Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Absolutely Beautiful

If you have a spare minute or so, you may want to check this video out:


This had me boohooing today. Such a sweet testimony of unconditional love!


Thursday, May 3, 2012

Mourning to Dancing/We Are the Light of the World

"The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness." ~Lamentations 3:22-23

Thankful. I am so thankful! and so blessed.. and I really don't deserve it one bit. As I look back on some really hard things that I went through in 2011...difficult things..sad things...life shaking things... I look at today and I smile. Who am I, Oh Lord, that you have brought me this far? When I was in the middle of the storm, I couldn't see the end, couldn't see the light. But now...I see His hand in it all. He is good and is working all things for good. He does things to make us more like Himself. I heard Elisabeth Elliot say this quote by Ugo Bassi the other day and thought yes...that's it!

"Measure thy life by loss and not by gain;
Not by wine drunk but by the wine poured forth,
For love's strength standeth in love's sacrifice
And he that suffereth most hath most to give."
~Ugo Bassi
He that suffers most has most to give. So true. Because when we suffer...it drives us to our knees and we are so dependant and so in need of the Lord. We are in need of Him all the time...but during trying times it seems we need an extra portion of Him and His presence. God doesn't waste our suffering. Dr. Cabot said this in the book Stepping Heavenward:
"He will use no painful remedy that can be avoided.
Remember that it is His will that you should be sanctified, and that
the work of making you holy is His, not yours."
He uses every hurt and trial in our lives to make us more like Himself. This is why we can "count it all joy" when we face various trials. This is why we endure.
And as I look back on my trials..I pray that I learned the lessons God had for me in the pain. We serve a God who truly does turn mourning into dancing and weeping into shouting. He brings beauty from ashes! He has certainly done this in my life...and I am so incredibly thankful. He is faithful...always.
On another note...God is at work in my life and in the lives of people around me. Last night, we taught the children about the "salt and light" verses in the Bible:

Salt and Light

13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
~Matthew 5:13-16

To illustrate us being the light of the world, we went into a dark room and turned the lights off. We handed each child a glow stick and when I shined the flashlight on them, they broke their glow stick. It was really neat to see how bright the glow sticks shined in the dark! It reminded us that we need to be that bright, so others can see us and our "good deeds and glorify our Father in heaven."  Outreach outreach outreach. What "good deeds" am I doing? What am I doing to point others to Christ? Am I a light? Do I shine bright enough for people to see? What am I doing for the least of these?

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
 ~Matthew 25:34-40
 Gradually learning to have a heart for the lost and for the least of these. So thankful for this lesson and for people around me who are being examples of this in my life and teaching me what this means with the way they are living it out. Lord may we all have a greater love for You and Your word. May we love who You love and care for the needs of people in Your name. May we have a bigger burden to reach out to people who need You.
His blessings are great!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

College and Radical Abandonment

      Hey friends!! I have been so busy with studying and writing papers and being with family and friends that I haven't had much time to post. I'm learning to cherish the moments in this season of my life right now. There is only a little over three months until I'll be making the big move to Boyce College in Louisville, KY! I absolutely love it Boyce! I love how everyone is so focused on God and growing closer to Him. I'm so very thankful that this is where the Lord is leading me for the next season of my life. He has been so good to work all details out thus far. He knows what we need, and He provides it! It will be so bittersweet though, because I will miss my family and friends and church so much! I'm trusting Him though, because He knows what is best for me. Wherever He leads, I'll go.

      I don't have much time, but here is a video that I have watched probably about a million times. ;) It is so good. It always reminds me that I am to be radically abandoned to my Savior, constantly forsaking all that I have and all that is good in the world's eyes to follow Him. He gave everything for me, and so I should be willing to give everything for Him. Oh how I love my sweet Savior!

Monday, April 9, 2012

He Finishes What He Begins (Calvary Love)

A friend and I were e-mailing back and forth a while back and I wanted to share what has been on my heart. Here is a little part of what God has been doing in my heart and mind over the past weeks:

It seems that God is constantly humbling me. I am so thankful for that though, because as the sinner that I am my tendency so often tends to be prideful and comfortable in my little life I'm living. Once again God opens my eyes to see that its not about me, it's not about me at all ~ It's about Him and His glory. I was just thinking yesterday, that if I could really really grasp that ~ that this life is about His glory, and that all it is is a training ground!! A place where I find that I am absolutely nothing without Him. A place where I can experience heartache and failure and where I can see how I fall so so so short. A place where He teaches me to know Him and be His. How differently my life would be if I could completely wrap my mind and heart around that!

...and to add to that, if this life is just a training ground, a place where God is showing me Who He is, and my chief end and eternal purpose is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever...then why don't I live like that? Why am I not constantly on my face before Him in awe? Why don't I talk about Him every. single. chance. I get? Why do I not have more patience, more love, more forgiveness, more joy? "What do I know of this Calvary Love?" Sweet GRACE, friend! How thankful I am for that! We have far to go, precious friends. far to go. Our Savior always finishes what He starts, and that is a promise.

"For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus." ~Philippians 1:6

"...will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus." We are constantly being perfected, perfected, perfected...until the day of Christ Jesus, until the day He brings us home. He is working in you today if you are His! He is working in me today! What an encouraging thought! We weren't the same as we were yesterday! I remember my pastor saying this quote a lot:

"I'm not what I ought to be, but praise God I'm not where I used to be!"

He is working friends, but until that day we strive to be made whole. It is my prayer that He will pull me near and He will open my eyes more and more and more to behold His beauty. These quotes from Amy Carmichael have had a huge impact in my life. They are so convicting, but that is exactly what I need. That is exactly what I want, because anything that convicts me only serves to draw me nearer. I hope the Lord will use these in your life like He has mine.

If I belittle those whom I am called to serve, talk of their weak points in contrast perhaps with what I think of as my strong points; if I adopt a superior attitude, forgetting “Who made thee to differ? And what hast thou that thou hast not received?” then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I find myself taking lapses for granted, “Oh, that’s what they always do,” “Oh, of course she talks like that, he acts like that,” then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I can enjoy a joke at the expense of another; if I can in any way slight another in conversation, or even in thought, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I can write an unkind letter, speak an unkind word, think an unkind thought without grief and shame, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I do not feel far more for the grieved Savior than for my worried self when troublesome things occur, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I can rebuke without a pang, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If my attitude be one of fear, not faith, about one who has disappointed me; if I say, “Just what I expected” if a fall occurs, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I am afraid to speak the truth, lest I lose affection, or lest the one concerned should say, “You do not understand,” or because I fear to lose my reputation for kindness; if I put my own good name before the other’s highest good, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I am content to heal a hurt slightly, saying “Peace, peace,” where there is no peace; if I forget the poignant word “Let love be without dissimulation” and blunt the edge of truth, speaking not right things but smooth things, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I hold on to choices of any kind, just because they are my choice, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I am soft to myself and slide comfortably into self-pity and self-sympathy; If I do not by the grace of God practice fortitude, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I myself dominate myself, if my thoughts revolve round myself, if I am so occupied with myself I rarely have “a heart at leisure from itself,” then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If, the moment I am conscious of the shadow of self crossing my threshold, I do not shut the door, and keep that door shut, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I cannot in honest happiness take the second place (or the twentieth); if I cannot take the first without making a fuss about my unworthiness, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I take offense easily, if I am content to continue in a cool unfriendliness, though friendship be possible, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I feel injured when another lays to my charge things that I know not, forgetting that my sinless Savior trod this path to the end, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I feel bitter toward those who condemn me, as it seems to me, unjustly, forgetting that if they knew me as I know myself they would condemn me much more, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If souls can suffer alongside, and I hardly know it, because the spirit of discernment is not in me, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If the praise of others elates me and their blame depresses me; if I cannot rest under misunderstanding without defending myself; if I love to be loved more than to love, to be served more than to serve, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I crave hungrily to be used to show the way of liberty to a soul in bondage, instead of caring only that it be delivered; if I nurse my disappointment when I fail, instead of asking that to another the word of release may be given, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I do not forget about such a trifle as personal success, so that it never crosses my mind, or if it does, is never given room there; if the cup of flattery tastes sweet to me, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If in the fellowship of service I seek to attach a friend to myself, so that others are caused to feel unwanted; if my friendships do not draw others deeper in, but are ungenerous (to myself, for myself), then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I refuse to allow one who is dear to me to suffer for the sake of Christ, if I do not see such suffering as the greatest honor that can be offered to any follower of the Crucified, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I slip into the place that can be filled by Christ alone, making myself the first necessity to a soul instead of leading it to fasten upon Him, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If my interest in the work of others is cool; if I think in terms of my own special work; if the burdens of others are not my burdens too, and their joys mine, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I wonder why something trying is allowed, and press for prayer that it may be removed; if I cannot be trusted with any disappointment, and cannot go on in peace under any mystery, then I know nothing of Calvary love

If the ultimate, the hardest, cannot be asked of me; if my fellows hesitate to ask it and turn to someone else, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I covet any place on earth but the dust at the foot of the Cross, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

That which I know not, teach Thou me, O Lord, my God.

~From the book ‘If’ by Amy Carmichael

Teach me Lord, because I fall so short. What do I know of Calvary love? I know You, sweet Savior, and I cling to your promise that You will finish what You began. Oh how I need You!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

New Again

Happy Easter friends! I am so thankful that our Savior makes all things new again. Even the cross. He is risen! Hallelujah!!!

Love in Him,

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Remembering the Price...

     When I think of those three days, my heart is filled with sobriety, gratitude, and joy all at the same time. As I remember Jesus and what He did, tears swell and a smile forms. Know why? Because what happened on that cross looks like something terrible from the outside. something absolutely horrible. And it was. Jesus cried from the cross, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" The Son of God was being beaten by mere men. But those of us who are His today are able to see the other side of the story, and it calls for rejoicing and worship! What happened on the cross goes much much deeper than what can be seen with the human eye.
     When Jesus cried out, "My God my God, why have You forsaken me," the Father poured out all sin and all His wrath on His perfect Son. In that moment, Jesus bore all our sin and death. What kind of love is this? That He would lay down His life for us? It is a love that conquers all other. I am reminded of the movie, The Chronicles of Narnia, when the people killed Aslan. They didn't realize what they were doing. They didn't realize that in three days, He would break the chains and rise again.
     It was the same for our Savior. The people thought it was over. They thought they had finished Jesus. But what they didn't know is that actually...He was finishing something stronger than death. He cried out "It is finished!" from the cross, which in other words is, "Paid. in. full." He paid for us with His life and He finished our salvation.

"But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation."
~Psalm 13:5

     But it didn't stop there! Three days later, the women went to the tomb and found the stone rolled away! They assumed the worst and thought the body had been stolen until they saw the angels and heard them proclaim, "He is risen!!! He is not here!!!"

Mary Magdalene continued to sob until she saw Jesus with her own eyes. She didn't recognize Him at first. I can just picture Him grinning as he exclaims "Mary!" She immediately recognizes His voice and clings to Him.

     Today He lives!!! He sits at the right hand of the Father, and His spirit lives inside His children's hearts! Our God is NOT dead, He is SURELY alive, He's living on the inside and roaring like a lion!

He faced death for us, He stood in the gap for us! Oh praise Him!! Let us rejoice this Easter as we remember what He did!

  Let us sit at his feet and thank Him. He is worthy of it all! I love Him so much! I challenge you to read Isaiah 53 this Easter. I read it this morning. It is such a reminder of what our Savior went through. This weekend, let's remember the price He paid for our Salvation. Let it bring tears. Let it bring rejoicing. Let it bring us to His feet.

Love in Him,