, "I would run across that beam!" And the coach said, "What youre willing to walk across the I-beam for tells you what your priorities are."

What would you walk across the beam for?

"Only fear the LORD and serve him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things he has done for you." -1st Samuel 12:24-25 (ESV)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Praying for Taylor

As I mentioned yesterday, my friend's baby is in the hospital with bacterial meningitis. Anyone who knows about meningitis knows it's so very serious and it can cause serious issues and even death. Obviously this is something nobody wants to deal with, let alone watch their baby go through. However, through the whole thing, Kyle and Courtney (the parents) have shown so much faithfulness and trust that it's rubbing off on people around them! Their neighbor, who previously was uninterested in church, has mentioned that this has made him think differently and now he's interested in going. God works in mysterious ways! It's amazing to see people going through way more strenuous trials than I am, being so reliant on the Lord. It's a great reminder.

I made this card for them. 

"Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."-Matthew 11:28 (ESV)

I was speaking with a friend last night who said it's easier for her to pray when things are going well. I can't help but imagine that this is fairly common. It's easy to be a Christian when things are smooth sailing. It's easy to praise God and see His magnificence when nothing is crumbling down around us. We have to remember that we serve a God that is so passionate and zealous about our lives; even more so than we are! We are His sons and daughters. When something goes wrong, it's not because He's napping or He's busy with something else. It's the opposite. Trials in our lives are to test our faith and help us build up our resilience to what the world is throwing at us. In James, we are told to count our trials as joyful. Normally those two words don't coincide in our minds. 

"Count it all joy, my brothers,  when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.  And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."-James 1:2-4 (ESV)

Nowhere in the Bible is the Christian life promised to be easy. In many ways, it's much harder. However, considering we get to spend eternity with a God who loves us and cares for us in a way that no earthly person could ever love or care for us...that's a goal worth pressing onward for. 

Friday, January 9, 2009

Who's in control?

I've never been a fan of those "My father was a Jewish carpenter" license plate frames or stickers that say "I'm not perfect, just forgiven". I always thought they were tacky and somewhat flashy.

Recently, my friend's newborn baby was admitted to the hospital with bacterial meningitis. She's only two weeks old and meningitis is definitely scary; it's scary for adults, let alone a 2-week old. I was driving to work thinking about what a horrible situation this was and wondering how something so bad could be happening to a family so faithful. I pull up behind a car and their license plate frame says "God is in control". Oh did I forget that? All the sudden, those license plate frames didn't seem so silly.

We are not in control of our lives. So many times I find hope in that. I praise God for that. If I was left to make decisions based on my own human thinking, who knows where my life would be. I was praying with my co-worker the other day and she was thanking God that His plan is "immeasurably more" than we could hope for ourselves. Immeasurably more. I'm blessed to be reminded often that my life is not my own and that I am not home. This is not the end for me. This life is just a speck compared to my eternity, but it's still important how this life is lived. Am I living like I'm in control or like God is in control? Am I living for my glory or for Christ's glory? Sadly, the answer is not always the same.

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." - Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV)