Tuesday, July 27, 2010

God's Awesome

I just recently moved back out to Lake Stevens, WA. I was here for just over a year about a year ago for a youth ministry internship and left to go back home for just about another year. As I've moved back out here I've been praying that God would reveal Himself to me and kind of refresh my faith in Him. Sometimes things can get kind of dull or mundane and I can kind of lose sight of who God is. I can think of at least three ways that God has been answering that prayer.

The first is in creation. If you're not familiar with the sights of Lake Stevens, WA let me explain them to you a little bit. The town is surrounded by mountains. None of them are super close, like in the backyard, but some are within just a short drive and on most days it is possible to see Mount Ranier to the South and Mount Baker, I think to the North. They stand out because they are both massive, snow covered mountains but even closer than both of them are a bunch of other mountains that create a backdrop to the town which is known fo the lake that people find much time to relax on and enjoy during the few summertime days out here. The area is gorgeous, but what really struck me as awesome was when I was walking the other night. I went out the front door turned right and began walking down the hill I live on. In the distance I saw some gorgeous mountains. I got to the bottom of the hill and turned right again. Through the trees about a half a mile away I saw a beautiful view of the lake. Both wowed me. As I met up with a couple of people we continued on toward the lake and as we began to walk beside it we turned a corner and their was a full moon coming up just over the mountains. It was absolutely awesome. Needless to say seeing those things that night and the view I had of the Puget Sound at a park yesterday and just kind of left me on awe of who this awesome Creator-God is that loves us so much.

The second way that God has been answering that prayer has been through other people. I have been praying some pretty specific prayers about things going on in my life and God has been answering those prayers through the words of those around me.

The third way that God has answered that prayer is through His Word. Now, you might be thinking to yourself, "Duh, of course He reveals Himself to us in His Word," but I have just kind of been reminded of how the Scriptures reveal to us who God is and as we study them we get to know Him better. It has been good for me to read them and to be filled with the truth.

All of this to say what? That God is awesome and faithful to answer our prayers. Yes, certainly, but as I've thought about how God has answered my prayer I am reminded of two things. One, that He wants us to know who He is, and two, that when we pray according to His will our prayers will be answered and we will receive that which we are seeking.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Immutable God

I'm going to be honest, reading through the Old Testament used to bore me to death. However, this past year I have found it more engaging than ever! The stories just blow me away. It amazes me how time and time again God showed His power, might, and faithfulness to His children.

One of my favorite stories is when God leads the Israelites through the desert, especially when Joshua takes over. Can you imagine what Joshua must have felt? The leader of the entire Hebrew people who had lead them against Pharaoh and out of Egypt for so long was suddenly gone. In my mind, it would have been so easy for Joshua to give up, but instead He chose to follow God's plan. I'm sure these things did occur to him at one moment though, as God assured him in Joshua 1:5 "No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you."

Did you catch that?

"Just as I was with moses, I will be with you."

When I read that verse I was astonished. Suddenly it hit me that our God is the same exact God that that lead the Israelites through the Red Sea, the same God that brought water from a rock, the same God that brought down fire on a wet offering on the top of a mountain for Elijah. In my mind, it can't seem possible that the One that I pray to could really be the same as the One who heard the cries of David. Hebrews 13:8 reassures that though, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." He really is the same God that could handle everything back then! How then could He not handle the minor trials that we face each day?

He's the same God of the Old Testament and the same God that is all worthy of our praise and trust today!

Friday, July 23, 2010

"I am with you..."

"You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth,

And called from the its remotest parts

And said to you, 'You are My servant,

I have chosen you and not rejected you.

Do not fear, for I am with you;

Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.

I will strengthen you, surely I will help you,

Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand."

Isaiah 41:9-10

Have you ever had one of those moments where you cry out to God to give you something, anything to hold on to to help you stay afloat? Well this is one of those nuggets God used to remind me of His promise and His faithfulness. I have clung so tightly to it ever since. I thought He was taking away everything that I He ever gave me; every opportunity, every desire, every change of heart.

Recently, I have been struck down with an illness that the doctors cannot understand or fix. It has taken me away from the beautiful mountains and opportunities in Arizona to the green lands and family filled Wisconsin. At first, being bedridden was a blessing, a time to rest and refresh my body from lost sleep. But now, knowing that it may be a long while before I can go back to doing what I love, it is as if my heart has been broken into a million little pieces. I don't understand why. This was definitely not part of my plans.

However, God has graciously turned away those selfish thoughts, and brought closer to my heart His promises. He knows the plans He has for me - He intends them for good, and through them He gives me a future I can't even imagine, and He gives me a stronger hope. He has given me every blessing - I am thankful for every moment of them.

God is able to do far more than I can imagine, and He does it in ways I don't necessarily understand. But He is not distant...He is with me, and that is all I need. He comforts, He loves, He carries.

Though this small portion of my life seems unfair and I don't understand it, God has given me a peace about it and a reason to keep persevering every day. He has turned my focus back on Him, rather than what I was doing. My life was becoming my god rather than the reason that I live.

Because of Him, I can say "The LORD's lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness." I pray that as the Body of Christ we would never loose sight of His promises, for they are O so precious!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

God's timing

As I write this my dad and I are in the car on our way to Southern California. Its raining and there’s some seriously awesome lighting in the Nebraska sky. Shawn McDonald is in the background singing about how Christ died that I might live and that He knows my name. I am struck in this moment by how I can not be less than in awe of our God!
It’s been a crazy past seven days. I wont bore you with the details, but I’ll just say it’s been hectic. Friday I went to pick up my cousin from his house so a few of us cousins could hang out. As I entered the house and asked him how he was it was immediately apparent that something was wrong. His eyes were red and his answer went from “I’m ok” to “Well I’m not ok, but I don’t want to talk about it right now.” Ten minutes later he poured the whole story out to me. After years of alcohol and drug abuse he has hit rock bottom and is finally admitting he has a problem. Its a big step for him and an answer to our prayers.
God always times things so perfectly. My cousin needed family that night. We were a safe haven, people who love him unconditionally and able to just love him in the midst of what he is going through. I know God loves him, but he feels hopeless and far from God right now. God knew that this week when I asked him to hang out he would need us that night.
Right now to me its such a testimony of God’s faithfulness. God is reminding me of the importance of prayer. And of course I have to place all my trust in God and rely on Him. My cousin is in His loving hands. 
“ I kneel before the Father” and I cling to the Word that comes from Ephesians that He: “is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think” 
Please pray for my cousin. He is currently applying to Teen Challenge and seeking help. Please pray he gets the help he needs. Please pray Jesus transforms his heart and that he finds hope and salvation in Christ.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Every Opportunity

VBS is here! VBS is here!

The arrival of VBS and the Cornerstone team is almost like Christmas. I just get giddy when I think about the ministry, fun, and fellowship that encompasses Vacation Bible School. On Sunday, as the team members shared a puppet skit, introduced themselves to the congregation, and gave a testimony of faith, I couldn't help but remember the days in which I longed to be one of them. I couldn't wait to be a student at AFLBS, where I would study the enduring Word of God verses ridiculous geometry equations. I imagined myself as a summer team member - jumping wildly while singing "The Hippo Song", teaching children about our incredible Savior Jesus Christ, meeting believers all across the country . . . The time came and, before I even realized it -

It was done. I graduated from AFLBS, served my last ten weeks on a summer team. Years of dreaming and anticipation so quickly licked up by time.

I contemplated this on Sunday morning. For two summers, I served on a summer missions team - 10 weeks each summer. That means total, I served 20 weeks as a summer team member.

20 weeks. That's not even a whole year. Or even half of a year.

As the truths hit me in the forehead like the stone hit Goliath, I recalled a passage of Scripture in which we are exhorted to be ". . . making the most of every opportunity" (Colossians 4:5). Every opportunity, regardless of whether you are in a "spotlight" ministry position or the "coveted" ministry position. So often we look forward to specific ministry opportunities - such as serving on a AFLBS summer team or traveling with a group to a designated mission field. How many ministry opportunities do we miss right here, in our own neighborhoods? In our own schools? In our workplaces?

"Therefore, be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is." (Ephesians 5:15-17). "God our Savior . . . desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." (1 Timothy 2:3-4)

May the Lord find us faithfully serving Him where we are - not always looking forward to a time to come. Every where He places us should be a ministry position, an opportunity to share the love of Jesus. Dear brothers and sisters, let us not waste our time.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

God's Riches

"For you are a people holy to the Lord your God, and the Lord has chosen you to be a people for His chosen possession, out of all the people who are on the face of the earth" -Deuteronomy 14:2

Have you ever realized that God chose you? Earlier in Deuteronomy this verse is said in chapter 7, but instead of "chosen" it reads "treasured". God calls YOU His treasured possession. The dictionary definition of treasured is to hold or keep as precious.

I don't feel like saying much on this, so just give yourself some time to think about that today. God views you as a treasure, something to value, to hold close.

Friday, July 16, 2010


Hey guys
I'm just about on my way out the door to go camping for the weekend. Oh, and scuba diving. I took a class at school last semester and this weekend I'm going diving up by Crosby (MN) to get my certification. Not gonna lie, I'm really pumped for it. It's one of the coolest things I've done. So I titled this B-e-a-utiful not because I'm a big Jim Carrey fan, but rather because I'll be spending a week in, above, and below God's gorgeous creation. Seeing what God put at the bottom of a lake is at the top of my list for this weekend. While you might not have the opportunity to go diving or camping, God's creation is everywhere. So whether it's driving to church on Sunday or watching the British Open at St. Andrew's on tv, take your time and admire what God built just for us.
Until next week,


"For You light my lamp;

The LORD my God illumines my darkness"

(Psalm 18:28)

I will never forget an illustration I heard in a sermon once a few months ago. The pastor was remarking how darkness never covers up light, but light always covers up darkness. Take for instance a closet. When you open the door of your bedroom closet, which doesn't have a light, the bedroom doesn't get dark, but the closet does get light.

The illustration, of coarse, goes along with the fact that God is light, and darkness is light to Him. Just think and marvel on that simple, but yet powerful character of God. How does He bring light to your darkness, and to those around you?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Consider Jesus

Do you ever feel swamped? Involved in so much, so busy, that there hardly seems to be a moment for yourself? And when there are a few spare moments, they quickly get gobbled up by some activity or another. When I have a day off from work and I'm not doing something - laundry, cleaning, meeting with a student from youth group, working on VBS material, reading over a Bible study book - I almost feel lazy, like I'm not using my time wisely. Here in America, I believe that we define our importance by our busyness. The more involved we are, the more important we are. The more activities we partake in, the more people look at us in appreciation. The more we do, the better we feel.

A wise man, Pastor Kirk Flaa, once said, "I am concerned that in our busyness with good things, we often lose sight of the best and most important thing - Jesus Christ. There too we must always be a people of priority, and never allow the temporal things to grow more important than the eternal."

It's so easy for us to lose sight, isn't it? Even in our church/ministry related activities. It's hard to know where the line is; the line between saying yes to a great ministry opportunity and realizing that we can't do it all. There is an abundance of good things to be involved in - but far too often, we immerse ourselves in the good things but forget the One we are doing them for.

The author of Hebrews writes, "Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession . . ." (3:1). Consider Jesus. Consider this Man, not mere man, but God Himself in human flesh. Consider Him who gave His life as a propitiation - as payment - for our sins. Consider this Man who has rendered Satan himself powerless. Consider this Man who is merciful and faithful. Consider this Man who is our High Priest, who experienced every temptation that we ever face so that He can come to our aid in time of need.

Consider Jesus.

How often do we do that? Sure, we may consider Jesus during our daily devotional time . . . and then leave Him there. Do we consider Jesus as we stock shelves or wait on customers at our jobs? Do we consider Jesus as we fold laundry and clean toilets? Do we consider Jesus as we teach Sunday School or youth group? Do we consider Jesus when we decide what movie to watch or when we're making nightly plans?

Dear friend, do not give up your work for the kingdom of God. Time is short and our Savior is coming again soon. But as you labor for the Kingdom, partaking in many good things, do not take your eyes off of Jesus. As we strive to bring the LORD glory, may we be found faithfully "fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith" (Hebrews 12:2).

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Where are you going?

"I'm going home, I'm going home, I am so happy I'm going home!"

This was the song my four year old nanny girls were singing while reading a book last week. They have a story called "A Squirrel's Tale" with a squirrel that slides through slots in the pages all the way to the end, when it reaches it's home. I had asked them where the squirrel was going and how it got there, but they only answered with this little jingle. Looking at the book I noticed there were many pages that took the squirrel through some sticky situations and a handful of nice ones as well, but the girls were only interested in the end result.

This was a clear picture to me of how our lives should look. As the girls were focused on getting home, we too should have a mindset that only strives for our true home with the Lord. Matthew 6:19-21 says, "Do not lay up for yourself treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also". If we are chosing to invest our time, energy, and resources on the present, we will be in a for a shock when everything we have gained in this world is left behind. I once heard a joke that a man pleaded with God to bring a suitcase to heaven with him and God allowed him, so he sold all of his possessions and packed pure gold. When he got to the gates of heaven he was asked to show what he brought and the angels asked themselves why he brought pavement. Nothing on this earth will be of any importance when we get to heaven!

Colossians 3 says "If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on the earth". Are you living for the moment and chosing to focus on what you can get here? Or are you like the squirrel and keeping your eye on the end prize?

In Matthew 6:33 it says, "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." When we are actively pursuing God and striving towards heaven as our finish line, nothing on earth will matter. All of the sticky situations that the squirrel encountered only made being home all the sweeter! How much more will heaven be for us?

One of my favorite hymns is "When We See Christ". The chorus goes as such: It will be worth it all when we see Jesus. Life's trials will seem so small when we see Christ. One glimpse of His dear face all sorrow will erase. So bravely run the race till we see Christ.

What is your goal right now? To be promoted in work? To achieve a 4.0 GPA? To get married to the hunk next door? Or is it to run the race to Christ with all of your might?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

What's your status?

Psalm 19:14 has been a long time favorite verse of mine. It says, "May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer."

Last week in our youth group girl's Bible study we spent some time discussing what some of our greatest temptations are. I shared that one of my greatest struggles are my words: careless words, unkind words, words of gossip... It's a temptation I have to continually be aware of, safe guard myself from and when I fail ask forgiveness for. But with our words is a deeper root issue, an attitude of the heart. Our words are the fruit of our hearts.

Jesus addressed this issue very seriously in Matthew 12:33-37.
33 “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. 34 Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 35 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. 36 But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. 37 For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
As the meditation of my heart is upon the Word of God, the words out of my mouth become much more pleasing to the Lord.

I want to share this devotional "The Blogger's Prayer" from Planet Wisdom today because the author hit it right on the mark.

I was challenged after our Bible study last week to memorize more scripture. My first verse to memorize is Romans 10:17 "So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ." I want God's Word to be what is continually in my mind and heart. When I go to speak I want His Word to be what flows out of me.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Hopefully Heaven

So, I'm on a bus headed out to Washington state right now and I am just completely stoked that this is a wi-fi hot spot.  I knew that some buses were but I didn't think that any of mine would be.  Pretty cool, huh?  I certainly think so.

Enough about the bus though, which I thoroughly enjoy being on by the way.  I would just like to briefly touch on the subject of heaven.  Not so much when are we going to get there, for God only knows that day and hour, :) but how awesome it is going to be when we do get there.  We were created for a Paradise, and for those of us who know Christ, who have been born again, we have been given the hope of Heaven.  (side note: as I am writing this I am listening to the music on my iPod in shuffle mode and the song "Way To the Father" by the Harvest Worship Band came on, which is a song about Christ being the only way to the Father and those who know the truth having the hope of heaven.  It's a sweet song; you should check it out of you can.). My former pastor just recently began a series of sermons on the topic of heaven and I have thoroughly enjoyed listening to it.  I am saddened by the fact that I will no longer be able to hear anymore of them.  One thing I  am glad that he mentioned is that this is a literal place that we will go to and that we are going to be having an eternal wedding feast.  What exactly does that mean?  I don't know, but it sure sounds cool.  

I really don't have much to say, but the thought of one day going to heaven can be such an encouragement to us I am hoping that you can be encouraged this day, knowing that if you are in Christ, you have the hope of one day going to Heaven, and it's going to be awesome.

Check it out:

1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.
2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.
4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away."
5 And he who was seated on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new." Also he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true."
6 And he said to me, "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment.
7 The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son.
8 But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death."
9 Then came one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues and spoke to me, saying, "Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb."
10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God,
11 having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal.
12 It had a great, high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel were inscribed-
13 on the east three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates.
14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
15 And the one who spoke with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city and its gates and walls.
16 The city lies foursquare, its length the same as its width. And he measured the city with his rod, 12,000 stadia. Its length and width and height are equal.
17 He also measured its wall, 144 cubits by human measurement, which is also an angel's measurement.
18 The wall was built of jasper, while the city was pure gold, clear as glass.
19 The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every kind of jewel. The first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald,
20 the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst.
21 And the twelve gates were twelve pearls, each of the gates made of a single pearl, and the street of the city was pure gold, transparent as glass.
22 And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb.
23 And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.
24 By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it,
25 and its gates will never be shut by day-and there will be no night there.
26 They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations.
27 But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb's book of life.
                                                 Revelation 21

Monday, July 5, 2010

Instead of a Show

Ahh . . . the day after the 4th of July. If you're anything like me, you enjoyed a day of sunshine, lake, friends, family, and food. Oh, and of course - fireworks. Who doesn't love a good fireworks show? One where the entire sky is lite up in bright hues of red, yellow, blue and white. One that sparkles with each explosion. One that makes you squeal with delight even though you're a young adult. A good fireworks show is a good deal.

Last night as I lay in the grass, thinking "Man, I like shows", I couldn't help but think of a song by Jon Foreman entitled "Instead of a Show". If you can, take five minutes to listen to the song before reading on:

In Amos 5:21-24, the LORD declares - "I hate, I reject your festivals, nor do I delight in your solemn assemblies. Even though you offer up to Me burnt offerings and your grain offerings, I will not accept them; and I will not even look at the peace offerings of your fatlings. Take away from Me the noise of your songs; I will not even listen to the sound of your harps. But let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream."

It's easy to put on a show, isn't it? Easy to put on a mask both before the Lord and before people. Easy to pretend that we are oh-so-holy. Easy to quickly condemn others. Easy to see that itty bitty speck in our brother's eye.

Jesus says in Luke 6:32-35 - "'If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. If you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners in order to receive back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men'".

My challenge to both you and I is to take a solid look at the things we are involved in. Are we in them so that men will applaud us? Do we crave the attention of mortals? Or are we serving the Lord alone? When we sing praises in church are we singing because it is expected of us? Are we letting our faith be lived out in the streets of our cities and towns? What are we doing for those who cannot stand for themselves?

May the Lord find us faithful in His work, busy making a people prepared for the Lord while we are here rather than a people obsessed with putting on a "good show".

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Don't be in Such a Hurry...

All of my life I've waited to be an "adult". I thought it was going to be the coolest thing in the world! However, the older I get the more I realize it's not as glamorous as I once thought it'd be. One thing that pointed this out to me this week was at when one of my nanny girls got strep throat and came home with the delicious, pink bubble gum medicine. After being with her all week I too came down with strep and was looking forward to the medicine; I remembered loving it when I was young! I knew I had it when I went to the doctor, but was in for a sad outcome when the doctor gave me my prescription: pills. Suddenly, I wished I could be 4 years old again. Things seemed easier then.

Looking back these past few years I realize that I should have just been patient and been content with where I was in life. But so often in my life I'm wishing I was somewhere else: graduated, married, settled down, etc. I've complained that I'm always just waiting. But God has showed me time and time again in His Word where He tells His children to wait.

Micah 7:7 says, "But as for me, I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me." God reassures us that when we wait patiently in Him, He will hear us.

Are you waiting for something right now? Whatever it may be, God has a perfect plan. Psalm 130: 5 says, "I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His Word I hope." Find peace in His Word, find strength in His joy. (Neh 8:10) God is looking forward to blessing you with your desires, and is excited to make everything work together for good in your life.

As the old song goes, "Have patience, have patience, don't be in such a hurry. When you get inpatient, you only start to worry!" Lay your anxieties down at the feet of Christ and take Philippians 4:6-7 as your comfort.

Hey guys

Sorry, after a two week and one day hiatus - the Shada shootout (a 3 on 3 basketball tourney in Pelican Rapids) made me forget about posting... - I return with good news and great joy; because my team did all right haha, and last weekend I was out of town and had zero internet/phone service ... But anyway, thinking on the sports theme... One thing I've always been taught in sports is "never give up, never surrender." Yes, that's also a line from Galaxy Quest, which, head hung, I admit I've watched, but it is drilled into athletes of all ages. It applies to both the training and competing aspects of sports. Athletics also come into scripture - again with that magical never give up theme - for example Hebrews 1:1 (Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.) While it's great to have success on Earth, be it in sports/school/career/etc., it's far more important that we have success in the "race" that matters, the race to Heaven, if you will. As is written in the book of Acts: "I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me--the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace;" we need to focus on the task God has laid out for us.

Until next week, Matt

Friday, July 2, 2010

let it go...

I have never in my life been more thankful of the Character of comfort in God - whether that be by consolation or encouragement. But as it seems to be, we never truly understand each of His characters until we experience them in our own lives. Then He becomes more personal, and we know Him more. God comforts us in all times, especially the difficult ones. But He can't comfort us if we don't give our cares, our anxieties, our thoughts, or worries to Him. Sure we can hold on to them, but what good does that do? We can't make them go away. We can't take care of them. Only God can.

He has really impressed on me the need to let go of everything, especially my thoughts, needs, concerns, health, sins…and not just things that are affecting me right now, but everything in my life. I have noticed that when I hold on to things tightly, I clasp on to them right over my heart. And when I do that, I am not letting God into my heart to rid me of myself and become more like Him, let alone let Him take care of me. I can't become more like Him when I hold on to myself, which is the very thing that I need to get rid of.

When I let go on my own there usually are strings attached, and pretty soon I am clasping it in my hands again. But I am thankful that God gives me the strength to let go, comforts me in that time, and draws me closer to Him, which is exactly where I want and need to be.

When we give our most prized possessions, more valued thoughts, He takes care of them! He is the amazing I AM, He is everything that we need! Look at what He has done in your life, and know that He will continue to work a good work in you. As life goes on, He wraps His arms of love around us, and comforts us. And as we go though life, we are able to help others going through afflictions, but we need to keep our eyes open for them, for they may not come to us...

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (Amplified Bible)

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of sympathy (pity and mercy) and the God [Who is the Source] of every comfort (consolation and encouragement), Who comforts (consoles and encourages) us in every trouble (calamity and affliction), so that we may also be able to comfort (console and encourage) those who are in any kind of trouble or distress, with the comfort (consolation and encouragement) with which we ourselves are comforted (consoled and encouraged) by God.