Friday, September 6, 2013

Babylon: Make Me a Woman of Integrity

Does everything have to be about Theology?

In my Applied Theology class this semester we have been trying to answer this very question.  My immediate thought was: Yes, of course.  And, my thought has not changed.  However, many of classmates see things so very differently.

If everything is about theology, is drinking orange juice theological?
If everything is about theology, is buying a pair of socks theological?
If everything is about theology, do I need to pray about whether I should eat a bowl of cereal or a bagel for breakfast?

I think these questions miss the point.  What is our motivation behind asking these simple-minded and exaggerated questions?  Where is our heart really at?  At least from my perspective, if we genuinely believe that what the Bible says about Christ and all of history is true, why on earth would we not want to see every decision we make as a theological decision?

I just don't want to.
It's weird.

These are some of the excuses I hear.  Please know, my intention is not to bash anyone or condemn anyone.  I will be the first to admit I myself am guilty of using these same excuses.  But, my heart breaks because of it.

Jesus says in John 15:11 that He has told us these things in order that we have JOY!  It might seems weird, and we may not want to think theologically about every detail of our lives.  But ultimately, including Christ will bring us JOY!  In a world where at least I know that I am not satisfied or joy-filled a good portion of the time, why would I not include the One who promises to give me joy?

So, do you need to pray about whether you should eat a bowl of cereal or a bagel for breakfast?  Will that bring you joy?  Maybe not.  But, why not stop for a moment and see that you have a choice.  You have such an abundance of food, money, time...that you not only get to eat breakfast this morning, you can choose what you will eat!  Why not stop and praise God for that?  THAT should bring you joy!

In 1 Thessalonians 5:17, Paul tells us to pray without ceasing.  I do not believe this means that every minute of our day needs to be soaked up by the literal bowing of our heads and folding of our hands as we recite hours of prayer.  I believe that it means that everything is theological.  Everything relates back to God.  And, Paul is commanding us to see that.  To see that God is behind it all, and to (at the very least) acknowledge Him and praise Him!

I must confess, I am guilty of not including or acknowledging Christ in every aspect of my life.  I am the daughter of Babylon who says, "I am.  And, there is none besides me," (Isaiah 47:8-10).  But, my prayer is that I would be like Daniel, resolving not to be this way.  Resolving not to be defiled by my Babylon.  Resolving to pray without ceasing.  Resolving to realize that everything is theological, and it's not about me.  It's about Christ.  Period.

I want to be a woman of integrity.  I pray that the meditation of my heart would no longer be, "I am, and there is none besides."  I pray that it instead would be, "You are, O God, and there is none besides."

Follow this link to hear "Babylon" by Niccole Galvan

Monday, May 6, 2013


Summer is coming.  I'm not sure what that means for you, but for means I get to lay in the sun.  I've never been a big tanner.  I usually just burn.  But, I love to lay in the sun anyways.  It's relaxing, and I love it.

When I lay in bed, my mind is constantly wanding...I have trouble sleeping, and anxiety creeps up on me.  But, when I am laying in the sun, there are no worries for me. I just lay. My mind is at peace. There is often absolutely nothing on my mind when I lay there. 

There's a word in the Hebrew for this.   בָּטַח   It is pronounced "batach" with a German-sounding gutteral.  The word means to throw oneself down upon the ground and continue to lay there.  To believe that the ground will hold you up.  To trust.


Recently, I've experencied a great deal of heartache.  There have just been a lot of changes.  One change was that the Lord willed for someone to be out of my life.  I couldn't help but let my mind wander to the many times in the past few years when I've had to go through the same thing in one way or another.  Being betrayed by someone I loved, being abandoned by another I loved, watching someone I love go through a change so completely that although I still love's love for what seems a different person, watching another one I love wave goodbye as they move on to new places, and finally this...that the Lord ask me to walk away.  It reminds me of a passage of Scripture written by the apostle Paul:

2 Timothy 4:16-18
At my first defense no one supported me, but all deserted me; may it not be counted against them. But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that through me the proclamation might be fully accomplished, and that all the Gentiles might hear; and I was rescued out of the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

I read of Paul's heartache and yet see that the Lord stood at his side.  He was confident of this.  He knew that the Lord never left him, and He knew why.  He was assured that the Lord would never leave him and would continue to rescue him from troubles to come.  He was certain that God would bring him safely home.  He was able to praise the Lord amidst his heartache.  I pray that I can do the same.


In Psalm 28:7, the Psalmist writes:
The LORD is my strength and my shield; My heart trusts (batach) in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart exults, And with my song I shall thank Him.

Paul trusted (batach) that the Lord would continue to stand at his side.

My Gracious Heavenly Father,
You are my strength and my shield.  When I am weak, You are strong.  When I am in danger, You are a fortress.  Lord, my heart trusts (batach) in You, and I am You.  Lord, help me to throw myself down upon the ground and continue to lay there.  Help me to never get up but continue to trust (batach) You and to believe that you will hold up the ground that You have laid before me.  My heart aches, but I long for it to rejoice and sing for joy.  Thank you, Lord.  I shall forever thank You, Father.
In Your Precious Son's Name, Amen.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

That Darn Cat!

My cat Gilbert has a very strong interest in playing outside. Gilbert is not an outside cat. He's a pure-bred Ragdoll with long, white, fluffy furr! Anyways, in the summer I take him outside to play, but I always keep an eye on him.  But, when I'm away at school, my mom just lets him out for an hour here and there with no supervision. No problem...she taught him to come back when we call him in return for a piece of bologna.

Well before we moved, our dog Franklin had found out how to break through the screen door of our patio. So, when my parents would leave for the evening, they would come home to find both the cat and dog outside. One Saturday afternoon, we found the dog and the cat in the front yard yet again, and Gilbert was covered in burrs from the woods.

I'm not talking a few small burrs. I'm exaggeration..probably 15-20 burrs spread over is belly, back, and gorgeous tail. I tried brushing them out with no luck. I tried cutting them out, but he wouldn't sit still. So, I went to our church's Harvest Dinner thinking my mom could help me hold him down when we got home.

Bad idea... When we got home, Gilbert had his tail velcroed to his stomache between his legs! He also had a green sock stuck to his belly! And..he was unable to move because he was sticking to the carpet!

At first, thinking it was a silly predicament, we started pulling him off the carpet and detaching the sock from his tummy. But, we noticed the usualy frisky and animated Gilbert was sitting pretty limp allowing us to clean him up. His ears were down, not the way they get when cats get mad but in a sad way. Every few minutes he would wiggle away, but he would always come back for us to clip a few more pieces out. By the end of the night, his beautiful, long, white, fluffy coat was a patchy mess. He was clean! But, he was looking a little beat up...

My mom made a comment about how the whole thing made her think of how we look when we're bogged down in our sin. And, I think she's totally right!

The way Gil looked stuck to the carpet was probably exactly what God sees when He watches us caught in sin. I'm so thankful I have Him to pick me up and clip the burrs out my hair when I finally go to Him and confess! When He's done, we probably look patchy too.  But just like Gil's furr that will eventually grow back, ours will too.

The whole situation showed me two things.  First, it opened my eyes to God's grace and love for us. The entire time my mom and I were snipping the burrs our of Gil's hair, I wanted to cry. He really is a beautiful cat. I kept yelling at my mom for leaving the door open. And, as Gil looked at me with those little pathetic blue eyes, I sternly told him that it was his fault for rolling in the burrs. I told him that he did it to himself.

I'm SO glad that isn't what God says as He cleans us up!

1 John 3:1
How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!

The next day when I saw Gil looking all patchy, I just laughed. I wonder what God thinks when He watches us walk around like that!

And second, it reminded me of the beauty of the Gospel.  As a believer who trusted Christ as my Savior at 4 years old, it can be easy to become "bored" with the Gospel.  I've heard it at least thousand times over (I am so thankful!!).  But, this morning, remembering Gilbert all covered in burrs reminded me of a few verses from Revelation.

Revelation 19:6-8, 13
Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud pearls of thunder, shouting: "Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns.  Let us rejoice and be glad and give Him glory!  For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and His bride has made herself ready.  Fine linen, bring and clean, was given her to wear."
...He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and His name is the Word of God.

Remember, sweet child of God, that if you have trusted in Christ as your Savior, you will wear fine linen that is bright and clean on your wedding day!  Jesus has taken your burrs from you!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Break My Heart

One of my favorite songs is "Hosanna" sung by Hillsong.  Hosanna...Lord, save's beautiful.  A few of the lyrics read: "Break my heart for what break yours."  Today, reading for my Church History class, I came across a quote made by Benjamin Franklin which broke my heart for what I believe breaks the heart of my Lord.
A few weeks before he died [Benjamin Franklin] responded to an inquiry by President Ezra Stiles of Yake concerning his religions faith. Said Franklin: "As to Jesus of Nazareth,...I have...some doubts as to his Divinity, tho' it is a question I do not dogmatize upon, having never studied it, and think it needless to busy myself with it now, when I expect soon an opportunity of knowing the truth with less trouble. I see no harm, however, in its being believed, if that belief has the good consequence...of making his doctrines more respected and better observed." [Church History in Plain Language, Bruce L. Shelley, page 331]
The thoughts behind this quote made by Benjamin Franklin are what most of us as Americans are so thankful for: religious freedom...the right of free speech...TOLERANCE. We are so blessed to live in a country where we have the right to doubt religions and seek for ourselves truth. What breaks my heart about Benjamin Franklin's quote though is the fact that because he was nearing the end of his life and would soon cross over from life here on earth to what comes next, he thought it "needless to busy [himself] with [the study of] it now."

Benjamin Franklin was a brilliant man.  He was an author, politician, scientist, musician, inventor, and much more.  There is no doubt that he made his mark on history.  In the words of my big brother: "Yes, but."  Yes, he was brilliant, but what is it worth if you come to the end of your life and you are not the least bit concerned about what comes next?  Benjamin Franklin claimed to be a Christian, and I cannot judge his heart.  But, one of the foundational beliefs of Christianity is the deity of Christ.  It breaks my heart that there are people in the world today who might hold the same views as Benjamin Franklin.  They might believe in God but not the deity of His Son, Jesus Christ.

In John 14:6, Jesus says "I am the way and the truth and the light.  No one comes to the Father except through Me"  If Christ were not fully God, He could not have made this claim.  But, because He is fully God, He makes this claim.  No one will ever come to God the Father unless they have first trusted in the God-Man, Jesus Christ, as their personal Savior.

My prayer and plea is this...if you have not made a personal decision to trust in the Lord Christ Jesus to save you from the penalty of your sins, please do it now!  And if you are not ready...if you have doubts, figure out what is holding you back and straighten it out!  Ask someone for help or do your own research.  I would personally love to talk to you!  It is the most important decision you will ever make.

I'm praying for you.
In His Faithful Grip,

Friday, March 22, 2013

Food for the Soul

Last weekend, I had the privilege of hanging out and baking cookies with two of my very bestest friends :)  We baked Samoas in heart shapes!  It was so much fun!  We called them "Food for the Soul."  They were sooo good; I could have eaten the whole tray in one sitting!  My mouth is watering now and my tummy is grumbling as I even only remember tasting them freshly baked.  It's got me thinking...
The Bible calls itself the Bread of Life.  It says, "taste and see that the Lord is good!"  The Bible is filled with the nutrience we need AND it tastes good!  It's a win-win.  It's like eating your favoite dessert and being able to count it as celery!!
As I sit here and think about those Samoas cookies and the reaction my body and my mind gives to them, I can't help but feel convicted that my heart and soul don't react the same way to God's so very precious Word.
I LOVE the excitement of Samoas cookies.  And I want to feel that excitement for God's Word.  I long to be as the Psalmist in Psalm 119 who says things like...
I delight in Your decrees (vs16)
Do not hide Your commands from me (vs 18)
My soul is consumed with longing for Your law at all times (vs20)
Your statues are my delight (vs24)
I have set my heart on Your laws (vs30)
How I long for Your precepts (vs40)
This Psalmist didn't have the whole Bible the way we do today either.  Do you know what he had?  Probably pieces of the Law...Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.  Have you ever read Leviticus?  Definitely not the first book that comes to mind that I would delight in...  But, don't get me wrong.  The Psalmist wasn't perfect either.  He clearly didn't always love to read God's Word.  BUT, when he did not desire it, he asked for the longing to return...
Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in Your law (vs18)
Turn my heart toward Your statutes (vs36)
Oh that our hearts would be captivated by the sweet love letter given to us by our Gracious Heavenly Father.  This is my prayer.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

He is Good

Now this is eternal life that they may know You the One, True God and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. [John 17:3]

I have just recently discovered and fallen in love with the song "Aslan" by Kendall Payne.  I love the words that she uses to describe Aslan.  He's not safe.  He's not fair.  He cuts deep.  The water is free, yet it costs everything.  He won't say the words that we wish that He would.  He won't do the deeds that we know that He could.  He won't think the thoughts we think that He should.  But...He is GOOD.  I've never been a big Narnia fan, but I understand the allegory between Aslan and God.  God desires for us to know Him.  And sometimes the things He says, does, and thinks don't make sense to us.  But He is good.  And He longs for us to understand that and trust Him.

God allowed some very painful things to happen in my life about 2 years ago.  I didn't understand them then.  It felt like God was ganging up on me.  The things He asked me to do seemed unbearable.  And the things he allowed to happen seemed harsh and out of my control.  Looking back now, I am overwhelmed with the incredible works God allowed to happen because of that painful time.  God has changed me.  And He has grown my trust and knowledge of Him.  I've heard it said that God first will be your Lord, then your Love, and ultimately your Life.  I think I finally understand what it means for God to be my Life.  He is my light when all that surrounds me is dark.  He is my love when everyone deserts me.  He is good when the world I live in is evil.  He is literally the air that I breathe.  God is so good.  I can't imagine life without Him.  From the depths of my heart I pray that whoever reads this already feels the same way I do, but if not, I pray that one day you will be able to feel this way too.
Aslan by Kendall Payne

Don't stop your crying on my account
A frightening lion, no doubt
He's not safe, no he's not safe
Are you tempted now to run away?
The King above all Kings is coming down

But He won't say the words you wish that he would
Oh, he don't do the deeds you know that He could
He won't think the thoughts you think He should
But He is good, He is good

I know you're thirsty, the water is free
But I should warn you, it costs everything
Well, He's not fair, no He's not fair
When He fixes what's beyond repair
And graces everyone that don't deserve

But He won't say the words you wish that he would
Oh, he don't do the deeds you know that He could
He won't think the thoughts you think He should
But He is good, He is good

No one knows Him whom eyes never seen
No, I don't know Him but He knows me
He knows me, He knows me

Lay down your layers, shed off your skin
But without His incision, you can't enter in
He cuts deep, yeah He cuts deep
When the risk is great and the talk is cheap
But never leaves a wounded one behind

But He won't say the words you wish that he would
Oh, he don't do the deeds you know that He could
He won't think the thoughts you think He should
But He is good, He is good

Thursday, January 10, 2013

A New Realization

This morning, I had a new realization.  Since being back at school, I've had the same message being practically screamed at me from all different directions.

I had to come back two days early to school in order to go through a training session for being a Growth Group leader.  In the session, Mr. Matthews talked about the value of all different personality types.  One of the people he highlighted was Dr. James Strong who published the Stong Concordances.  Mr. Matthew suggested that Strong was probably an introvert in order to be able to "count numbers" and sit at a desk alone for so long.

My devotion this morning came from the Live Loved devotional by Max Lucado.  On the day entitled "Face Challenges in Stages" Lucado wrote:
When asked how he managed to write so many books, Joel Henderson explained that he'd never written a book.  All he did was write one page a day...  Earning a college degree can seem inpossible, but studying one semester is manageable, and logging in one good week is doable.  You las the long race by running the short ones.

The point of the devotional was not the point I am about to make.  Maily, Lucado was expounding on Matthew 6:43 where it says not to worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will worry about itselt.  He was trying to explain that we should take one day at a time.  However, I found ironic the examples he chose to use.  Writing books, finishing a college education...both things that I feel God calling me to do and both things that I often feel discouraged about or inadequit for.

So, often I compare myselft to others and even pray that God will make me like them.  There's nothing wrong with wanting to better yourself.  God even commands us in the Bible to conform more likely to the image of Christ.  The problem arises when we try to become something that we are not, someone that God hasn't made us to be.

I've finally realized and accepted and am excited about the person God has made me to be.  I'm quiet, and I'm not always outgoing.  But, I love leading small groups and I am really good at accomplishing tasks.  The book work that seems boring to most, fascinates me!  God creates us all differently and for different purposes.  I'm not being "boring" because I like to do different things than others.  I don't need to change the way God made me, because God made me perfect for His plan.  I pray that God will continue to open my eyes to His will for my life so that I can bring Him His due glory.  I pray that I will become confident in the woman He has created me to be.  I could try and be something I'm not just because the world finds it most interesting, but if I'm going to fail at it what's the point?  Today I'm choosing to be who God made me because I'd rather make Him proud than the world.  I long for the day when I might hear "Well done, good and faithful servant."

Lord God Almighty,
Thank you for people like Max Lucado who write books.  Thank you for devotionals, commentaries, concordances, WORDS!, so that we can understand Your revelation to us better.  Lord, I think You made me to be an introvert.  And, it's not that I don't like to have fun - it's that my definition of "fun" is different.  I often worry that I am not living "uncomfortably" enough, but I am WAY out of my comfort zone most days.  I often worry that I don't talk to enough people to share about You, but I have this blog that reaches people that I don't even know about.  Lord, without people like Strong - an introvert - we would not have awesome resources like Strong's Concordance.  Thank You for showing me that it's ok to be the woman You created me to be.  God, let me love Your Word and Your people.  Let me fall more in love with You.  Become my life, Lord Jesus.  Father, help me to keep taking one day at a time.  Give me only enought light for the step I'm on.  Help me not look forward or backward without Your "ok."  Lord, let me be Your light today.  Walk with me.  Help me to pray unceasingly, choose joy, and live consciously with an eternal perspective.
I love You, Lord.