Friday, October 14, 2011
Saturday, August 27, 2011
Photo Source: Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
Proverbs 1:8, 9
8Hear, my son, your father’s instruction,
and forsake not your mother’s teaching,
9for they are a graceful garland for your head
and pendants for your neck.
I love how God teaches us about Himself through His word. Here we have both a father and a mother giving advise to their son, whom they love. Parents are a good gift from God; they are the people who are supposed to love you most. Your mother gives birth to you, your father helps provide for you. They both make sure you have a roof over your head and food in your belly.
Now I know that no one is perfect, parents included. You may be reading this and thinking 'My parents aren't like that at all.' I want you to know that God, through His son Jesus Christ, has adopted many as His own. Me included! If you are Christian, please bask in this truth (1 John 3)! If you are not familiar with the thought that if you are in Christ, then God is your Father, a good source to read is J.I. Packer's Knowing God, the chapter entitled 'Sons of God.' If you have been hurt by your earthly parents, trust that God, our Heavenly Father, is near to those who are brokenhearted (Psalm 34:18). He knows the number of hairs on your head, and He can be trusted.
Regardless of your relationship with your parents, it is absolutely true that those who love you, warn you. They care for your well-being.
This father and mother give both instruction and teaching; which are likened to a graceful garland and a pendant. Their faithful instruction and teaching are lavish gifts to their son! And a wise child will take heed to such guidance.
And just what are they teaching him? The difference between foolishness and wisdom (Proverbs 1:7).
Saturday, July 9, 2011
*11 Ways God Works for Us by John Piper
Friday, July 8, 2011
My Help Comes from the LORD
A Song of Ascents.1I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
2My help comes from the LORD,
who made heaven and earth.
3He will not let your foot be moved;
he who keeps you will not slumber.
4Behold, he who keeps Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
5The LORD is your keeper;
the LORD is your shade on your right hand.
6The sun shall not strike you by day,
nor the moon by night.
7The LORD will keep you from all evil;
he will keep your life.
8The LORD will keep
your going out and your coming in
from this time forth and forevermore.
15"Therefore they are before the throne of God,
and serve him day and night in his temple;
and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence.
16They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore;
the sun shall not strike them,
nor any scorching heat.
17For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd,
and he will guide them to springs of living water,
and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes."
Friday, July 1, 2011
I have made it a habit to use thank you notes and birthday cards as bookmarks. It feels like I’m "saving" a kind thought by practical use.
Well, lo and behold, after picking up A Severe Mercy, by Sheldon Vanauken again, I came across the above card! It’s from a dear friend, probably 3 birthday’s ago. She has moved to
How cool is that?
Saturday, June 25, 2011
James 1:2Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,
3for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.
4And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
I think this may sound weird, but bear with me. Why is it that when someone is going through a trial, we don’t tell them to "count it all joy?" You lost your job? Praise the Lord! Your illness is back? Great is His faithfulness! Struggling through fill-in-the-blank? You should be so JOYFUL right now!
Trust me, I don’t think this is easy to do. And done in the wrong way could be disastrous. Much discernment is needed, and the word of God should be central in the conversation. But I was jarred a few months ago, when I said to a friend – who had struggled with singleness, but had gotten married and pregnant before their first year was over – “wow, God is so faithful to you!” And yes, I was able to tell her that He was faithful during those years that she struggled. But just not in the same way as I did when He had so sweetly answered her prayers.
So yes, He was (and still is) faithful to her. Just as He had been every day of her life. Just as He had been with me through my unemployment; as He is now through ongoing migraine issues. Faithful.
But back to my first (weird) point. As I read the Holy Spirit inspired words of James, I see that:
1) He is telling believers (my brothers), to count it all joy when;
2) We meet various kinds of trials.
1) Our faith is being tested so that;
2) Steadfastness (perseverance, NIV) can be produced.
Why would we want steadfastness/perseverance in our faith?
1) So that that steadfastness/perseverance in our faith will take its full effect (finish it's work NIV), therefore;
2) We may be perfect (mature, NIV) and complete, lacking in nothing.
Count it all joy? When I meet trials? Really? YES! Why? Because your faith is being tested. But why? Why is it being tested? Because the testing produces steadfastness/perseverance in your faith. So what, why should I care? I don't want to be tested! So that steadfastness/ perseverance will have its full effect/finish it's work, which is that we may be perfect/mature and complete, lacking in nothing.
What does it mean to be perfect/mature and complete, lacking in nothing? The only thing I can think of is that when we are glorified. When we are finally with Him. Without sin. Perfectly and completely made like His Son. Home.
Going further: God uses trials to test our faith, and when put to the test, we must turn to God (James 1:5-8) when we don't know what to do. We must have faith that when we ask, He will give us wisdom. We must be humble enough to know that we can't do it on our own. He wants us to realize our utter dependence on Him.
It seems to me that these "various kinds of trials" are the means by which God prepares us for glory.
We Christians are strange creatures, are we not? Born in sin, saved by His grace. But still not seeing the point. This life that we live in this fallen world is brief. It is fleeting. We are in the wilderness, making our way Home. And this life is not all about us. Not all about comfort or "good things" (which, let's face it, are really just things that we want). This life is readying us for Heaven. To be in perfect relationship with God, which is what we were created for. And all for His glory. Our good, yes, but ultimately for His glory. And He knows what "our good" is so much better than we do.
Hopefully when a dear friend in Christ is going through a trial, I will be able to point him or her to the words of James. Count it all joy! Trust the Lord through this. You are being prepared for glory.
We Rest on Thee lyrics:
We rest on Thee, our Shield and our Defender!
We go not forth alone against the foe;
Strong in Thy strength, safe in Thy keeping tender,
We rest on Thee, and in Thy Name we go.
Yea, in Thy Name, O Captain of salvation!
In Thy dear Name, all other names above;
Jesus our Righteousness, our sure Foundation,
Our Prince of glory and our King of love.
We go in faith, our own great weakness feeling,
And needing more each day Thy grace to know:
Yet from our hearts a song of triumph pealing,
“We rest on Thee, and in Thy Name we go.”
We rest on Thee, our Shield and our Defender!
Thine is the battle, Thine shall be the praise;
When passing through the gates of pearly splendor,
Victors, we rest with Thee, through endless days.
Words: Edith G. Cherry, circa 1895.
Music: Finlandia, Jean Sibelius, 1899
* blogged after praying this morning "all that matters is that You love me." John 3:16
Friday, June 3, 2011
Have decided to study Proverbs during my quiet times (with occasional breaks back to Leviticus). After studying Proverbs 31 for awhile, decided to get to the whole book!
Zeroed in on 1:1-7.
Verse 1 - The opening: these are the proverbs of Solomon*, son of David, the very king of
Verse 2 - To know - wisdom** and instruction. To understand - words of insight.
Verse 3 - To receive - instruction in wise dealing (in righteousness, justice, and equity).
Verse 4 - To give - prudence to the simple. Knowledge and understanding to the youth.
Whoa. These reflect RESPONSIBILITY. Also, a readiness to obtain wisdom. To seek it. To learn from it. And to use it to help others.
Who does this, and how does he/she go about it?
Verse 5 - The wise hear and increase in learning. The one who understands obtainsguidance.
Verse 6 - To understand proverbs and sayings. To understand the words of the wise and their riddles***.
Well, the wise person does the things in verse 2-4. But how? These last two verses made me think about hearing. And the difference between active and passive hearing. If one is actively hearing, then they will increase in learning. Passively hearing/listening? I'm thinking that person will not increase in learning. The person in verse 5 hears in such a way that increases his/her learning, and obtains guidance to understand proverbs, sayings, the word and riddles of the wise.
Verse 7 - "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction."****
Fear/reverence for the LORD is the beginning of knowledge. If you are seeking wisdom, it's where you begin. Conversely, only a fool despises wisdom and instruction. Could it be that the passive hearer is a fool? And could the all out not-ever-going-t0-listen-person be a fool, as well?
I'm looking forward into studying this further. Just jotting down some thoughts before I got to bed. Kinda sleepy thoughts, hope they make sense when I'm more awake! Definitely want to pray that by God's grace He would make me yearn to be more wise than foolish. That my heart will set towards Him and His word. That He would continue to teach me with it as He has so faithfully, lovingly, gently has. That I would rely on Christ's strength (and now my "own") as the Holy Spirit works in me.
*1 Kings 4:29 And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding beyond measure, and breadth of mind like the sand on the seashore.
**What is wisdom? See 1 Corinthians 1:18-31. Hint: it's not the wisdom that this world celebrates.
***Made me think of when the disciples asked Jesus why he spoke in parables in Matthew 13.
****Definitely made me think of the blessed man and the wicked man in Psalm 1. Not that a fool is always wicked, mind you. Just interested in the seemingly parallel.
Thursday, June 2, 2011
Borrowing a quote from Ray Ortland's blog:
“Then the church shall be brought to the full enjoyment of her bridegroom, having all tears wiped away from her eyes, and there shall be no more distance or absence. She shall then be brought to the entertainments of an eternal wedding feast, and to dwell forever with her bridegroom, yea, to dwell eternally in his embraces. Then Christ will give her his loves, and she shall drink her fill, yea, she shall swim in the ocean of his love.”
Jonathan Edwards, “The Church’s Marriage to her Sons and to her God,” in Works(
Made me think of Psalm 16:
You Will Not Abandon My Soul
A Miktam of David.
1Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
Saturday, May 28, 2011
I have since removed the donation widget, since the search is over and he has been found safe. Please continue to pray.
(dear brother in Christ who has been missing since Tuesday)
Hundreds of friends have scoured the DC metro area; handing out flyers and searching for his car. I have personally been overwhelmed by the love that our church members and others have shown in persevering in the search. I praise God that He has knitted our church body with so many people who have the wisdom, discernment - and even specific skills - with organizing the search. I praise the God who ordained these past few days is the very same God who called Matt to Himself. Who holds Matt even now in the palm of His hand and will never let Him go. I pray that Jesus Christ our Savior be glorified throughout this situation.
before the “gods” I will sing your praise.
2 I will bow down toward your holy temple
and will praise your name
for your unfailing love and your faithfulness,
for you have so exalted your solemn decree
that it surpasses your fame.
3 When I called, you answered me;
you greatly emboldened me.
4 May all the kings of the earth praise you, LORD,
when they hear what you have decreed.
5 May they sing of the ways of the LORD,
for the glory of the LORD is great.
6 Though the LORD is exalted, he looks kindly on the lowly;
though lofty, he sees them from afar.
7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
you preserve my life.
You stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes;
with your right hand you save me.
8 The LORD will vindicate me;
your love, LORD, endures forever—
do not abandon the works of your hands.
(This psalm will be preached tomorrow at our church)
Saturday, May 7, 2011
“The cross is practical, it is God moving in love to meet violent men and women, facing violence and suffering for us. Your faith was born in violence. The Christian is not scared when the whole world is shaking. Your faith was born on
Don’t imagine you can only be a Christian when everything is smooth. Christians shine better when everything is just the opposite. Your faith was born in blood and sweat in the loneliness of
Bishop Festo Kivengere, When God Moves in Revival (
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Your Throne, O God, Is Forever
To the choirmaster: according to Lilies. A Maskil of the Sons of Korah; a love song.
1My heart overflows with a pleasing theme;
I address my verses to the king;
my tongue is like the pen of a ready scribe.
2You are the most handsome of the sons of men;
grace is poured upon your lips;
therefore God has blessed you forever.
3Gird your sword on your thigh, O mighty one,
in your splendor and majesty!
4In your majesty ride out victoriously
for the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness;
let your right hand teach you awesome deeds!
5Your arrows are sharp
in the heart of the king’s enemies;
the peoples fall under you.
6Your throne, O God, is forever and ever.
The scepter of your kingdom is a scepter of uprightness;
7you have loved righteousness and hated wickedness.
Therefore God, your God, has anointed you
with the oil of gladness beyond your companions;
8your robes are all fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia.
From ivory palaces stringed instruments make you glad;
9daughters of kings are among your ladies of honor;
at your right hand stands the queen in gold of Ophir.
10Hear, O daughter, and consider, and incline your ear:
forget your people and your father’s house,
11and the king will desire your beauty.
Since he is your lord, bow to him.
12The people of
the richest of the people.
13All glorious is the princess in her chamber, with robes interwoven with gold.
14In many-colored robes she is led to the king,
with her virgin companions following behind her.
15With joy and gladness they are led along
as they enter the palace of the king.
16In place of your fathers shall be your sons;
you will make them princes in all the earth.
17I will cause your name to be remembered in all generations;
therefore nations will praise you forever and ever.
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Proverbs 6:25 - Do not desire her beauty in your heart,
and do not let her capture you with her eyelashes;
I've been thinking about that thing with the eyes. Don't worry, this isn't another flirting or flirting revisited post. It's just that I know guys who enjoy receiving that look from girls. And it's funny, because I just read a blog post about modesty that mentioned the above verse. This is what they said about it:
“She captures him with her eyelashes,” luring him with just a look (Proverbs 6:25). And for some of us, that’s all we need…a look…and we got ‘em!
The majority of the post is about dressing modestly, if you're interested here it is.
Anyway, I'm going to let you know a little bit about my heart. A few years ago I found myself giving that "look" to a guy from my church, and I think that he noticed it. Seemed to reciprocate it, too. Not long after the exchange I started to feel bad about it. Well, not bad, maybe just weird. I started thinking to myself "do I like this guy?" I mean, I would probably only ever give that look to a guy I like, right? I started to think back in my dating past; did I give that look to guys before? And I probably did give that look to guys that I liked, but I don't remember it. What I do remember is giving that "look" to a bartender when I wanted a free drink. To a bouncer when I wanted in free or when I wanted him to let me in with a fake ID. And the scary thing is that look worked almost every time. Seriously, some of my girlfriends would just watch in amazement. Most of my girlfriends were just as good at it as I was.
I came to the conclusion that I only gave that look for selfish gain. So I vowed never to give that look again, and to be especially careful with a brother in Christ that I am not in a relationship with.
As I've been studying Proverbs 31, verses 2 and 3 really strike me:
What are you doing my son? What are you doing, son of my womb? What are you doing, son of my vows? Do not give your strength to women, your ways to those who destroy kings.
This is an impassioned plea from a mother to her son (who happens to be a king). She sees the course he is taking with women and with drink, and she is entreating him to stop and think. And change.
I don't want to ever be that woman in earlier chapters of Proverbs and alluded to in Proverbs 31:2-3. I want to be that woman in the Proverbs 31:10-31. I want to be the kind of woman that a Psalm 1 (blessed) man would be interested in. :)
Random, I know. Just felt compelled to share.
Monday, April 4, 2011
Morning by morning
New mercies I see
I often start out my prayers thanking God for His new mercies, the ones that come from His endless supply. Asking for the grace to accept them humbly, knowing that I have done nothing to deserve them. This morning I prayed about the same, and was just struck by it so powerfully. The Lord has given me new mercies even this morning. How amazing is it that He has such an endless, rich supply, and every morning He gives them to me? He is not like us (thank goodness), He is not limited as to what He can do for others. He opens up His storehouse and lavishly gives. Every single morning. Without fail. I started to feel like a kid on Christmas morning, you know that moment, right as your about to run to the the tree. Except these gifts are different. They are not toys that will break or clothes that I will grow out of. These gifts are renewed every day, and carry with them the luminous splendor that only a gift straight from God can hold. They are some of the most amazing gifts I will ever receive. Like manna:
14And when the dew had gone up, there was on the face of the wilderness a fine, flake-like thing, fine as frost on the ground.
31Now the house of
New. Every single morning. Without fail. Without hesitation. Not as a reward, but a free gift. Because He loves me, and loves to provide for me. Because I am His child.
21But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
22The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
23they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
24"The LORD is my portion," says my soul,
"therefore I will hope in him."
Saturday, March 26, 2011
Photo Source (via google images search)
I'm spending a perfectly lovely (although unseasonably cold) day stuck indoors. Why, you may ask? Because of cherry blossoms. Beautiful, fleeting, symbol-of-international-relations cherry blossoms.
I have lived in DC for 5 years now and every single year, without fail, my allergies go WILD when the cherry blossoms bloom. The thought of getting near the Tidal Basin causes me to recoil in ... pain? fear? not really sure, but it is the last place I want to be.
I read a really funny post from Jon Acuff of Stuff Christians Like on why God created allergies, and did it ever hit home! Isn't if funny how nice it is to have someone else understand how you feel? Vindication, in a way.
I think my favorite is that bees need pollen - "God created allergies because honey is so fantastic." I mean, I do love me some honey!
So I'm stuck inside with my netti pot; blowing my nose and watching movies. I've read some pretty good blog posts today:
From the former: "The resurrection will change our thinking in many ways. Human identity as married or single is most certainly one of them."
And the latter: "When Christians love each other like this, that love is heaven on earth. How wonderful to realize what love’s permanence means. All Christian love between Christians will endure forever."
Then, A Love Story which is by a friend of a friend. And it's awesome.
"It is by faith from first to last, and following a list of rules or trying to “wear Saul’s armor” when you’re David the shepherd boy—dishonors God and is not of faith (thus it is sin)."
And I re-read this post from yesterday - What are we - tadpoles or tumblers?
In summary: 2 Timothy 2:7 Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything. - If we think/meditate on God's word, then by His Holy Spirit He promises to give us understanding.
Well, guess I'll get back to my day stuck indoors. Hope you are having a wonderful day, wherever you are and whatever you are doing! :)