Saturday, December 31, 2011

"Before Abraham was born, I am!"

Oh yes, it has been quite a long time.  I do apologize for that, but I have something very exciting to write about.  It is John 8:48-59.  Let me just write it out for you and then we can talk about how exciting it is.

The Jews answered him, "Aren't we right in saying that you are a Samaritan and demon-possessed?"
"I am not possessed by a demon," said Jesus, "but I honor my Father and you dishonor me.  I am not seeking glory for myself; but there is one who seeks it, and he is the judge.  I tell you the truth, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death."
At this the Jews exclaimed, "Now we know that you are demon-possessed! Abraham died and so did the prophets, yet you say that if anyone keeps your word, he will never taste death.  Are you greater than our father Abraham?  He died, and so did the prophets.  Who do you think you are?"
Jesus replied, "If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing.  My Father whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me.  Though you did not know him, I know him.  If I said I did not, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and keep his word.  Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad."
"You are not yet fifty years old," the Jews said to him, "and you have seen Abraham!"
"I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "before Abraham was born, I am!" At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds.

Isn't that amazing?  These Jews are trying to find the hole in what they thought was Jesus' facade.  They were clearly mistaken.  In verse 54 Jesus is not taking any more of this.  He tells them how it is.  Look at him telling them that they don't know his Father, and they are liars.  He isn't going to lie to them.  They are the liars.  They won't like what he has to say, but he's JESUS.  He can tell them how it is.  He could have done much more than this, but he knew the proper place and time for all of it.  Then he says "before Abraham was born, I am!" I love that!  "I am!" He is over all, and through all, and in all.  He was, and is, and is to come.  He sees Abraham and he sees me.  Now that I'm putting all of this into writing its really hard to explain what I feel about it.  It just makes me want to cheer for Jesus.  "You tell 'em, Jesus! Don't let them say that to you!"  Its terribly difficult to put into words, but I trust that the Lord will come close to you as you read this and show you what you need to see.

Friday, November 18, 2011

I'm So Happy, So Very Happy!

I've got the joy joy joy joy down in my heart.
Down in my heart.
Down in my heart.
I've got the joy joy joy joy down in my heart.
Down in my heart to stay!
And I'm so happy, so very happy!
I've got the love of Jesus in my heart!
And I'm so happy so very happy!
I've got the love Jesus in my heart!

Woooooooooooo. Thank you, Lord!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

He Wakes Me Up

I never seem to have anything to write about, but today the Lord showed me such a beautiful and comforting word in His love story. He showed me Psalm 3 which talks about all the enemies that are piled up against us as Christians. Verses 5 and 6 say this:

I lie down and sleep;
I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.
I will not fear the tens of thousands
drawn up against me on every side.

Wow. What a wonderful way to think about our trials and our troubling times. We can physically feel ourselves waking up everyday. We know that it is happening. God is doing that. He is waking us up and making our bodies live and move and breathe and work. That one simple fact can lead us to the conclusion that we do not have to be afraid went there is an army of tens of thousands lined up against us. Obviously, the Lord is with us because we woke up that day.

Lord, you are so good to love us enough to show us these things. How wonderful You are.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Relentlessly Pursue Me, God

Sometimes I feel like God is just laughing at me. Like I'm just sitting down here squirming and trying to figure everything out and He's up there just laughing His head off. I know its not true, but I'm just kind of tired of feeling like I can't get a straight answer. He's blessing me. He loves me. I know He does. I just want to be joyful and not have to wonder if I'm really joyful because of Jesus or because I'm finding temporary happiness in the world.

I want to be satisfied in Jesus. I want Him to be my one and only. I want Him to be the one that I need and look to and cry to. I want to run to Him, but right now I feel like I don't know where to run. I need Him close to me. I need Him to come to me. I'm trying to find Him, but I'm feeling my way around in a pitch black room. Illuminate things for me, God. Maybe things really are illuminated and I'm just closing my eyes. Either way, I need you to relentlessly pursue me. Even if I don't act like it all the time, that's what I really want.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tuesday Night

I seem to have a tradition to write a blog about returning to school.  This year I haven't written such a blog yet, and now that I think about it, I haven't written many blogs at all this whole summer.  I think I thought about it, or sat down to start one, or opened the page to begin writing at least 10 times since my last post, but nothing ever came out.  No thoughts ever came to my head. I think that's how I run most of my life.  I just go along with things and if something comes, then it comes, and if it doesn't, then I'll move on.  Anyway, I moved into school 9 days early this year for a leadership conference for work and since I'm here so early I am in my nice, big, empty apartment all alone.  I spent the first night alone just singing in the beautiful, empty space enjoying the acoustics of the bare walls.  I spent the second night eating left-over Chinese food with the top of a pudding cup (which works curiously well) and galavanting all around town trying to find a store that was open late at night where I could find brownie mix so that my friend and I could make brownies (which, if you were wondering, turned out very well... they were cookie brownies).  We went to CVS (who did not have any), and then saw the Food Lion employee lock the doors as we were pulling up, and finally we decided to give up on the hunt and just go for Walmart... the solution to almost every problem.  We got the brownies (along with butter, 2 wooden spoons, some plastic cutlery, and dish washing detergent) and went on our way.    It was great fun, and then I had one of those dreams that I woke up in the same situation but in my dream it was terrible and so confusing, but we won't get into that.

I hope the rest of world had as fabulous of a Monday night as mine.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Does anyone else get tired of the world?

Right now I am just so sick of being stuck inside my own body.  Its terribly difficult to fight myself.

I just want things to be clear and easy.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Jump for Jesus Joy

There are too many people that walk around thinking that their faith in Jesus is just a duty or a discipline.
Now, I see nothing wrong with some discipline.  Its good to create good habits and its even better to implement some discipline into your life with Jesus.  If you don't spend time with Him simply because you just don't feel like it, then when will you ever really start spending time with Him if you don't start doing it out of discipline and obedience.  If God is telling you to go overseas and you wait until you feel like doing it, then you'll probably wait forever because you'll never learn all that He'll do that is so great if you never actually go.
At the same time, Christianity is MORE than a discipline.  It goes from discipline to joy.  The discipline gives room for Jesus to put joy into us so that we do start to feel like doing those things.  We start to love those things because of how He's blessed them.  And there is a reason that the word joy is contained in the word enjoy.  We are called to enjoy Jesus.  He wants us to love Him and enjoy His company and His relationship.

I believe that, as Christians, we should make a point to pray for the joy of our precious Lord to invade our hearts so that our faith oozes out of every word we speak and everything we do because we're always jumping for Jesus joy.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Learning is so hard and painful sometimes.

Friday, May 20, 2011


This verse stuck out to me:
Therefore speak to them and tell them, 'This is what the Sovereign Lord says: When any of the Israelites set up idols in their hearts and put a wicked stumbling block before their faces and then go to a prophet, I the Lord will answer them myself in keeping with their great idolatry.  I will do this to recapture the hearts of the people of Israel, who have all deserted me for their idols.' -Ezekiel 14:4-5

These verses make up a story:  (Go and read all of Ezekiel 16 if you can)
Then I passed by and saw you kicking about in your blood, and as you lay there in your blood I said to you, "Live!" I made you grow like a plant of the field.  You grew up and developed and became the most beautiful of jewels.  Your breasts had formed and your hair grew, yet you were bare and naked. Later I passed by, and when I looked at you and saw that you were old enough for love, I spread the corner of my garment over you and covered your naked body.  I gave you my solemn oath and entered into a covenant with you, declares the Sovereign Lord, and you became mine.  -Ezekiel 16:6-8

And your fame spread among the nations on account of your beauty, because the splendor I had given you made your beauty perfect, declares the Sovereign Lord. But you trusted in your beauty and used your fame to become a prostitute. You lavished your favors on anyone who passed by and your beauty became his. -Ezekiel 16:14-15

You engaged in prostitution with the Assyrians too, because you were insatiable; and even after that, you still were not satisfied.  Then you increased your promiscuity to include Babylonia, and a land of merchants, but even with this you were not satisfied. -Ezekiel 16: 28-29

Yet I will remember the covenant I made with you in the days of your youth, and I will establish an everlasting covenant with you.  -Ezekiel 16:60

Then, when I make atonement for you for all you have done, you will remember and be ashamed and never again open your mouth because of your humiliation, declares the Sovereign Lord. -Ezekiel 16:63

I advise everyone to read Ezekiel 16.  Especially women.  It is one of the most beautiful and accurate pictures of what is really going on between us and God.
Praise the Lord.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

How Do We Worship?

There are so many things in this world that we praise.  We praise music and the musicians who write it, we praise art and the artists who make it, we praise films and the people who produce, direct, film, and act in them, we praise buildings and the people who design and build them.  All of these things and people receive praise and adoration even though we never were directly provided for by these things and these people.  The entire act of our praise is outward, we don't want anything back, we don't expect to get anything from our appreciation.

Why would we praise and adore the Lord and all of a sudden expect something out of it?  We should approach worship as a way to give something to our Creator.  We may end up feeling wonderful and renewed and energized, but the goal is not to help ourselves.  God has already provided for us in every way we could ever possibly ask for, and we deserved not an ounce of it.

Thomas Carlyle said that "Worship is transcendent wonder."  Transcendent meaning exceeding or surpassing in degree or excellence.  Worship is not about us, worship is all about being in excellent wonder.  Much like the popular hymn "How Great Thou Art" states:

O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder
Consider all the works thy hands hath made;
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.

Carl Boberg is expressing all of the things that God has done.  He is not talking about himself or asking God to give Him something.  His "awesome wonder" is completely outward.

God doesn't have to come into our presence or bless us with joy and peace, but He chooses to because He loves us.  If we worship as a way to get something for ourselves, then how is that worship at all?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

That Blissful Climb

Most everyone has heard faith described as a series of mountains and valleys.  Some may have also heard people say that if you are not progressing forward in your relationship with Jesus, you're falling back.

Now, there are flaws in almost every analogy, but just work with me.

Every moment in your faith you will either climb the mountain or fall down the mountain.  When I imagine a mountain top I imagine a time of relief, or of relaxation.  Its a time when we stop working so hard and just enjoy.  But it is also the end of an accomplishment and a time of preparation for descent.  We should never consider anything over, and we should definitely never want to descend.  I think that our "mountain tops" are simply the times when climbing the mountain is just so incredibly joyful because we're walking right alongside our Savior.  We still have to be faithful in prayer, and consistent in study, and undeviating in obedience because that is what will bring us closer to the blissful presence of our Jesus.  We have to continue to surrender and continue to learn and love and accept Him more and more so that we won't fall back down.  It can be daunting looking up the mountain.  It seems to never end and there are some really tough spots that look impossible to climb.  But when you don't want to even start the climb, don't be overwhelmed by the whole slope.  Take your first step and then take a second and then a third and a fourth, and when you can't take the fifth step, look beside you and let Jesus hold your hand.

The valleys are inevitable because of our obvious humanity.  We will struggle and there will be times when we don't feel delighted or carefree, but we are trusting God because we know Him and He told us during our blissful climb that He would be with us even in the valleys.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Poem

I am lost for words on this day of salvation.
Jesus died for me and made me a new creation.
Nothing I ever did made me deserve this,
But He loves me and that truth is absolute bliss.

He was beaten and bruised and led out to the hill.
He took on all my sins so that He could fulfill
All of the promises that were made in the past
About a King that would rule, but no one expected this outcast.

But this "Outcast" filled me with hope and love
He saved my soul and allowed me to take hold of
His grace and His power that I deserve in the least
And yet I'll sit with Him at His great feast.

My Jesus died so that this would be true.
My Lord was raised so that I could tell You
Of the greatest love story that could ever be told.
That Jesus is Savior and to Him I'll take hold.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Let Jesus Dress You

Where did we start? When you were born, how were you defined?
A sinner.
We have all been sinners from the start.
Nothing we do can change that fact.  We can't make ourselves any more worthy, or any less worthy.  We can't clean up our act, because once we've made it filthy, it's filthy.  Its a stain that we can't wash out, and we can't just go out and buy another garment, its the only one we have.  That one stain has condemned us. The more stains we put on it does not condemn us further. Once we are imperfect, we can't go to heaven.  Heaven is perfect and if anything imperfect entered then it would no longer be heaven.  A sentence to hell is eternity and eternity can't be lengthened or shortened.  One stain, and we're done.

Graciously, mercifully, and miraculously Jesus gave us his garment that cannot be stained because he's already sealed the deal.  He's already lived a flawless, sinless, without fail, perfect life, and he's died.  So once we let Him dress us in His perfection, we look just like that to God!

So since we're all saved by grace (Pause for a moment and think about that. Saved by grace. Just think thoroughly through that.) and we all are, in and of ourselves, filthy, unworthy sinners who are condemned to the worst punishment by just one sin, we can't become more awful when we sin more.  You're no worse than anyone else when you sin again, and you're no better than the most filthy sinner you can find when you sin less.  Sin is sin.  In God's eyes a little white lie=cheating=stealing=murder=adultery=sexual immorality.  Its all the same.  It all sends us to hell until we let Jesus dress us up in his own beautiful, flawless, white robe.  The thing is, it's free, all we have to do is say yes to Jesus. He's waiting for us, loving us.
I hope that makes you smile.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Make you Smile

The Lord leads me in ways you may not understand.
My Father asks me to please Him.  He asks me to make Him smile.
I want to make Him smile, even if that means I can't make you smile too.

I will never be all that you want to me be.
I may not live up to all the expectations you have of me.
But I will run hard after God's plan for my life.
Its greater than my own.
And it is greater than yours.

I love you, and I wish I could make you smile too, but I hope that eventually a smile will come when you see that I am doing just what the Lord has led me to do.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

I'll listen if you fix my problem

So many people reach the end of their rope and then cry out to God.  That prayer often goes something like this: "God, I'll listen to you if you just fix my problem."

I find that interesting.  We say that we will do something for God if He does something for us.  Can you really do anything for God?  Is there anything we can give God that He can't get for himself?

I have heard stories of people praying this prayer and then getting what they asked for.  But recently I heard two stories that seemed backwards.  The prayer was prayed.  Then the person became a Christian.  Then their problem was fixed.  God doesn't need our "gift" of obedience to fix our problems.  We don't have any obedience to give Him.  The obedience is a gift too!  When we pray prayers like that, I think God hears something more along the lines of, "God, Give me obedience and fix my problem."  He wants to give us obedience.  And obviously, evidenced by these stories, even when we think its our gift to give, He still gives it to us.  He is so good and so patient.  He knows our heart, and He is so faithful.  When we seek Him, we always find Him!  And then we seek Him more and find Him more.  But the only reason we even begin to seek is because He's given us a desire for Himself that is built into our being.

Nothing about this life is about us.  Everything good is a gift from Him.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Ukuthula, Usindiso, Ukubonga, Ukunquoba, Induduzo

What a privilege that I have the opportunity to be involved in a choir like the one here at my wonderful university.  I get to sing with a group of people who, for the most part, all care deeply about the quality of the music that we make.  I get to sing songs about Jesus and listen to people lift His name in praise even when they don't realize that they are glorifying Him whether they want to or not.  If I choose to let the Holy Spirit be a part of the rehearsal then I get to worship through song in my classroom every single day.  What a beautiful privilege I have.  This is one of the songs that particularly effects me every time we sing it.  I can feel the heaviness of the Spirit come into the rehearsal room as soon as it starts, and to think about what the words mean makes the song even more fabulous.  The great thing about my Lord is that even if the language I'm singing is not my language, He still knows what I'm saying.  He hears me praising His son's sacrifice.  He hears this group of 30 singers lifting His name and giving thanks for the blood of Jesus.  Praise the Lord for bringing peace, redemption, praise, victory, and comfort into the world by the blood of Jesus.  Hallelujah.

Ukuthula kulo mhlaba wezono (Aleluya) igazi likeJesu linyeneyz'
Peace in this world of sin the blood of Jesus brings, Hallelujah

Usindiso kulo mhlaba wezono (Aleluya) igazi likeJesu linyeneyz'
Redemption in this world of sin the blood of Jesus brings, Hallelujah

Ukobonga kulo mhlaba wezono (Aleluya) igazi likeJesu linyeneyz'
Praise in this world of sin the blood of Jesus brings, Hallelujah.

Ukunqoba kulo mhlaba wezono (Aleluya) igazi likeJesu linyeneyz'
Victory in this world of sin the blood of Jesus brings, Hallelujah.

Induduzo kulo mhlaba wezono (Aleluya) igazi likeJesu linyeneyz'
Comfort in this world of sin the blood of Jesus brings, Hallelujah.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

You Are Impressive

Today I tried to figure out if I should be impressed by God.

God is good and He is the greatest being in existence.  He is unfathomable and incomprehensible.
God does great things that deserve thanks and praise and adoration.

As Christians we should expect great things out of our powerful and perfect Father.  Miracles and healing are typical for our Lord.  Those things are in His nature.  It is a part of Him to do things that seem impossible to us.  So since we expect those things, maybe they shouldn't seem impressive.
At the same time "impressive" is like "impression" and so as I learn more about my Father I find things about the same unchanging God that are simply new to me.  Those things should be impressive.  Also, although we expect things from Him, they are always unexpected.  The way that He answers prayers is never something I can figure out.  Sometimes He waits months or years, but sometimes He answers prayers instantly.  And no matter when or how He answers those prayers always puts me on my knees.  No matter how much I expect the answer and believe that there will be an answer, when the answer comes I fall even deeper in love with Jesus because He blows my mind every time.

  • to affect deeply or strongly in mind of feelings; influence in opinion.
  • to apply with pressure, so as to leave a mark.
  • to urge, as something to be remembered or done.
  • to fix deeply or firmly on the mind or memory, as ideas or facts
God is all of those things.  Everything He does leaves a mark on His followers.  Everything He is affects me deeply.  Every time He shows himself He is fixed on my mind.  There is nothing about my God that is not impressive.
Although we should believe and be expectant followers understanding that our God can do all that He wants, He is impressive because He cannot appear without changing the hearts and lives of those who see Him.