Thursday, December 25, 2014

Consume Me

"Consume me. and let there be light."

(Picture and quote courtesy of Sean Nebblett's instagram)

Staring at Christmas lights (they are too pretty not too) before at the end and beginning of each day. Devotions by candle and Christmas light.
It's the same resounding thought. 

Just... #Yes. Consume me. Burn me up. Just let it give Light to some dark heart. 

- - - -

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Fog



It was a foggy day. Actually, it'd been foggy all week. Normally I would like the fog. But this time, I had wanted snow--lots of it. I had wanted it every day this week.

But instead of snow He gave fog. It was beautiful. But because I wanted snow so much, I couldn't enjoy the fog. I was too busy wishing for what He hadn't given to enjoy what He had given.


I wonder many other gifts I miss because I'm too busy focusing on what He hasn't given? A sweet text from a friend. Frost. Sunshine.

It's time I focus more on thanking Him for what He has given and less on wishing for those which  He has withheld.

Friday, October 31, 2014

His Power in Darkness

[Jeremiah 13]

He's seen all their sins, their adulteries, their shame. 

And yet He begs... "Will you be made clean? When?"

He had made this people to be a glory to Him and a praise to His name. To be with Him forever.

But they turn away. They won't listen to Him. They think they're strong. They don't see their need. 

He pleads and He warns. If they do not change. He will have to punish them. But only as much as is necessary for them to see their weakness and His strength. 



Because His glory shines best in darkness;
His power seen best in the night. 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Love Does Not Give Up

[Jeremiah 12]

Even now, admidst all the desolation and punishment for their sins, His love and mercy continue. They aren't cast off forever. He will bring them back and give them many gifts. And if anyone tries to get His beloved's land or gifts while they are away, watch out. 



Though He can't stand the disobedience and wants to destroy it, His heart of love cannot give them up. 



His mercy is unending. His justice, forever. He may punish for a time. Maybe even appear to have cast them off. But He is still with them. It is not forever. He will heal and restore them again. Love cannot give them up.

 Because that's what love does. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

The Only Things Worth Pursuing

[Jeremiah 9]

They've pursued many things. Refused to let go of their sin. And yet, they re missed the whole thing. 

Because the only things worth pursuing and clinging to (with white-knuckled fists) are a knowledge of God and His character. 

Everything else is just a distraction. 


Friday, September 12, 2014

The Cost of Disobedience

[Jeremiah 11]

We often look at it has a little thing. And yet, it so easily grows into a big thing that we can't call it a little thing. 

It's disobedience. 

We let kids get away with not obeying in the little things. We let ourselves get away with not obeying in the little things. And thus we establish habits of disobeying and ignoring God's commands till we do it in everything. 

The children of Israel tried that too. 

And it cost them their freedom, land, belongings, reputation...everything. God won't hear their prayers or even prayers for them. He can't bear the thought of giving them up, yet unless they heed His warnings He will have to.

All because of disobedience. 

No one try tell me obedience doesn't matter. 


But the question begs to be asked: Why does it matter so much?

It matters because it allows God to fulfill His promises in our lives. God can't keep His promises in our lives if we don't obey. 

To Walk In His Footprints

[Jeremiah 10]

It is not in man to direct our steps. 

We need Someone wiser to lead us and gently correct us when we go the wrong way. 

And that Someone wiser is God. 

Don't be afraid to walk in His footprints. 


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Waiting

[Jeremiah 8]

There He is, sitting on the porch again. Eyes searching to and fro, ears strained to catch the faintest call. He's waiting. Eagerly. Attentively. Hopefully. 

They've rejected Him and His rules.
The One Who only ever loved them and sought their best.

But He's waiting.
He hasn't changed a bit. 

But they have. And for the worse. They aren't even ashamed of their sin. They can't see it. They claim to be wise, but what wisdom is in this course?

None. Absolutely none. 

He will have to destroy them. But He will save the wise, the obedient ones, and give them the land. 


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

How Can I Give You Up?

[Jeremiah 7]

Even now He's pleading for them to return to Him. Warning them of the sure result of their course. Calling them back...

"How can I give thee up...?"

He's tried again and again, but they would not hearken. Now He will cast them off. And not even Jeremiah's prayers or interceding for them can change it. "Seest thou not how they sacrifice unto other gods, and worship them that they may provoke me to anger? Do they provoke me to anger? ... Do they not provoke themselves to the confusion of their own faces?"*

They've disobeyed, ignored, and forsaken God for many years. Trading Him instead for illusions of gods and their own evil pleasure. And now, they have a screwed picture of God. They're confused. 

They don't know God, they don't know themselves, and they don't know their other gods. 



Confusion is the sure result of trading the true and living God for life-less gods and selfish pleasure. 

Let's learn from them.

*See Jeremiah 7:17-19.


Saturday, September 6, 2014

The Sentence

[Jeremiah 6]

They've crossed the line. Iniquity abounds.
They claim a false healing. 
They're oppressed and they know it not.

"Gather out the remnant," God says. He's tried. Time and again. They won't listen. And now He will try them again. It will be harder this time. Though it pains His heart, He will pour out His fury; Jeremiah will watch and give the sentence. 

Reprobate silver. Worthless. Corrupt. Fit only to be cast off and rejected. 

Certainly not the sentence I'd like to have, yet do I heed His warnings and hearken to His Voice? That's the only way to avoid it. 

They didn't want it either, but by neglecting obedience in the little things, carelessly casting aside His warnings, they headed down the wrong path and this? This was the result. 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

For the Sake of One

[Jeremiah 5]

Even after all this sin and adultery, all their broken promises all the times they broke His trust, even after they refuse to return... Yes, even after all that, God turns to Jeremiah and says, "Run to and for," search, "and see if you can find one man--one man that excuteth judgement and seeks the Truth, and I will pardon it."

Pretty simple. Shouldn't be too hard, right? Wrong. But why is is so hard to find one man like this when there should be thousands?

Because they refused the correction of The Lord.



But what strikes me even deeper than the challenge to be "this man or woman" is the heart of God. 

Even after all the times they'd hurt Him, He still can't bear the thought of giving them up. And so He will spare them all for the sake of just one. 

Never underestimate the power of one life wholly committed to following God. 

Not a Full End

[Jeremiah 4]

They've lived in sin and shame so thick it covered them. Their confusion is great too. They've hardened their hearts. And in this state He calls to them "If thou wilt return, return unto Me. Put away your sins. Acknowledge the Lord's goodness. Break up your hard, fallow heart. And remove the weeds, that His plants may grow there. Circumcise your hearts. Cut away the layers, right down to the very heart. Because I love you and don't want to have to destroy you with the sin." 

God is not angry at me, but at my enemies. They must be destroyed. But I still have a chance. If I will but raise the standard, set my face toward Zion, and march, I will be saved. 

But too often I believe the twisted world saying that my enemies are my friends and He is my enemy. And so, even though He must destroy, He will not make a full end. He will destroy my enemies, open my eyes, and come rescue me. 

What love...

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Indominatible Love

[Jeremiah 3]

A lone figure, standing on the porch. Straining His eyes. Yes, He sees her. She's out under a tree, this woman He longs to spend the night with. She's with someone else. Someone who can never really love her. He'll wait for her, as always. This relationship can't last long. 

A Covenant of Love...Broken

[Jeremiah 2]

This bride was to be very special one. Vows exchanged, a covenant established.  A covenant of love. 

But then something went wrong. Seriously wrong.

This bride, who was to be a holiness to The Bridegroom, disgraced His name.

Unfaithful to her Husband (Who loves her with an unequal-able love and never once broke His end of the covenant), she heads out to try to find fulfillment in other "lovers".

She goes from one to another. Ashamed when found, back at it when opportunity comes. Unresponsive to correction. 

She rightly deserves to be cast off. But This Groom isn't ready for that, yet. 

Despite all this He loves her still. He pleads for her to come back. And He trusts her again. 

This...is without equal. 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Antidote to Fear


Fear confuses and breaks us (literally or figuratively), and causes discouragement and dismay. Which is why Satan uses it so much, especially on those who are doing a great work for God. The antidote? A calling. 

Because if I was called, than this has been part of God's plan for me from the beginning. 
And it I was called (by God), then I can be sure He will be with me and fight for me. 
And though all may come against me, I am a victor because He is. 
And if God is with me, though I appear all alone, I really have the stronger army on my side.
And even though in my own eyes I am very weak (as I am), to my enemies I appear invincible because He is. 

And though they may hurt me, they cannot destroy me. He will deliver. 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

His Glory Shines Best in Brokenness



Pain, brokenness... These are things we normally try to avoid. But are they really to avoid?

A little boy's lunch, broken with Christ's own hand, become enough to feed 5,000 men (not including what wife and kids ate).

A hurting girl, hurting others in an attempt to avoid her own pain, become Jesus' closest friend. And the brokenness of her past became the greatest backdrop for the work Love did in her. 

A broken bottle of expensive tears,
A broken body hanging on a tree,
These became the most beautiful and precious things to us (and God). The reason we live. The reason we can have life more abundant. 

And when I let Him break me, it is beautiful. It produces something valuable. And the pain and brokenness of the past become the greatest backdrop for His glory in my life. 

His glory shines best in brokenness.

May I always remember not to run away from or hide from pain and brokenness. 


Thursday, June 19, 2014

Our Love For Others Judged By...

"By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments." (1 John 5:2)



I stare at the verse, letting it sink in. 

How much we love our fellow brothers and sisters is judged by how much we love and obey God.

May we all love and obey God more...

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Never Settle for Less Than the Best

I get so tired of mediocrity. Of "adverage". Of anything less then the best. 

And this, this is a good thing. For the moment I become content with anything less than the best, the strife for excellence ceases. And the downward descent begins. Compromise comes in, and brings with it darkness and trouble. 



Never settle for less than the best.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Even In the Storm

I hasn't been easy. I won't lie. 

In fact, it seems it's only gotten harder. But I'm clinging to hope. 

I search for answers, for reasons. What is God trying to teach me in this? Another crushing failure. I write. I walk. I think. I pray. I dream. I set goals for myself. And then, I make a mistake. I fail. And I wonder why? What is wrong?



This isn't the first time, either. Failure is no stranger to me. And as I look into the face of my own failure and the ideal God has placed before me, I wonder: "Was I really made to be continually stuck in the valley, fighting, only to be defeated again and again and again? Was I not made to climb the mountains and go on from victory to victory?" 

I feel as though I'm swimming in an hurricane, coupled with earthquakes and tsunamis, struggling just to keep my head above water (only to be knocked under by another crushing wave). I'm blown in circles, not even sure of what direction land is anymore. And I fight, just to stay afloat. I search for answers, for reasons for this. What is God trying to teach me or change in me by this? But the answers elude me. And I fight and search some more. 



And then finally I realize, as if the simplest thing in the world: if the storm is where God has placed me, I can be content to stay there. 

And I will be. 

Monday, March 31, 2014

My Biggest Enemy (and Two Lessons)

We all have dreams. Goals for ourselves. A standard we hold ourselves to. (Or so I hope, for a high standard has been presented to us.)

I have dreams and goals for myself. A standard I hold myself to (the highest of the highest). And I really do try. But all too often I fall short. I disappoint myself. And, I wonder why. 

I'm learning something of late. I am my biggest enemy. My biggest enemy to my fulfilling my own dreams and goals. It is selfishness causes me to fall. To be unloving. Rude. Impatient. Or... You name it. 

But I'm learning something else, too. Surrender and sacrifice are my greatest friends. 

May I always choose the latter, even when it's hard. The reward is well worth it. 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Note: This is one of those posts that should never be published, but I'm going to publish it anyway, just in case it can help someone. But I still don't recommend reading it. 



I sit with pen in hand, journal open, thinking about the day. Nothing interesting happened. Nothing worth writing about. Or wait. There were just a couple lessons that stood out to me. (But only one am I writing about here.) As I thought my disappointment in myself grew. The times I had responded impatiently when mother needed me. These, they disappoint me every time. Whether it's time and a listening ear that she needs, or technical help, or advice on who-knows-what. It's annoying really (especially when it interferes with my own plans). But why? I've struggled with this for the past couple years especially. Sometimes I can do better (and, thankfully, those times are getting more often and longer). But as I think, as I write, I realize something. The only time I've had real success with this was when I was surrendering my time and plans to God. God has given me my time, and He's given me a passion for showing His true character to the world. There are hurting people all around me who I long to connect with God by first correcting the lies told them subconsciously. But I too easily forget, my mother is just as deserving of that service, and perhaps just as needy. So why do I get so impatient and annoyed? Because I forget. I forget that she needs it as much as anyone else. And I forget that my time is a trust from God, to be returned to Him in service however He calls. And I forget that these little annoyances are really opportunities for service.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Gift of Hardship



Hardship is the only way to develop a quality character and a host of other must-haves for those preparing for the Kingdom Above. Easy days, they don't bring that. No, they bring the opposite. And hardship and battle go hand in hand. For the battle is what makes it hard.

But, enough said.

For if this is so, then is not the gift of hardship and battle greater than the gift of easy days?

And should not I crave the hardship and battle?








Friday, February 14, 2014

Of Bible Memory and Temptations and Fulness

"Memorize a whole book of the Bible? That's great! Something we need to do more of. ... But I don't think I'll join. What if...?"  Those were my thoughts when I first read about the challenge to memorize Acts in preparation for GYC 2012. But I couldn't get the idea out of my mind, and after thinking it through farther I decided it'd not hurt to give it a go and joined. Little did I know how life-changing that little choice would be.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

How Much Are You Willing To Give?

I'm afraid to invite them over because I don't know what they'll do." I'm sure you've heard similar phases about certain people. Sometimes they are unfounded. Sometimes they are legit worries. But every time I hear it it makes me ask myself a deep question:

How much am I willing to give to show them love?

Really, how much? Am I willing to risk their disapproval? Their rumors? Or worse? 

But then, I stop to consider the consequences of not showing them love, even when it involves taking risks. What if they're this way because they've never really been given true love? What if no one else gives it to them? Will they ever be able to believe or accept God's love? What if I reject them, like others?

And what if they hurt me? That's ok. Chances are, they'd do it anyway, whether I showed them love or not.

And then there's the others, the ones who require a lot of time. The ones who try to hide by acting indifferent or rejecting my efforts. And what about the slow ones? Do I really believe they are worth my time, energy, and unceasing efforts? Yes. With all my heart. 

And then I know:

I will gladly give everything I can, and then a little, to show others love. To give them a chance. I will willingly risk being hurt time and again, just for the chance to see them find a friend in Jesus. 



"How can we reach a world we never touch? How can we show them Christ if we never show them love? Just to say we care will never be enough. How can we reach a world we never touch?"


Thursday, January 2, 2014

As a New Year Begins

Disclaimer: I wrote this post while very tired and without an amazing interest in writing. Also, I'm sorry the picture is such poor quality. 
Another year has began: 2014. 2013 came and went (too fast) just like every other year, but the year itself sure was not like any other! 

There were good times and bad. Days when I knew for a certainty that I was doing the work God had called me to. Days when it was a struggle to believe that. Disappointments. Surprises. Times when I all I could do was ask questions. There were the fights between dreams and reality. Days I didn't want to face. Days I was far too eager to meet. And the lessons and character building through it all - oh, so much!

This year has been a full year both in schedules and in experiences. And I can't say it's over yet. (If you have been wondering why I've hardly written anything over here, that's why.)

But one thing I've learned this year is that every day is a new start, a chance to do better. And this new year I want to take advantage of every new day to begin again. To do better. Be better. As I continue to work for God and for others. 

It hasn't been an easy year, but that's ok. Someday I'll see how it all worked together to make me a better person. And in the meantime I'll thank God for te trials and for the good times, and I'll thank Him for precious gifts He's given. As I think back over the past year, one gift stands out more than the others: wise, caring friends. They have put up with a lot in this past year, and I want to thank them for it. 

As now, to begin a new year.  

"Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,
"Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen." (Eph. 3:20-21).