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Showing posts from 2013

I Don't Want to Have an Affair

Something I've been thinking about today from my devotions...

Circumcision is an outward sign of an inward commitment. But, when the significance of it is not truly understood, "circumcision is as meaningless as a wedding ring on the finger of an adulterer." Think about that.

If you know someone is married yet you know they are having an affair, do you think the ring on their finger means anything anymore? We would wonder why are they even wearing it if their actions don't honor the commitment they made when they first put it on.

Although we aren't physically circumcised anymore, when we give our life to the Lord, we are making a commitment to Him and when we settle for the lesser things of this world, aren't we essentially doing the same? Aren't we blatantly dishonoring the God we committed our lives to?

But then there's the inward. We may not be obviously "having an affair", but are we thinking about it? Are we toying with the idea of the …
δοῦλοςLately, the Lord has been speaking to me about the world listed above. It is the Greek word, dulos, meaning in English: a slave, a bondman, devoted to another to the disregard of one's own interests.
Christ was a bondservant. Paul was a bondservant. And now the Lord is asking me, are you going to be a bondservant to me? 
Paul, in describing Jesus, said in Philippians 2:7, "But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant..."
In Acts, Jesus is referenced five times in relation to being the Lord's Servant. 
Paul identified himself as a servant of Jesus' in the book of Romans, Galatians, and Titus. James, Jude, Peter and John all referred to themselves as a servant of Jesus Christ. 
Romans 1:1 says, "Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, set apart to the gospel of God..." Something that I noted when I heard this verse recently  was that before Paul was called, he was a servant. Our first job is to be a servant…

Two Months in New Jersey!

As I sit here writing, there is a fire going in the fireplace, a football game on TV, a Christmas tree lit and glowing, and a family, busily going about their evening of cleaning, studying and relaxing. I look around at this home and this family that has so graciously opened up to me, and I can't help but be overcome with thankfulness. New Jersey has not been without its challenges, but looking at the bigger picture, its unbelievable what God has done.

Almost immediately upon my arriving to this home, I felt accepted and grafted in. Caroline and Alex have made me feel so welcomed. They have become my family. We have sat and talked about things ranging from  the spiritual to finances. They have given me advice and exhortation when it has been needed. They have fed me, housed me, laughed with me and accepted me. Through them, the Lord has given me a taste of what a family that is serving the Lord looks like. There are so many things I could say about them, but it wouldn't do it …

Experiencing Grace

A week ago, as I sat in chair getting a hair cut, I got an opportunity to talk about Jesus with my hair stylist. A common question I have faced since moving to New Jersey from California is, why New Jersey? It seems like a lot of people want out, and here I am wanting in. It doesn't quite make sense to them. As I talked with him, this question came up, and my answer was simply "Because the Lord told me to".

This man has known the family I am staying with for 20 years so he was used to hearing about the Lord from them, but he himself has not come to know the Lord. "Well, how does your family feel about that?" He asked. As I answered his question, more questions came pouring out and pretty soon I had told this man, who I had just met, most of my life story. Then he asked a question that has been lingering in my mind since:

"Why did you deserve the crappy life you had while I got the great one I did?"

The conversation with him continued on, for him it …

Exceeding, Abudantly Above All

After over 3,000 miles, five days of driving and almost 10 months of praying, I have arrived to my new home: New Jersey!
At the start of this year, I would have never have imagined that I would be living here and working at the church yet being here, I am so happy that God's plans are not mine and that as we seek Him, He leads us into His perfect plan, which sometimes happens to be the fulfillment of the desires we didn't even know we had.

My friend Melissa and I finished our trek across country last Saturday afternoon. We arrived and were greeted by Caroline and her youngest daughter, Katrina, shortly thereafter her husband, Alex and our friend Patti, who I had met on my trips out here. I can't speak for Melissa but I can say that I immediately felt welcomed. They were making dinner so while we waited, Alex helped us unpack my car and then we finally sat down for dinner.

I'm so blessed to be here with this family. Each of them is incredibly sweet and welcoming. (P…

Modesty: Whose Responsibility is it Anyway?

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There has been a lot of talk recently in the Christian internet forum about modesty. The main issue, I have seen, is that there seems to be an emphasis on who is responsible. There seems to be total polar opposites: it is the girls responsibility to completely cover up, not let a single inch of skin be seen because guys automatically associate skin with sex; or it is the guys responsibility to not look at girls and immediately associate them with sex and that they should learn to respect women, regardless of what they wear.However, I suggest that there is a middle ground. Not one gender is free from responsibility; guys AND girls should be fighting this battle together, not pointing fingers at the other in attempts to minimize their own responsibility.

First, I want to point out that as a Bible-believing Christian, I look to that for all answers to questions that I have. So, as I turn to scripture I see that modesty is addressed. The Bible tells us in 1 Timothy 2:9 that, women are to…

Unquestioning Obedience

Have you ever given much thought to Joseph? I hadn't much until I started the book of Matthew again a few days ago. As I reread the first few chapters, I began to wonder about him. Who was this man who walked with Mary through life, through the conception, birth and life of Jesus? What kind of man was he?

I couldn't imagine being in his shoes: finding out the woman you are betrothed to, the woman you love, is pregnant; presumably by another man. Was he heart-broken? Was he angry? The text doesn't say. How did he even find out? Were there whispers in the town of Mary's condition? Did she pull him aside and tell him? Did she explain that it was through the Holy Spirit that she had conceived? Or did she stay silent on the matter? Again, the text is silent. These are things we might not ever know.

We do know, however, that Joseph was kind to his betrothed because he was, "not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly." (Matthew 1:1…

New Jersey, or Bust!

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Up until a few years ago, I never thought that I would leave California. Up until the beginning of this year, I never thought I would go to the East Coast. Well, maybe thats not true, I thought I would go, but I never thought I would move there. God, however, had other plans and slowly but surely He's conformed my plans to His.

This year, the Lord opened the door for me to go out to New Jersey on two separate missions trips to serve the people hit by Hurricane Sandy. Subsequently, I fell in love with the places I went and the people I met; and the Lord stirred in me the desire to take steps of faith and leave California and head to New Jersey.

The Lord has continuously and constantly confirmed through scripture and people. I've never been more sure of what the Lord is doing in my life than I am of this: New Jersey will soon be my home.

Now, the main reason for this blog: I'd like to ask you for prayer. There are still quite a few things I need to figure out and quite a fe…

Wrecked

My heart is thumping so loudly, I am certain they can hear it in the next room. I try to fight back tears, but I'm not very successful. This is becoming a quite regular experience for me these days. My heart is heavy and Jesus is wrecking my life, literally.

My heart and mind are shouting out, seeking some sort of connection between what I am learning of Jesus and the way I'm living my life, the way our culture is living, but all I can see is this huge disconnect and hundreds upon hundreds of hurting hearts.

I'm uncomfortable with being comfortable.

I'm reading of and hearing of many men and women who chose to lay aside the comfortable and chose to follow Jesus into the uncomfortable, sacrificing what the world considers life (homes, cars, careers, money) for the only life that can truly satisfy, the life that Jesus calls us to.

And I want that.

But, as I look around my life and I see an abundance of things, I have to wonder, am I placing more value on what I materiall…

Resist

"For at the window of my house I have looked out through my lattice,
and I have seen among the simple, I have perceived among the youths, a young man lacking sense,
passing along the street near her corner,
taking the road to her house in the twilight, in the evening, at the time of night and darkness.
And behold, the woman meets him, dressed as a prostitute, wily of heart.
She is loud and wayward; her feet do not stay at home;
now in the street, now in the market, and at every corner she lies in wait.
She seizes him and kisses him, and with bold face she says to him,
"I had to offer sacrifices, and today I have paid my vows;
so now I have come out to meet you, to seek you eagerly, and I have found you.
I have spread my couch with coverings, colored linens from Egyptian linen;
I have perfumed my bed with Myrrh, aloes and cinnamon.
Come, let us take our fill of love till morning; let us delight ourselves with love.
For my husband is not at home; he has gone on a long journey;

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As lyrics, these words are one thing.
As a prayer, they are entirely different.

Last night I read Proverbs 6:27 which says, "Can a man carry fire next to his chest and his clothes not be burned?" The context of this verse is speaking of temptation but I began thinking, when we pray prayers like this lyric, God is faithful to answer and He sets our hearts on fire. When there is fire in your heart, it is quick to spread to every other area of your life.

When God has consumed your heart, He will consume your life.

I'm watching the Lord fulfill this desire of mine as I type this.

It's crazy watching the Lord change my desires to desires that please Him and at the same time granting those desires.

I really don't have any words, just a fire being fed and fueled.
And I am so excited.

My Heart is Breaking

I wish I could explain it, this feeling that is stirring in the depths of my soul. Its aching and gnawing at me. Thinking about it, my tears well up at the brims of my eyelids and I have to physically shake my head to bring myself back to reality. My heart is breaking and let me tell you why.

Its easy to get lost in thought thinking about it. Thinking of the countless stories of untold numbers of young men and women, children, and adults that are suffering from abuse and neglect, suffering at the hands of those who are supposed to love them most, suffering from evil men and women taking advantage of their poverty and circumstances.

Did you know that in September of 2011, there were a total of 400,540 kids in foster care in the United States alone? Imagine how thats grown since then. As of 2012, there were approximately 55,200 kids in foster care in California alone.
Did you know that as of 2012, there are 135 million orphans worldwide?
Did you know that there are approximately 27 mill…

Living with a Non-Believer

"Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer have with an unbeliever?" - 2 Corinthians 6:14-15

We read these verses at our staff devotion this morning and honestly my heart broke. It hit me, for the first time, that people I love who don't know Christ, can't ever have a true relationship with me. Outside of Christ, all friendship and relationships will only be so deep. At a certain point, any advice given by said non-believer will be completely against the Bible and what God teaches in His word. At a certain point, said non-believer will speak and say something way out of line and hurtful. At a certain point, said non-believer will be used as a tool of the enemy as a means of warfare. And we can't change that. No matter what we do, a non-believer will never respond, advise or treat you like a Spir…

Choosing to Stand

In reading through the Old Testament, it struck me how inconsistent and fickle the people of Israel are. I think as a Christian today, there is the temptation to say, "Oh, I would never be like that." But in light of some recent things I have seen and heard of, I think that it is more of a possibility to be like that than I care to admit. Throughout the Old Testament, we see one generation wholly seeking after and walking with the Lord, then the next they totally abandon the Lord, then repeat. People who were solid with the Lord were making choices that did anything but glorify the Lord.

"And the people served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great work the Lord had done for Israel... And there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord or that work that He had done for Israel. And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and served the Baals. And they aban…

The Burden

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I was at a coffee shop yesterday when I heard about the bombings in Boston. My heart was immediately grieved. I stared out the window thinking and praying that God would some how be glorified in this mess. Almost immediately, the Lord brought this verse to my mind. I've read this verse before, but this time, something stood out to me that I hadn't noticed before.

"If My people who are called by My name..." will do the following things:
1. Humble themselves
2. Seek My face
3. Turn from their wicked ways
"Then I will..." do the following things
1. Hear from heaven
2. Forgive their sin
3. Heal their land.

Thats not too difficult to see what the verse is saying but I saw was this: God is talking to His people and He is calling them not just to pray for their nation or just to seek Him, but to turn from sin - to turn from wickedness. God's charge to His people is to forsake sin and wickedness.

As I sat thinking about this, I had a continuous thought: God…
"What would we think of a betrothed one whose conceit and self-will prevented not only the consummation of her own joy, but of the one who had given her his heart? Never at rest in his absence, she cannot trust him fully, and she does not give up her own name, her own rights and possessions, and her own will to him who has become necessary for her happiness. She would gladly claim him fully without giving herself fully to him, but it can never be. While she retains her own name, she can never claim his. She cannot promise to love and honor if she will not also promise to obey, and until her love reaches that point of surrender, she must remain an unsatisfied lover." - Hudson Taylor

Book Review: Out of the Far Corners

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Today I finished the book, Out of the Far Corners, by Peter Iliyn. This is the story of Vanya Iliyn, Peter's father, as told to Peter. Vanya spent the first quarter of his life traveling from Russia through China, Australia, South America and finally stopping in the United States.

Vanya and his siblings were orphaned at a young age and not long after that were separated, sent to different families to be looked after. Throughout his life, Vanya faced abuse, rejection and neglect yet he never once abandoned his faith in God nor did he allow his circumstances to cause him to grow bitter.

What I love about this book is the relationship between Vanya and God. Repetitively, we see Vanya finding some quiet place to just be with God. We see him crying out to God to be delivered or protected and time after time God comes through. God is on full display in the life of this man. We see God speak clearly to Vanya and his family, directing, guiding and leading in every aspect. We see God answ…

Come Boldly

I've been arrested by the thought of Jesus as my High Priest. As I've thought more about it, I became even more aware of the fact that I've always had access to God. Never in any of my years on earth, have I not had full and complete access to God. (Not to say that I haven't always taken advantage of it.) I can't imagine not being able to pray openly to God, addressing Him as Father in every day conversation or being asked to constantly give sacrifices for my sin. Could you imagine? Not being able to go to God with everything and anything that was on our hearts? Every worry or concern? Not being freely cleansed of sin just because we asked, but that we had to go and make sacrifice after sacrifice? I can't imagine that only one man, once a year, could enter into the Holy of Holies on behalf of every individual and that only he would be able to enter the presence of God. Because of what Christ has done, because He was obedient to the Father, He gave not only salv…

Who? What? Where? Why? When? How?

In one of the ministries I'm involved in, we recently started a small group series. The first series is on Trusting God. As I was preparing for the first meeting, reading over a selected chapter of a book and going over the questions we were going to ask, the Lord started speaking to me specifically on asking why. (or who, what, where, when, and how for that matter.) Over the last few months, the Lord has been speaking to me about keeping my hands out of the cookie jar, so to speak. He has emphasized not manipulating situations to get my desired situation or results, but to trust Him to bring about His will.

I'm in a place in my life right now, where there is so much uncertainty. But here is what I do know:
I know that the Lord has told me that He is going to do a new thing in my life.
I know that the Lord sent me on the mission trip to New Jersey.
I know that the Lord has me working at the job that I am right now.
I know that He has me serving in the ministries I am serving …

Calvary Chapel Relief: Hurricane Sandy

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Last week, I was blessed to travel to New Jersey with a group from my church to help with Hurricane Sandy Relief. I remember hearing about Hurricane Sandy and the damage that it left in October and thinking, "I want to go back east and help with this." It never amounted to anything until January when one of our Pastor's who often leads trips to disaster zones made an announcement about an impending trip. I inquired about it, how much it would cost and when it was, after his response, I really wanted to go.

I started praying about it, asking the Lord for confirmation. Did He want me to go on this trip? The Lord answered me specifically with this verse:

"And Pharaoh's daughter said to her, 'Go'". - Exodus 2:8a. 

So, I told the Pastor, I was in. You'd think after hearing from the Lord, I would be certain that this was what He wanted me to do, but I wasn't. I got cold feet almost immediately after I said I would go. However, the Lord knew that wo…

"When we are invaded and overtaken by the life of God and our hearts become His heart, our hands become His hands, our minds His mind, and our vision His vision, we suddenly become effective." - Leslie Ludy, Wrestling Prayer

If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our bodies. If they will perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees. Let no one go there unwarned and unprayed for.” - Spurgeon

New Things

“Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I declare; before they spring forth I tell you of them.” -Isaiah 42:9  The Lord lead me to Isaiah 42-44 this week. Reading through these chapters, the Lord spoke a lot of things to me. However, this particular verse spoke volumes to me. Recently, I’ve had the impression that my life is on the cusp. As I sat reading this over yesterday, it was as if the Lord was speaking to my heart. “I’m doing a new thing, the old things have passed.” I felt as though yesterday was the first day to the next chapter of my life.  As I read the whole of chapters 42-44, I got a bigger picture of God. He describes Himself as Lord, Light in darkness, Savior, Creator, King, the One who blots out our transgressions, Redeemer and Maker of all things. But I also get a bigger picture of who I am to Him: He keeps me, holds me, calls me and knows me by name, He will never leave me, He walks with me through the storms, I am precious to HIm and loved by H…