- I believe that this will be a year of new things
- I believe that this will be a year of blessings and fulfilled promises
- I believe that this year will hold higher levels and deeper roots
- I believe that this year will be a year of expansion and growth
- I believe that this will be a year of victories and dreams becoming reality
- I believe that this year will transform, renew, restore, revolutionize and challenge
- I believe that this year will be a year of beautiful beginnings and sober ends.
Saturday, December 31, 2011
Friday, December 30, 2011
Monday, December 26, 2011
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Monday, December 19, 2011
Thursday, December 15, 2011
That I see things bare to the buff
And up to the buttocks in mire;
That I ask nor hope nor hire,
Nut in the husk,
Nor dawn beyond the dusk,
Nor life beyond death:
God, if this were faith!
Having felt thy wind in my face
Spit sorrow and disgrace,
Having seen thine evil doom
In Golgotha and Khartoum,
And the brutes, the work of thine hands,
Fill with injustice lands
And stain with blood the sea:
If still in my veins the glee
Of the black night and the sun
And the lost battle, run:
If, an adept,
The iniquitous lists I still accept
With joy, and joy to endure and be withstood,
And still to battle and perish for a dream of good:
God, if that were enough!
If to feel, in the ink of the slough,
And the sink of the mire,
Veins of glory and fire
Run through and transpierce and transpire,
And a secret purpose of glory in every part,
And the answering glory of battle fill my heart;
To thrill with the joy of girded men
To go on for ever and fail and go on again,
And be mauled to the earth and arise,
And contend for the shade of a word and a thing
not seen with the eyes:
With the half of a broken hope for a pillow at night
That somehow the right is the right
And the smooth shall bloom from the rough:
Lord, if that were enough!
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Monday, December 12, 2011
Sunday, December 11, 2011
Saturday, December 10, 2011
Thursday, December 8, 2011
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Monday, December 5, 2011
Sunday, December 4, 2011
Monday, November 28, 2011
Sunday, November 27, 2011
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Monday, November 21, 2011
In Genesis 3 we read about The Fall and how one wrong move affected the whole of mankind. I must have read or heard this read a thousand times. We're told that the Garden of Eden was a place where man walked with God and there was pure and perfect communion between God and man; it is a place that we have been separated from and an intimacy that we strive to have again. Yes, because of Adam and Eve's disobedience we all now wrestle with sin but look closely at what was taken from them at the moment of their judgement:
16 To the woman he said, "I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you."
17 And to Adam he said, "Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, 'You shall not eat of it,' cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field.
19 By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return." ESV
Look at the difference between what was taken from them; they both lost the easy life they had with God and inherited a life of pain and struggle but the arenas in which they would struggle were different.
Think about how God has made women; we are naturally more affectionate, compassionate, tender-hearted and sensitive. Think about how all of that was once solely and completely directed at God and how, all at once, it was turned away from Him and turned to man. Imagine that all your passions are instinctively for Him. Now imagine Him saying to you, 'No longer will your desire and longing be for Me but it will be for your husband.' Can you imagine the devastation Eve must have felt?! We can't even begin to fathom the misery Eve was undergoing at that moment because her starting point is our finish line; what we spend our whole lives trying to acheive, in falling completely in love with God and having everything in our being adore Him without contest, she had and she is being told that she'll spend the rest of her life with her desires drawn back to her husband like a bad magnet.
So what does this say for us? Daughters of Eve, what does this say for us? I think for us it means that we were made to love God. I think it means that because everything, that comes natural to us, was once only for God that it is still meant for Him.
I encourage you to really meditate on Eve and on what she had, what she lost, and what she was left with.
Friday, November 4, 2011
You remember that kid, growing up in elementary school, that could never sit still; maybe it was you? Well there's a little hyperactive spirit in each of us. We weren't made to sit still, doing nothing. We were made to be out there living, creating, doing, enjoying, inhabiting, and dwelling. Why do we put ourselves in our own time-outs where we sit and don't do, when inside there is something dying to move? It's dying to move and to do; let it sit too long and it will die...it's called "compromise."
Saturday, October 15, 2011
I have the great privilege of living what some would call an exotic life; I live in exotic countries, travel the world, have many adventures, and despite my young age I have seen more than most have seen in a lifetime. For me, this doesn't feel like an exotic life; for me it just feels like my life. For me, this is normal, mostly because it's the only one I've got.
What I consider exotic is what you consider normal. I think about moving to Georgia, to some small town, settling down and raising a family. I think about fishing on the weekends, having a career, a house, and a family. But then I remind myself that, as good as that is, it's not for me; it's not what God called me to...at least not right now.
I met a woman before I left for New Zealand who was in her late 60s; she told me that when she was 20 years old the Lord told her to go to India and she didn't, instead she got caught up in another kind of life. With tears in her eyes she told me that she has regretted not obeying God everyday of her life since. Over 40 years of regret!
Why live in regrets? Why not love the life the Lord's given you?
Monday, October 10, 2011
2Peter 3:9 -"The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you..."
Why should He wait- why not act at once? Because something in us hinders. We cannot enter into spiritual blessings till we are made capable of them by faith...God has the right time for help...He never gives the wrong medicine. His waiting is full of work to fit us to receive His grace. It is not a mere passive standing by, till the fit conditions are seen in us; but He is exalted while He waits. He Who prepares a place for us is preparing us for the place. He who has grace which He is ready to give us here, is making us ready for His grace. The measure of all God's work in us is to form a character fit to possess His highest gifts...the waiting desire to which He responds is directed to something better and greater than any gifts from Him, even to Himself, for it is they who wait for Him...who are blessed. The blessedness of such waiting, how it calms the heart, brings into constant touch with God, detaches from the fever and fret which kill, opens our eyes to mark the meanings of our life's history and makes the divine gifts infinitely more precious when they do come...
- Alexander Maclaren's sermon God's Waiting & Man's
Friday, September 23, 2011
Well the first and most obvious reason is good ole Southern hospitality; even a Yankee will admit that you just can't beat it. As a missionary you need to not only be hospitable but you need to be able to receive hospitality; this is absolutely essential especially when being received by other nations.
There is a level of manners and politeness that you can only find in a home-grown Southerner. We all say our "yes ma'am"s and "no ma'am"s, our "yes sir"s and "no sir"s. It has been deeply engrained in every Southerner by the belt, the soap, the switch, and the smack our mamas and daddys gave us when we forgot our manners.
Another part of this applies to strangers and people we can't stand. If you go down to the South you'll find you have people you've never met nodding a hello your way, people in the cars passing by will wave, and every person you pass on the street will ask you how it's going. This is something that you can't teach, it's just apart of our Southern DNA. When we Southern missionaries walk into a new place, you'd think we'd been there before cause of how friendly we are. Missionaries are also prone to live with groups of people but Southerners are the best community dwellers you'd ever meet, we may hate your guts but we ain't gonna let that stop us from being polite.
You can't scare us, no matter what food you put in front of us. Sure it won't be as good as mama's cooking but if our stomachs, arteries and bodies have survived all that grease, all these years then it doesn't matter what kind of scary ethnic food you put in front of us...we'll survive. We'll wash it down with a glass of ghetto sweet tea we had to make with these Red Coat's tea bags and sugar cubes.
Because the South is so warm and because once upon a time they won one little war (supposedly that gives them territorial rights), we are accustomed to dealing with Yankee foreigners. So when it comes to living with other cultures and having to cope, shoot we ain't got no problem doing that...been dealing with foreigners for years.
Now I could go into our hard, farm-driven work ethic, our thick family values, and so on; but y'all already know that you can't go wrong with the South.
Sunday, September 11, 2011
I reflect today on what happened 10 years ago and I can recall the fear that stirred within me as I watch the concept of war come off the pages of history.
We take time every year to stop and remember what happened to our nation on that day and give little attention to the hate it re-kindles. Something happened to our country that day; yes we were attacked but we engaged in a war that had many different battlefields, one of which has taken place in our hearts.
The enemy of our time has shifted from the Nazi regime to the terrorist and the Muslim nations; propaganda has a new face, more clever and deceptive than before. Vengeance continually finds us as we feel an arousing need to pay "them" back for what they did to us. We celebrate the death of their leaders and honor those who carry their blood on their hands. And just like that we've forgotten everything; the lessons learned in history have faded in the light of our anger and fear.
Have we learned nothing? If we forget where we've come from and the battles we fought in our hearts so that freedom can truly be present in each of us, then we are doomed to repeat them and we will never have peace. Freedom can't always be protected by soldiers and wars, we must fight against racism and hate ourselves through our choices, speech and actions.
9/11 will always and forever be apart of our nation's past but it's never been, nor should it ever be, an excuse.
Monday, August 29, 2011
I made this poster simply from playing around with a newly downloaded app but it has since left me speechless and has caused me to evaluate some things and revisit convictions, memories, and lessons. This poster says more than I can type, more than you can read. It speaks louder than I can raise my voice and further than any echo can carry. I can share what it means to me, but what is that to you? Take a few moments and find what it means to you.
Saturday, August 27, 2011
Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you.
From there to here, and here to there, funny things are everywhere.
Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.
Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So… get on your way.
If you never did, you should. These things are fun, and fun is good.
So the writer who breeds more words than he needs, is making a chore for the reader who reads.
And will you succeed? Yes indeed, yes indeed! Ninety-eight and three-quarters percent guaranteed.
The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.
Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one.
Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the things you can think up if only you try!
Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.
I’m afraid sometimes you’ll play lonely games too, games you can’t win because you’ll play against you
Friday, August 12, 2011
Social justice is something that God has broken my heart for. Before the breaking, social justice was something that I saw as sad but I did not see it as my responsibility. So when the flood of conviction came there was no other option than to be wholly devoted to it.
Scripture talks about "the age of accountability" and there is much speculation and debate about what age that is but basically it's when you're able to reason and understand right an wrong, the time when you are no longer ignorant and are held to account.
Scripture also says that it is a sin to know what you ought to do and not do it. Therefore, someone who has reached that level of accountability can do something, that is necessarily not disobeying a commandment, but if they know it's wrong in their heart and do it anyway then they are sinning.
So we can take all of that and apply it to matters of social justice, in fact, we must because all throughout Scripture there are hundreds upon hundreds of commands and teachings on how to live justly; on how we're to care for the widow, the orphan, the sojourner, the poor and needy, etc. I believe that there is a point of accountability that comes into play here as well because back in the times all of this was written the unjust treatment of such people was common and it would have been known to them, but today in our Western society we are almost completely oblivious to those kind of things because, in our minds, they're taken care of or they simply don't exist (to our knowledge). But the point at which you cross the line from honest and true ignorance to knowing then you are accountable.
Now I'm not so much addressing those who know nothing of social justice issues and who genuinely do not know, but rather I'm addressing those who do know and who (for lack of a better word) half-ass it.
I think that it's awesome that people are becoming more aware and are changing how they live; it's a gruesome process to go from knowing nothing to then go to knowing so much and dealing with the guilt of purchases and ignorance. I think that it's worthy of honor and praise that people are doing things about these issues, speaking out against them, and taking a stand in whatever way they know how. I don't dare discourage or put down anyone who is trying! The one who is out rescuing sex slaves is of no greater value or importance than the one who is praying for them back at home!
Now that I've said that and made all of that clear, I'll get to the point I'm trying to make. What confuses/disturbs/bothers me is seeing people who profess to stand for social justice and yet deliberately ignore what they know to be wrong. The woman who knows that people are exploited by coffee manufacturers yet she continues to buy coffee she knows is not fairly traded. The man who knows that people are enslaved by cocoa companies and yet he continues to buy their chocolate. The girl who knows that the clothes she's putting in her cart were made by people in a sweat shop and yet she still carries them to the check out line.
It's almost impossible to know if something is truly fair. Say you want to buy a shirt, the company may pay it's workers who sewed the shirt a fair wage and they may give them fair housing and treat them well but what about the people who harvested the cotton? What of the people who made the fabric? There are so many links in the chain that it makes it so incredibly difficult to truly know. But that doesn't mean we give up. We're accountable for what we know. Being unwilling to find out more and to listen isn't right either; if you avoid truth just to avoid being held accountable to it; do you not also think that you will be held accountable for that avoidance?
I'm not saying it's easy, I'm not saying it's cheap either, but if you are going to stand and profess that you are taking a stand against injustice then do it with all your heart letting your yes be yes and your no be no.
Friday, July 15, 2011
After hearing so many mixed reviews ranging any where in between love and hate, I decided to read "Love Wins" by Rob Bell for myself.
My overall opinion is confused and cautious. As I read through the book I found myself offering an equal amount of "yay"s and "nay"s. Rob Bell was bringing up points that I whole-heartedly agreed with and other points that I was saying, "uh...not too sure about that."
Then it got to a point where Rob brought up a question that I was not at all comfortable with hearing and I was ready to close the book and never look it again thinking, "How dare he ask that." But then I thought, "What am I so afraid of? He's asking questions that 1000's of people ask everyday." So I pressed on.
The more the pages on the right dwindled the more I found myself disagreeing. Scriptures refuting his points were popping into my head. I repeatedly was unable to understand his interpretations of Scripture and failed to see how he sometimes got from one point to another. Then it got to the point where I found his words and insinuations downright dangerous; questions and statements challenging God, challenging His character, verging on idolatry.
What worried me was that he didn't boldly state his ideas and then draw a thick circle around them to exclude them and say, "these are my ideas; right or wrong." But rather it was as if he loosely insinuated his theories and then drew a dotted line around them, leaving room for other ideas and questions to slip out; then you're not sure if he actually said ____ or if he just insinuated it, if that's where he's leading, or if that is an idea coming out of you. Definitely uncomfortable quick sand in my opinion. My biggest issue with it all is that in the very last chapter he pretty much refutes every point he made against hell in the previous chapters and leaves you feeling irritatingly confused. I'm still not sure if the same person wrote that last chapter.
Now that I've got that out of the way, onto what I liked. I really like the questions that he raised concerning life as we know it. I found it beneficially challenging. I also appreciated his thoughts on heaven; they really got me thinking and inspired me to search Scripture more on the subject. Since neither he nor I, or anyone else for that matter, know what heaven will truly look like; it's not something that I worry or wrestle with. Nonetheless, he had some really interesting thoughts on the subject.
Overall, would I recommend this book? Yes and No.
If people around you are talking about the book and are discussing it, it might be good for you to have an opinion on it yourself instead of going off of hearsay. On the other hand I can't really say that my life was changed by it, my relationship with the Lord is better because of it, or that I'm better because of it; so I have a hard time recommending it with the same enthusiasm that I have recommended other books with. My only real concern is the way in which his ideas are so loosely conveyed, as I previously discussed. So if anything I would say to be careful.
Monday, July 11, 2011
I've been contemplating the difference between a trip and a journey these past couple of days as I've been getting support letters ready. I've been looking back over my DTS experience and summarizing it, cutting out the highlights to be shared with those who helped me get there. All in all, to convey that what I went through was not a trip but rather the beginning of a journey; a journey that carries over into my next move to Australia which is also not a trip but a point along the same journey.
So stop and examine what you are doing and ask, "Is this a trip or apart of a journey?" Is there purpose in what you're doing? Is there a reason? Do you have goals that you hope that this "thing" you're doing right now will help you get to? OR, is it just a tumbleweed thing; you're just going where you're being directed without any real say or resistance; it will end someday, somewhere but you just don't know when or where?
Life is a journey and there's nothing wrong with a few trips here and there, we're not a connect-the-dots kind of drawing after all. In fact, we're more like freehand drawings; mistakes and slip-ups are good for us and add to our beauty. But don't waste your time taking trips to avoid facing the journey.
Sunday, July 10, 2011
One thing I hear really often is how lucky I am to get to travel; how jealous they are of my life.
Fact: I am extremely blessed
Fact: So are you!
There is nothing wrong with your life, however, if there's something you don't like about it, then do something. If you want to do something; what's stopping you?
money, timing, job, family, etc
Those may be very valid obstacles but they don't have to be impassable. Let your passion be bigger than the obstacles you face.
If you have a dream then you need to make a decision if you're going to let that dream remain a dream or if you're going to commit to see it become a reality. Then all that's left to do is live.
Monday, July 4, 2011
|in case you were confused|
- I have no idea how to pay my own taxes
- I'm terrible with fractions and need a calculator for most math
- I don't know how to work Microsoft Excel
- I don't know how to keep weight off that I loose
- I don't know much about my own country's history
- I still don't know where all the 50 states are located, much less most other countries.
- I still don't know all the States capitals...I never learned that song
- I don't understand economics...AT ALL
- I still don't know what happened to my "Yak Bak"
- I still don't know what color my eyes are
- I still don't know exactly where that "line" my mom always talked about is.
- I still don't know if I want to get married or not
- I still don't know why some people get healed and others don't
- I still don't know how to cook without a recipe
- I still don't know what working a 9-5 is like
- I don't know how to drive a stick-shift
- I still don't know why Eve listened to a talking snake
- I still don't know what heaven will be like and if we go straight there or if we "fall asleep"
- I still don't know what to do when I get up to a bank teller, I always freak out and do the wrong thing.
- I still don't know what this next step is going to look like
- I still don't know why I was born into the privilege and the wonderful family that I was born into while others are born into terrible situations
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Saturday, June 25, 2011
So many times I look at my days in such a long time frame (weeks, months, even years); I think in a matter of weeks rather than days, hours, or minutes.
I'm reminded of the timeless advice, "Aim small, miss small."
Thanks for another day God
Sunday, June 19, 2011
I was flummoxed (yep new word! Look it up) by the results especially since they make you see it from your perspective.
It's awesome, share it.