Wednesday, January 27, 2010

you might not finish reading this blog

I was recently moved by a chapter of a book I am reading, Crazy Love by Frances Chan. The second chapter in the book is called You Might Not Finish This Chapter. A rather short chapter, but the idea it delivers is deafening to me. Chan basically wants us to realize the gravity in life that we all act like doesn't exist.

We all know that life is short. James 4:13-14 tells us that life is a vapor. But I can't help acknowledging the fact that I don't act like every single day could very well be the last day I spend dying on this earth. This could be the very day that I see my Creator face to face. This could be the day that you see Him. Even more sobering, I can't help but weep over the countless unsaved lives that are walking this earth. and this could be their last day, they could die today and never know the everlasting warmth of our Heavenly Father. They could step out of this world and into an eternity totally apart from God. It's my job - it's our jobs as followers of Christ to see that this doesn't happen. It doesn't have to.

Even still, within that same idea, we don't always live like God tells us to in His word. He commands us to redeem our time for His Glory, because the days are evil. They are evil and too short to be taken for granted. Ephesians 5:15-15 says "be careful then how you live, not as the unwise do. Make the most of every opportunity, for the days you live in are evil." This verse needs to be the face of our wristwatch. Everytime we look at what time it is - we will be alarmed of the fact that precious time and opportunities are slipping through our hands. We don't have long. We must act now. This is not a matter of convenience. We have here and now to live for the LORD. All we have is this moment.

You can't help but feel the challenge of carpe diem oozing from society. But what is it exactly that they (society) wants us to seize from this day? They don't even know. Society wants us to live for OURSELVES. The world wants us to get the most out of every moment to better ourselves, our own life, our own. I have to continuosly remind myself is that my time, talent and treasure are not mine to be greedy with!

Seizing the day is hardly concomitant with the Christian walk to the world. I found an interesting article about atheism and carpe diem going hand in hand. Once again proof of a world / society that wants us to live for ourselves. This echos the evil craftiness of the enemy. God doesn't need craftiness to figure out what to tell us to do with our time. He created the time. It's His time to guid us through.

The world wants us to think of God as come control freak that wants to take up our time and get in the way. If you have ever been desparate for God's intervention in your life - that might make you laugh.

I want to look more closely at different points in the Word where carpe diem is better defined for my life. I want to seize the day - but I cannot risk my valuable time devoted to seeking what the world wants me to do with my time.

The first theme of acting swiftly for the work of God that came to mind is Noah. Most people just know that he builds the Ark...the flood...two of each animal...blah blah blah. But if you look a little closer there is a significant couple of verses that establishes Noah's active quest in serving a God in whom he has found favor. Genesis 6:8 - "Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD" (this means that he had devoted his life to serving God and this leads to God acting in our lives.)
Genesis 6:18 - "But I will establish my covenant with you..." (this means that God wanted to build a bond - a promise, that would stand for somethine. God wanted to use Noah and his family to regenerate the human population. That is serious trust. Earned by living every day for God.)
Genesis 7:5 "And Noah did all that the LORD had commanded him" (this is the most miraculous statement in this not even the fact that God covered the entire planet with water...Noah obeyed God.

This may one of those tucked away Bible stories that we have all heard of at some point, but herein lies a hidden message. God is ALWAYS in action. As Henry Blackaby says, we should find out where God is working and JOIN him! Often I think, "ok, here I am God...I'm trying to get ____ (insert task/mission here) accomplished and it seems like you're MIA!!! Whenever you get a small moment of your enormous you think JUST MAYBE you might be able to help a daughter out!? Sheeesh!"

C'mon, like you have never gotten impatient with Him....

The secret message in the flood story is that Noah followed God into action. No questions asked. He lived according to God's word the best he could and GOD called on Him. God chose to work through our bearded friend.

Oh, how I desire to be used as well. Today. Because today is the only day that I know for certain I will have left to join God where He is working. This moment. Because this very second is a breath wasted if it's not for the Glory of God.

Friday, January 08, 2010

a cup that overflows

Shame came to mind when I realized the other day that some days I wake up on the wrong side of the bed. Ok, many days I do this. I am just not a morning person. I generally am not fully awake and ready to do anything until around 8am. This can sometimes pose problems in my schedule.

It is not ideal for me to be this way, honest! I would love to be one of those people that wake up bright and early at the crack of dawn - just ridiculously happy to be awake and alive. Sometimes I think I could be the kind that wakes up at 5:30...ok, 6am, and starts brewing the coffee, work out some pilates, greet the sunrise and spend time with the Master all before I have to get going for the day.
This is all in my ideal world. I know that it would leave me feeling more energized and awake, plus, I would be more open minded for the rest of the day, more focused on the tasks at hand.

Regardless of what time I wake up in the morning (thankfully and, both, foolishly assuming that I will...)is irrelevant to God. He just wants my time, MORNING, NOON and NIGHT. He wants to bless me abundantly with His presence in my life. For this, I am thankful and undeserving. It just astounds me to know that God of all creation wants to spend quality time with me. No matter how many times I say it, I will repeat in constant praise and adoration that HE is a Wonderful Savior. Hallelujah!

So, this will not necessarily be a "new year's resolution" as much as it will be a daily resolution (because it will be a DAILY choice). I hereby, being of sound spiritual mind (at the moment anyway), determine and promise to make the most effort of my ability to wake each morning (regardless of what time) and have a set apart time to devote to meditating on Him. This should be separate from my daily Bible studying - or even my prayer request time. No, this time is just for simply sitting in utter adoration of Him and who He is. Colossians 1:16 says, "For all things were created by God. These things in heaven and earth were created for Him and by Him." Wow, this means that they were not created by or for me. So, I need to quit saying thank you for the sunrise and start saying thank you for creating the sunrise and inviting me to see your wonders. Thank you God, for including me in your creation. For involving me in your plans. For being as vast and unknowable that all I can do is sit in ridiculous AWE struck wonder over your majesty.

My words can't compare to what God is. I can't compare to what God is. All I can be is thankful. All I can do is give Him the praise that He deserves and desires.

For this opportunity I wake up each morning and know that He has chosen to share His mighty presence to my existence. He chooses to give me a cup that OVERFLOWS with love for Him.

From this understanding we are granted a component of faith. This is JOY. Understanding that we are to be in constant exaltation of His presence is what gives us JOY - and not just Joy, I'm talking so much Joy people think you are crazy. This kind is what spills over (the image of a cup that overflows..) It is infectious at it's best and still obvious at it's worst (if there is a low point of Joy). This overabundance of what enables us to share, love, give, care, tithe, donate, serve, testify, believe, hope, endure, sacrifice...

Somehow, this topic just leads me to Psalm 23. And a Sunday School lesson I have experienced.

Verse 1: The Lord is my shepherd, I Shall not want. - This means I have enough trust in Him to provide me with what I don't even realize I don't deserve.

Verse 2: He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters. - I can fully rely on Him to calm every ounce of resistance inside of me. I KNOW that he will abate my fears and anxiety and call me to rest in Him.

Verse 3: He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake. - He clean all the junk and the funk out of my mind, heart and soul. Because He calls me His daughter HE wipes away the miry clay that I continually and foolishly make my bed and He puts me back on the right track. Everyday.

Verse 4: Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. - Ok, this is a big one...don't miss it. I walk through the valley of the shadow of death. And so do you. We all do, we are all dying. We live in dying bodies. We roam a dying earth. And thank God he will restore His Bride one day. BUT until then. We are to acknowledge death and face it. Kind Solomon told us that it is better to be among the mourners than the living happy folk. He says that we should understand death and face it. This is how we understand the vaporous quality of our life. Now, with this being said - death is a scary thing, it is the unknown. But really it isn't...we just established that we walk through it every day. So fear NO evil. HE IS WITH US!!! He has power and dominion that even the enemy cannot stand up against. He slams His gravel-like staff in the face of death. Why? He shows His almighty power over us and His ability to protect us from the valley of the shadow of death.

Verse 5: You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. - Wow, He wants us to be the guest of honor? How thoughtful, really. Think of when you have guests come visit. You pull out all the stops. They get the best of everything: bathroom towels, bed-sheets, fluffy pillows, the best dishes, etc. The Maker of Heaven and Earth wants to know that regardless of what our enemies throw at us - He has a special place (with all the best of the best) prepared for us to seek His presence and shelter. He gives us His finest. He gives us enough of what we need, more than enough. The least we can do is Honor Him with everything we have in us. The very least.

6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the LORD Forever. - All for the glory of Jesus, we will be surrounded with goodness and mercy. He wants us to bring Him glory. This is where we find goodness and mercy. Oh, to see His goodness and mercies that are new each morning - it sometimes makes me feel like Isaiah...I am a person of unclean lips and not worthy of such a good God. I am thankful to this good God that we are promised a dwelling place in His love and presence forever. God is good, all the time.

Hallelujah, what a savior.

I want to leave you with a simple definition of JOY.
--the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying; keen pleasure; elation.--

Remember, that the source of this Joy thing is our Heavenly Father. He is Jehovah-Jireh: the LORD that provides enough for each day. He provides us this Joy. It is found in Him. Each day start out asking the LORD to be your Jehovah-Jireh. He wants us to receive a cup that overflows with the Joy of the Lord.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Discovering Ephesians 5:8: my early "during" years.

Ephesians 5:8 "For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light."

Every Believer has a testimony. Even if, like me, you asked Jesus into your heart at a very young age. We have a before and an after. Except there is something in between the before and the after...there is a during. This is our life on earth with Jesus in our heart. This is the learning time. After is revealed the day we walk through Heaven's door. We were a living in sin - destined to a fate of death. We are still sinners, but now we are sinners saved by God's Grace through Faith in Jesus Christ. One day we will be living in Glory. Alive in Him forever.

When I was in second grade at Gardena Valley Christian School (thanks mom and dad), I was blessed to have a teacher named Mrs. Morgan who made it her mission to plant the very powerful seed of the Gospel into each student's life. She spoke of God and His plans for us often. She always made it a point to allow us very young children to develop a sense of Who God was. Towards the end of the year she spent an entire morning describing to us the image of Jesus knocking on the door to our heart.

I remember I literally had a picture of Jesus (about the size of Tinkerbell) standing on a little golden front door mat, placed perfectly infront of a heart-shaped door. There He was, just a knocking away. According to Mrs. Morgan, He was on the outside. He was locked out of my heart and my life. He wanted in so badly, He wanted to change my heart and make it new. He wanted to make sure He took my heart with Him to Heaven one that I would not be alone anymore.

I believed this with my entire being. Sitting there - such a small little girl in a big world - something moved inside of me. I trusted that without me making the real decision to open the door to my heart and asking Jesus into my heart, my life and my mind - I would never have Him, and He would never have me. He would never get to show me the special room that He promised to prepare for me. So with that image of Jesus in my head, I closed my eyes. Drowning out the others around me, blurring the faint sound of Mrs. Morgan's guided prayer, I did something for the first time. I spoke inside my head, but for the first time, it wasn't to myself. I felt a connection that was never there before. I was speaking to Someone else. And I felt heard.

I spoke to Him. I told Him that I wasn't sure why I needed Him, well I wasn't quite sure for the reason that I needed Him yet. I knew I needed Him. I told Him that I couldn't live another day without Him. I told Him that I felt terrible thinking about all of the sins I had lived with. I begged Him to take them away and to help me forget them. I thanked Him for wanting to live in my heart. I told Him that I thought it was the coolest thing that He had been my age at one time - and that He must know all of the things that I go through. (yea, because I really had been through life at that point...) I told him that I was so excited to get to know Him and that this is way better than an imaginary friend or playing with toys.

Yes, I talked to the whole time. But in hindsight I now know that it's ok. He had a whole lot of work to do anyway. He listened. He let me get to know Him. He knew me so well already anyway. I would eventually learn to be still and listen to Him.

This was my before...leading into my during.

Fast forward a couple of years, a couple of mistakes and a couple of lessons later...

I am now starting middle school. I have been introduced to whole world of sin since my days of asking Jesus into my heart. Temptation has occured. I have even bitten the proverbial apple more than a few times. I have deviated from the great plan to live a life of Christian bliss. And quite frankly I didn't really care. It's not like I had killed anyone, done drugs, or been involved in some sexual scandalous lifestyle. For crying out loud, I was just a 12 year old kid. I had plenty of time to live before the pressures of life and sin really started to interfere.

Then I was moved one day, sitting in church. The pastor preached about some verse where some guy says that we were once in DARKNESS, but now we we are in the LIGHT of the LORD. Therefore we should live like Children of the Light. Hmmm. Interesting. It started to spark...but mostly I just didn't like to be called a child.

Quickly, as I was gettin involved in the youth group, I started getting to know other people who lived a Christian life. I also met people that did not. I met one girl that was a couple of years older than me...and I noticed something about her. Every single time I saw her at church - she was crying her eyes out talking about how she has just come back to Jesus and that she has been reconciled with Him...again. and again. and again. This is the beginning of my hate relationship with luke warmness. I came to a point where all I wanted to do was live like a child of the light.

Over the next couple of years, I went back and forth. I apparently had to live like a lukewarm Christian to fully understand my hatred for it...I made a few mistakes. Specifically dating wise. I guess I just mission dated, mission friended. I thought I was a strong enough Christian so that I could be "all things to all people" and not allow their lifestyle affect me and my lifestyle. Wrong. The strength is not in me.

It was not until crossing over into my Sophomore year of Highschool did I realize that Ephesians 5:8 was more of a daily effort. It is a daily choice. Every morning I have to wake up and figure out for myself, using the strenght of my Deliverer, that I must be no longer of the darkness, but to let in the light of the LORD.

Even though I am still in the journey of my during, I am enjoying all the things that Adonai is showing to me. Ephesians 5:8 still has an impact on my daily walk. I discover a little more about it every day.

Monday, January 04, 2010


Faith is a cliff dive. We don't realize that it's just water, waiting to consume us. Drown us in faith Lord. We need more of it and more of You.

this song's lyrics make me think of a time that many Christians experience through his or her walk. a season called "this is what I feel right after something happens to shake my faith, but right before I realize the undeniable providence of God:"

"Please speak softly, for they will hear us
And they'll find out why we don't trust them
Speak up dear cause I cannot hear you
I need to know why we don't trust them

Explain to me this conspiracy against me
And tell me how I've lost my power

Where can I turn? Cause I need something more
Surrounded by uncertainties I'm so unsure of
Tell me why I feel so alone cause I need to Know to whom do I owe

Explain to me this conspiracy against me
And tell me how I've lost my power

I thought that we'd make it
Because you said that we'd make it through
And when all security fails
will you be there to help me through

Explain to me this conspiracy against me
And tell me how I've lost my power

I've lost my power"

Sometimes we forget that He doesn't leave us. Even for a second. He is on our side. He is warrioring for us. He died for us. He conquered death for us. He ROSE FROM THE GRAVE and conquered the enemy for us. For us. For me.

There is no conspiracy. There is no alterior motive. That is the enemy's job. God doesn't trick us into falling into Him. He goes the extra mile to get us to realize that we need Him. And we need Him.

Job had it right on the money when he realized, (Job 9) "But how can a mortal be righteous before God? 3 Though one wished to dispute with him, he could not answer him one time out of a thousand. 4 His wisdom is profound, his power is vast. Who has resisted him and come out unscathed? 5 He moves mountains without their knowing it and overturns them in his anger. 6 He shakes the earth from its place and makes its pillars tremble. 7 He speaks to the sun and it does not shine; he seals off the light of the stars. 8 He alone stretches out the heavens and treads on the waves of the sea. 9 He is the Maker of the Bear and Orion, the Pleiades and the constellations of the south. 10 He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted."

It is a miraculous pleasure that we must delight in our Creator, Redeemer, Father. He is above all things and our minds can never reach His mind. (Isaiah 55:8). All we can do is sit back and enjoy the splendor of His majesty, then JUMP up and go share with as many people as possible that this God thing is not a Conspiracy. It is a Love worth living.

Matthew 28:16-20