Monday, November 1, 2010

This freedom...that sin...

"You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love" - Galatians 5:13.

You are free don't willingly go back to the sin. Sin only leads to death and there is no freedom in that. Instead, learn from love.

Why do we willingly walk away from love to be okay with the world?
Why do we make promises we cannot keep and tell lies that cannot be true?
Why do we devour our God's love with our selfishness?
Why do we expect Him to stay?
Why can we not accept His love?
Why must we run away?

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Romans 6:1

"What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?" - Romans 6:1

Who said anything about sin increasing the grace God gives to you? Your sin can be whipped clean but don't continue in it because you now have a clean slate. Instead, remember that you cannot serve two masters. You either serve the sin or God. It's either to sin or to God.

Either way you cannot serve sin and be happy. You will continue to want to fill the ache in you that the sine cannot fill. However, serving God fills that ache. It's like you were made to need Him, to be apart of who and what He is. But cannot turn to God only when it's good for you. There will be times where you have to change because God demands change. A human being staying as is, is a being outside the will of God. Personal growth and character is needed no matter if you think you need it or not.

Making a change...

I've been thinking about changing a lot. About the change I want to see in my life, in my family, in my country, etc.

I've realized that when you make a change in your life and you go back to what you once knew or was, you see things as though nothing as changed. How sad is that? I don't want to be waiting for life to catch up to the change God has been working through me. I want life to change with me. I want my friends and family to change and develop as they draw closer to God. I realize however that you cannot force change, but you can be the person who seeks for that change.

Recently reading in Luke 6:46-49 about the person who follow what the Lord says is someone who digs deep and lays a foundation for his house.

Being a Christian isn't easy. Deciding you want a relationship with God isn't something to take lightly. If you only listen but don't practice the Word, you're a fake. A relationship with God is just like any other relationship. You have to talk to that person, spend time with them and do things you might not enjoy. You sacrifice yourself when you have God as your Savior. You realize that there is someone bigger and more capable than you out there.

Asking Jesus to turn your life around is only the first step. If you don't follow his Word and try to dig that foundation, you are not as "saved" as you think you are.

"Saved" is such a Christian term. To me it's acknowledging that you cannot do life alone and that you need someone else, someone who is bigger than you like God, to be there with you in life. he requires change in your life. Change requires you to examine yourself and realize which parts are still you and which are God's. Working with God to lay a solid and deep foundation isn't an easy step. However, when life has a storm, you'll have something stronger to hold on to.

Sometime God uses the people around you to speak into your life and annoy you about how ugly your life is. These people could be your parents, your sister, your best friend or a random strange. Or it could be God, that inner voice that just won't go away telling you that you need to make some changes and it's not going to be easy.

Making a change is never easy but it is possible.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Giving up...

Since when has it been okay to give up, especially on your family and especially in life.

I understand life can be hard and family can be difficult but what's the point of having these things if you just end up letting them go. There's a reason you're born into your family, there's a reason why you had a rough childhood, or had everything together.

Lately, I've just been seeing how a lot of people have been dropping their arms and saying "That's it. I'm done. I can't handle you (or this) anymore. I'm gone." What's the point of being someone's sister or someone's friend and not helping them? What's the point of being a parent and not taking responsibility for your actions and for your children?

We hear a lot that missions is anywhere but here. I believe that there is someone in your family who needs to be helped, who needs to be talked to, and who needs to be loved. What's the point of sitting around and watching them on their dangerous road if you just sit back and let them go down it? It's irresponsible. You might say but you don't know what I've been through or what my life has been like or how my children are. And, honestly, I don't. But you're that person's father, mother, sister, brother, friend, uncle, distant cousin on your father's side twice removed. If you see a need and you don't address it, you're just as off as the person you're letting live that way.

Don't take this as an invitation to hit everyone you know over the head with the Word or with their faults. No, sit down. Get to know them. Talk to them. Understand them. And don't judge them. It just adds more walls for the rest of us to climb over. There's more to this life than just letting someone else do it.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Lest we forget...

Life throws you a sharp curve. It's normal. Everyone has difficulties. Everyone has hardships sometimes in their jobs, marriages, or families. But for others, it seems more often than not right when they balance the scale, write the last check, and sit in their favorite chair to watch the sunset, the door sounds a knock and there's another issue, more trouble brewing. In those moments, we forget. We forget that ultimately the bills, the worries, the issues won't matter. We'll be gone in a blink. Quicker than a fly died. Faster than your beating heart. We're through. It's not going to matter. But, we forget and that becomes the way of life.

We forget who is above it all. We forget our provider. Our creator. Our Beloved. We forget. We focus on me, us, you, them but not Him. We become our biggest concern.

I've come to realize that God is good. That He is solid. That He protects. That He is there. That He remembers. That He knows all and still loves all. He gives everything to provide and yet we take and don't thank. We forget our God.

But, He never forgets you. And He knows the bills and the troubles. He provides and you go on living.

I live in uncertainty right now. I know nothing and I can do nothing. I'm jobless but I work. I'm homeless but I have a home. I apply for work but my phone remains silent. But God doesn't forget. He has provided for me in ways I couldn't dream up and in ways you won't understand.

I have never been more vulnerable to Him. I have never been more peaceful. I'm good because my God gots me (I know. It's not correct). Life is good because God has me. And the beautiful thing - I haven't worried once. And I thank God for His peace. When I say He is my Provider, He is my Provider. There is no one else who can take His place. God isn't trumpable. He is my Provider and He is nothing less. He is the best thing in my life. Life has hardships and uncertainties but God still has life. And He is still in control. But if He didn't have control, there wouldn't be a life.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Taking up the limelight

"There is no remembrance of men of old,
and even those who are yet to come
will not be remembered
by those who follow"
- Ecclesiastes 1:11.

Today in church, my pastor at Doxa has started a study on Ecclesiastes, a study on wisdom. The way he exampled it was great. I, personally, have become sick of the 1-2-3 step formulas to have a better relationship with everyone and their mom. Formulas don't work with a relationship or even with people. They can't possibly factor in human beings into their equations. Formulas and equations work great with numbers and reactions. But not with people, not in life. We're not that simple. And we're not that predictable. (Actually, thinking about it, many people are. :)

One of the things Jimmy said today opened my eyes. Have you ever been sitting with friends and they ask you what you want to be remembered for? What do you say? Usually, it takes me awhile to come up with something. Not because I don't have dreams or work to fulfill them, but because who am I to be remembered. Sure, my friends, family, and any else who'd apply would miss me if I died, but after these people died no one will carry on my name. And why should they? I think we have this weird obsession with how important we are. We elevate ourselves to some big position. We expect people to want to remember us or to be impacted by what we do. Many times we overlook other people because we're more important. I'm not saying to stop dreaming of ending sex trafficking or hungry. Definitely, go at it. Attack those monsters, but don't overlook other people while you do it.

Whenever I'm in the middle of these types of conversations, I always have the urge to say, "I don't care. I'll be with Jesus. Celebrating Him. As long as Christ is glorified by one thing I did, my name doesn't have to be known." But, I never have the courage to say it. Maybe because I don't want the crazed looks or the questions that follow. I wouldn't know how to answer them. I'm still trying to figure what I believe in this matter.

Think back to your ancestors. What's the name of your great grandparents? I don't even known mine. I know my family, especially my grandma Dukeman and my aunts, talk about them often. But I don't know them. It'll be that way with us someday. We're easily forgotten people. But that doesn't stop us from hoping we'll get the one line in the history book.

Honestly, my legacy doesn't matter. In the whole scheme of things, I'll just be another rotting corpse in the ground. I don't want to be remembered or praised.

Whatever I do, may it be for the glory of God. I'd rather have God glorified 30 more years than me taking up the limelight.

Friday, September 17, 2010

This limiting fear...

How limiting is your fear?

Fear can be defined in two ways by The first way is to be afraid or frightened of something which is usually danger. The second way is to be uneasy or apprehensive about something causing fear to rise up in your mind, body or spirit.

When I usually think of fear, I think of physically being shaken by a people, an event, etc. But fear is more complex than how I look at it. But there is a different type of fear than what I immediately think of.

It's the fear that keeps you locked where you. It could be the fear of rejection which leads to no close relationships. It could be the fear of being abandoned so you cling to anyone who gives you the time of day. Fear can do so much to us, but the biggest thing it does is stop us. It removes our dreams and aspirations. We no longer dream. We no longer try in life. We just exist.

What are your fears? How are they stopping you? How can you deal with them?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Without a shepherd...

...After I read Hosea, I realized the master storyteller is the Almighty. Who can craft words better than He? He just gives us the ability to do what He has always been able to do. In that I find peace because I've realized I can't write without him and writing has become more than something I do, it's a piece of me...

...This came after I read Hosea 4 and 5...

Open your eyes all you people
Open them wide
see what you do to me
see the ruin that has become of you.
No longer are you thick and sweet.
No longer do your words sound clear.

Open your eyes all you people
open them wide.
Look upon yourself
for this is what I see.

Your garments fall from your bones,
stench as thick as garbage rolls from your skin.
Where have you been my child?
What have you done?
Look o'child
this is what I see.

All skin, all bone
Where has your meat gone?
Where is your bread?

Israel had gotten to a place in their sin where everyone was doing it and no one cared. Even the priests did the things. Instead of leading the people, they became followers themselves.

If leaders let the flock move them, they become the sheep too.
But the shepherd steps out and weighs the land and the danger to determine how to protect his sheep.
Because without the shepherd, the sheep walk into the wolves' mouths.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


How much longer will God have to remind us about who He is?

How much longer will He show His face to us?

How long will He pursue after us when we walk down dark paths filled with our own pleasures?

How can we stand to break His heart any further?

He never stops wanting you.

He never stops reminding you who He is.

He is the most patient Being. He has to be with people like us. We put the definition in "bouncy."

How much longer are you willing to break His heart?

*Don't wait until He walks away to wish He was still there.*

After studying the book of Hosea, this sprung in my spirit. How much longer will you make Him wait for you?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

This "Tragedy of the Unopened Gift"

A poem by Gregg Levoy entitled "The Tragedy of the Unopened Gift,"

"To sinful patterns of behavior that never get confronted and changed,
abilities and gifts that never get cultivated and deployed-
until weeks become months
and months turn into years,
and one day you're looking back on a life of
deep, intimate, gut-wrenchingly honest conversations you never had;
great bold prayers you never prayed,
exhilarating risks you never took,
sacrificial gifts you never offered,
lives you never touched,
and you're sitting in a recliner with a shriveled soul,
and forgotten dreams, and you realize there was a world of desperate need,
and a great God calling you to be part of something bigger than yourself -
you see the person you could have become but did not;
You never followed your calling.
You never got out of the boat."

You know what you need to do. Don't wait years from now to start on what God has called you to do. It doesn't matter your age or your limitations. God is so much bigger than what you think you can't do. He's so much bigger than your excuses. Take a risk. Take a step. Never have a reason to look back and wish you'd done something.

Friday, July 23, 2010

This accomplished

You will never know what you could have accomplished if you hadn't stepped out. At least while failing you experienced it.

"It's not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena... who, at best, knows in the end the triumph of great achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly. So that his place will never be with those cold timid souls who know neither victory nor defeats" - Theodore Roosevelt.

This learning of stepping out of the boat

The lady's bible study at church is doing this study entitled, "If you want to walk on water, you have to get out of the boat." The book takes a closer look at Jesus and Paul walking on water. It goes deeper than just reading the verses and asking questions that other people know the answers to. This study has captivated me.

It's about trusting God enough to actually get out of the boat.

The New Testamnet is a collection of some amazing things that Jesus did. The one thing that Jesus did those 33 years is walk on water. To me, I just can't picture it. The whole walking on water is big enough for God. He does the impossible. Walking on water sure is impossible. I have to make a confession. I've tried to walk on water. If you watch me after a storm, I like to walk through all of the puddles. And it's not the whole walking on water thing that intrigues me really. It's how unsteady water is. Jesus walked on unsteadiness.

I don't know if you're familiar with the story but if not you can find it in Matthew 14:22-33; Mark 6:45-52. Pretty much, Jesus sends his disciples in a boat ahead of him while he prays. The winds and water is extremely rough. The disciples are afraid of dieing. They're in mortal danger. When Jesus sees how battled the boat is, he goes out to them. When the disciples see him, they are scared. Jesus tells them not to be afraid. Peter says if it's you tell me to come to you. Jesus tells him to come. Peter walks out on the water. Something happens and Peter starts sinking. Jesus reaches down and picks him out of the water. He says something profound and the disciples believe. Jesus and Peter get into the boat and go to land.

Jesus says, "Don't be afraid. It is I."

I don't know about you, but if the storm is strong, the boat swaying, and I see a figure on the water. I'm going to be freaking out. No wonder the disciples thought Jesus was a ghost. They were so focused on the storm; they didn't think beyond it.

I realized from the boat and walking on water thing that the boat symbolizes comfort. It can be comfortable but not safe for you. Not what you need. The walking on water symbolizes growth. Peter choose to get out of his comfort zone and go where Jesus wanted him or where He was. Walking on water isn't something you can do on your own. I've tried walking on water puddles and nothing. Cement is still under my feet and my flip flop become slippery. It's no good. Even when Peter looked away, Jesus still reached out for him. When Peter sunk, he realized Jesus was still there. It takes a God who is paying attention to save you while you're sinking.

It's not easy to trust God, but after awhile you have to choose. You have to do more than just trust yourself. You're going to let yourself down too. And what's going to happen when you do? Only trusting yourself isn't safe. You're in the boat. God's on the water. I know it looking frightening and unclear. I'm there now wondering if I really should be doing this. He just wants you focused on Him. Because before you know'll be walking on water because you stepped out of the boat.

Monday, July 12, 2010

This righteousness

So, I've been trying to wrap my mind around something...righteousness.

I'm sure you've heard it before. Righteousness. I've always known it as living right in the eyes of God. My whole thought on the subject changed when I started listening to a podcast series found on iTunes by Pastor Willie George called "Why Worry." It's a pretty lengthy series but it's so good. When I first started listening, I thought it would be about worrying and why you shouldn' know the normal stuff.

But the series is not the normal stuff, it's about why we worry. It's because we can't accept the righteousness God gave us. Which is problematic. The definition of righteousness says nothing about God giving it to us.


Righteousness according to my Bible's glossary:

The state of being in right relationship with God, particularly through faith in Jesus Christ and obedience to God's Word, a positive evaluation of character, actions and attitudes in relation to God's perfect standard with God's help, doing what is right according to his standard.

Righteousness according to

The quality or state of being righteous

Righteous conduct

The quality or state of being just or rightful.

Righteous is...

characterized by uprightness or morality

morally right or justifiable

acting in an upright, moral way

Is it possible that we define righteousness differently than what God has intended? I'm doing a bible study to figure out what righteousness is as it is displayed in the Bible.

I'll keep you updated.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

This remembering

I've started a new book. Actually it's a book that I started reading when I was home for Christmas, but I wasn't able to finish the whole book. I was literally reading on the way to the airport. You can't take a library book to a different state. It just doesn't work out. :)

I'm reading "Kiss" by Ted Dekker and Erin Healy. Dekker is by far my favorite author. There's something about his writing that just pulls you in and keeps you attached. I'm only on page 135 but it's been great remembering the book. It's about a girl named Shauna who wakes up after six weeks in a coma. She and her brother were involved in a tragic car crash that left her beloved brother half the man he used to be. She wakes up not being able to remember the last six months. Her life is surrounded by people who hate her for the car accident, who hate her for what she did to her brother.

As she tries to remember, she finds herself dreaming of other people's experiences. You'll have to read the book to under that last sentence. But there is a conversation she has with her maid. It is important to note that her maid, Khai, had her daughter taken from her and sold. She's been looking for her ever since. Here it is below:

"Khai shook her head and handed a hot cup of tea to Shauna, then took a seat at the window. "My daughter turns fifteen today, if she is still alive," Khai said. "Sometimes I wonder if I would know her if I saw her. I wonder who she looks like, and what her voice sound like. I wonder if she remembers any impressions of me."

Shauna closed her eyes. She was not in the frame of mind to engage Khai on such an intense topic.

"In a way," Khai said, "she and I don't know each other at all. But there is a part of me that senses we have never stopped knowing each other, that we have never forgotten each other." She nodded, contemplative. "Yes, I'm pretty sure I would know her."

"That's nice."

"Can I tell you a story?"

Shauna let her eyes say yes even though her mind said no.

"When my husband, Chuan, took our daughter away, people told me to forget her. I must get on with my life, they said, there was nothing I could do. Chuan returned to our little house with his dirty money and said we would have more children. He more than anyone wanted me to forget. Forget, forget!

"For a while I considered this. The pain was so deep and so raw. There were days I would have died just to forget. The problem was, I couldn't figure out how to get her out of my mind. How do you kill that kind of pain?"

"If you're going to tell me that my amnesia is a mercy-"

Khai held up her hand. "No. Wait. I had heard of a missionary in our village who was said to help people forget the darkness of their past. Some said he was a miracle worker who knew how to cover up everything terrible that followed you like a shadow. His God could cut it off and replace it with hope. I went to this man thinking he could help me to separate from my shadow."

"Peter Pan magic," Shauna observed.

"Didn't you ever wonder why that boy always wanted his shadow reattached?"

This conversation was baffling Shauna.

"But the missionary was no magician," Khai said. "When I told him and his wife what I wanted, they should have laughed at me, but they didn't. Instead they told me that my past was not something God wanted to amputate. He wanted to cast a new light on it so that it would become useful to him and to others. If I tried to deny that shadow in my life, the truth of it would be useful to no one." pages 130 - 131)

Skipping ahead to not spoil the book.


"You can't possibly miss that kind of pain."

"Even our worst memories are valuable." (page 132)

And more:

"Why have you told me all this?" she (Shauna) asked.

"Because Wayne wants you to forget your pain. You want to forget your pain. I mean to tell you that doing that will only cause you more harm."

"I don't want to forget my pain, Khai. I want to live. Something happened to me that someone else doesn't want me to remember."

"Of course they don't! Listen to me. The only things worth forgetting are the offenses others have caused us. Those will distract you from living. But if someone tells you to forget your own history, you can expect he has his own agenda in mind. His own selfish or his own intolerance for pain. Or something far more harmful."

"I haven't forgotten anything willingly."

"Then you will have to work harder than the average person to hold on to what is true. If you forget, Shauna, your suffering will rule you instead of free you." (page 132-33).

There is always something appealing about forgetting. Even in personal experience, I thought forgetting would help me but the obsession with forgetting only hurt me more because that masked the pain I thought was healing. The only thing that really helped me was remembering. Because remembering causes the pain to be real and when that pain is real, you can move on. It's not an easy journey but it's a journey worth taking. I'd rather never return to the person or place I was four years ago. Sometimes it takes God remembering for you, for you to forgive (not forget) and move on.

I learned that forgetting wasn't healthy. I also learned that always remembering wasn't either. I learned to remember without it taking my breath away. I learned that remembering and telling your friends can actually bind that friendship. The friends I have made at ORU have similar experiences. They understand me. It's nice because I don't have to reintroduce me and all my baggage to them. They already know. Remembering your pain could actually help someone else heal from theirs. Holding back only hurts you. Ted Dekker even says it his book. So it has to be true. :)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Life after graduating...

Life after graduation feels the same it does before you've finished. The only difference is that I'm not as busy and I've just been sitting around doing nothing. hehe Actually, that's not true. I have more breathing time than in the last year.

I'm a college graduate. Weird. I mean, I knew it was going to happen, but it's already passed. It's weird.

I don't feel like I've graduated. It doesn't help that I'm still at school for the summer. I think when I actually find a real job and move into a house with my roommates it'll actually hit me. Just hopefully not too hard.

I've been doing a lot more leisure reading now that I've had the time. I picked up several of Jodi Picoult's books. I've read Tenth Circle and just finished Handle with Care. I have to say I've never read a book that it is as complex as these two. I've never wanted to slap so many characters. Thing I love about this author is that she's not afraid to deal with tough subjects. If you're going to pick up these books, I will say she deals with issues like rape, mental and physical disabilities, eating disorder, and so much more. She's a great writer. She's extremely talents.

Out of the two I've read, Tenth Circle is the best.

Monday, April 12, 2010

This lonely place

One of my really close friends just asked me to come in and talk to her and it seems the scales have just been removed from her eyes.

She's at the point where God has stripped her of all the important things in her life. Many of her friends have left or have seemed to abandoned her. She's been gifted with the ability to act and sing, but she hasn't had any luck getting into showcase or other activities/plays. She told me awhile ago that her friends were pretty much her family. She invests so much into her family and her talents.

With all of these stripped away, she realizes that she has a lot of time alone and she doesn't like it. She decided to look up lonely in the Bible and this verse caught her eye, "Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed" (Luke 5:16). She realized what God has been trying to show her for the last couple years. Her communication with God was dwindled.

I know her story is relevant to all of us. Sometimes we get so caught up in this world and our present troubles that we forget about the One who made the world and us. He just wants us. He needs us.

Jesus went to a quiet place often to talk with God. Sometimes the best thing to do in this world is just to go to our Father and talk to Him. So many of our troubles can be easily taken care of by just going to the Father and letting Him take care of our worrying so that we can think clear. Go to the Father. Use those lonely times for good.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

This me

I feel like, after Empowerment21, that the good parts of the old and the new me have finally met. It's weird to say, but I feel great. Maybe it's because I've been in a three day conference. That a whole lot of Jesus. :) More to come about the conference later.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

This resurrection

As you all know, today is Easter Sunday.

I'm sure you've heard the account of Christ's resurrection every Easter Sunday. Today at church, Doxa, my pastor took a different approach to the resurrection of Christ. Instead of going through the Gospels. Jimmy Shaw, my pastor, does church a little different than most. He preaches first, communion is done every Sunday, worship, and than offering. He also speaks through a book of the Bible.

Anyway, back to the sermon, I'm not sure if he planned it this way, but he taught from Acts 9, Saul's conversion. It fell completely right with the Easter Sunday. I've included the chapter below, so that you understand the context.

I had several revelations at church today (Don't you love when God does that, especially through your pastor. :) It always helps.) The first was that Saul was persecuting Christians as a way to get closer to God. For some reason I hadn't connected the dots that Saul was working for the high priest and that Saul actually believed in GOD! Saul wasn't killing the apostles because he hated them, well maybe he did hate them...he just didn't believe in resurrection of Christ. He believed in God but not the Son.

If you don't know the context, Saul was pretty much killing Christians. In this chapter, Christ confronts him head on, blinding him for several days, and sends Ananias to him to restore Saul's sight. In the end, Saul aka Paul ends up being a full-on-crazy apostle for Christ.

Anyway, when Saul encounters Christ on the road to Damascus, Jesus asks, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?" Notice Saul's response, "Who are you, Lord?" I'm sure Saul was probably freaking out a little but he recognized God.

Now I ask, do we? In the flow of our busy days, do we recognize the sovereign King? Do we see Him in everyone that we meet and everything that we do? I know this isn't in context with what was being said in Acts, but do we?

Further on, as Saul gets his sight back and starts to preach in Damascus and Jerusalem, you notice in verses 20 - 31, that he has no people. The people who he persecuted before his redemption are afraid of him and his previous employers want to kill him. He is a man without a people. All of this change happens only in a matter of days.

And think, Saul's conversion made such an impact on him that he didn't waver from the path he had set on. There's no way to know what Saul was thinking or doing specially during this time, but how would you have responded? Could you take the dramatic change of friends? If you think about it, Saul was a very favored man, in some people's eyes.

Think of when you first become a Christan, could you have dealt with everything Saul went through?

Can you deal with it now?

It wasn't the blinding light or the blindness that changed Saul's mind. It was the resurrection of Christ. Saul's basic change was the fact that he now believed that Jesus was raised from the dead.

It's important to remember that the resurrection isn't a one day thing. If you think about it, the resurrection is what changed Saul.

Has it changed you today?

Acts 9:1-31 NIV (Provided by
Saul's Conversion
1Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord's disciples. He went to the high priest 2and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. 3As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?"

5"Who are you, Lord?" Saul asked.

"I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting," he replied. 6"Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do."

7The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. 8Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. 9For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.

10In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, "Ananias!"
"Yes, Lord," he answered.

11The Lord told him, "Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. 12In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight."

13"Lord," Ananias answered, "I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your saints in Jerusalem. 14And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name."

15But the Lord said to Ananias, "Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel. 16I will show him how much he must suffer for my name."

17Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, "Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit." 18Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul's eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, 19and after taking some food, he regained his strength.

Saul in Damascus and Jerusalem

Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus. 20At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God. 21All those who heard him were astonished and asked, "Isn't he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn't he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?" 22Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Christ.[a]

23After many days had gone by, the Jews conspired to kill him, 24but Saul learned of their plan. Day and night they kept close watch on the city gates in order to kill him. 25But his followers took him by night and lowered him in a basket through an opening in the wall.

26When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple. 27But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus. 28So Saul stayed with them and moved about freely in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord. 29He talked and debated with the Grecian Jews, but they tried to kill him. 30When the brothers learned of this, they took him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus.

31Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace. It was strengthened; and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it grew in numbers, living in the fear of the Lord.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

This child

"but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child. I thought like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me" (1 Corinthians 13: 10 - 11).

I'm no longer a child in my Father's eye.

Oh, how I've grown and developed.
Oh, how I've put childish things behind me.
I realize I'm no longer bitter,
I'm no longer hurting for things done to me.


Freedom comes in like the sun.
It break the chains and
causes the darkness to quiver.
I no longer think like a child.
I've put childish things behind me.

- Saturday, Feb. 28
"but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child. I thought like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me" (1 Corinthians 13: 10 - 11).

I'm no longer a child in my Father's eye.

Oh, how I've grown and developed.
Oh, how I've put childish things behind me.
I realize I'm no longer bitter,
I'm no longer hurting for things done to me.


Freedom comes in like the sun.
It break the chains and
causes the darkness to quiver.
I no longer think like a child.
I've put childish things behind me.

This love

Thursday at Devos, my chaplain, Katie, said something that has stuck with me. She was talking about God's love. She turned the cross into something that we could better understand. She made it personal. She said, "What if Eden had died on the cross for you?" She went on to say, you know Eden, you've lived with her for a year or more. You've seen her character. And she's seen yours. She knows all the bad, good, and great things about you. By making it personal to us, we better understood what Jesus did because she turned the cross to a relationship.

After she explained it fully, I realized no wonder the apostles in Acts were so bold. They knew Jesus, they saw his character, knew everything about him and he knew everything about them - the stuff they hid, the tear they'd cried, the things they wished never happened - and he still died for them. He still died for us. He thought of you when he took every strike. He thought of you when the crown of thrones were shoved into his forehead.

Peter and the apostles were bold in Acts because they knew what had happened, and most importantly, they knew Jesus. Jesus wasn't a religion to them. He was their friend; they had a relationship with him. They were bold because everything they lived for was no longer in this place. They knew this wasn't home and they finally realized how important everything Jesus had said and did.

Monday, February 15, 2010

This sweet surprise

I'm an RA at ORU. It's been a great experience...definitely! :)

But, honestly, there are times where I wish I hadn't signed up. There are numerous things people would be surprised we have to do. The one I've come to not enjoy is confrontation.

You ORU we have a dresscode and it's the RA's job to address any girl who isn't in dresscode. I've had my fair share of mind blogging experiences, but I've never had a girl come up to me and apologize for the way she acted.

I'm sitting desk (another job of RAs :) and this girl who I had tried to confront about dresscode a week or so ago come up and apologized. She just said she was happy I was sitting desk here tonight because she's been feeling terrible for lying to me.

It's these times that I enjoying being an RA. Sure, it can be challenging, mind blogging, and completely sweet at the same time. Tonight's the reason I do what I do, because God worked on her heart. It was a gentle surprise that I enjoyed. I hope you see God smiling on you today. How horrible to go through a day and not see it as a matter how bad...or good. :)


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

This precious promise

"His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises.... For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.... Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall" - 2 Peter 1:3-4,8,10

Thursday, February 4, 2010

This passion

I'm sitting here realizing I don't know what my passion is. I'm a senior in college. I'll be graduating in May. I used to have a passion. I used to write with my entire being. Writing consumed my life. I poured everything into it. I studied. I laughed, cried, and bled writing. I'm a print journalism major, but I've come to realize that I don't even like it.

It's come to the point that the things that intrigued me about my talent and my ability to understand what people needed in media just sickens me. To think that I'm going to be leaving ORU soon with loans for a major that I've come to not enjoy is startling.

I'm not someone who picks up one thing, uses it up, and then dumps it when she's finished with it. I drain the life out of it. I allow that passion to drain the life out of me. And maybe that's where I've come. I've drained myself dry. I know that God allows seasons to come into life all the time, but this is crazy. I'm in my last semester.

As I started writing this, one of the girls on my floor came into my room and I told her this unbelievable revelation that I have been experiencing. I explained that I don't like the process of getting everything together for a story. I love talking to people. I love informing. It's just not my passion. As I was explaining to her how I was feeling. She asked me a question.

What makes you angry?

I spoke before I even thought it through. The cause of abused children makes me angry. The fact that parents, family members, friends, and complete strangers take advantage of them emotionally, verbally, physically, and sexually makes my face blotch and my blood boil. It may have something to do with my personal experience with abuse. Thankfully I've been blessed and protected from the worst, but I know the impact that kind of imprisonment can have on an individual, and it's not pretty.

I realized that what I want to do I haven't even heard of. I know graduating with a print journalism major is what I'm supposed to do. God made that SUPER clear. It's just I don't see the roads connecting. I feel like I'm off skipping in some meadow, forgetting life.

Honestly, I want to be involved in missions. I want to get involved with various organizations. I want to do what they do, walk in their shoes, talk to the people they help, sit down and talk to the minds that kept the organization running and than I want to walk away with the information. I want to return and tell the people who support them the things that I discovered. As the girl said, review that organization. I've always heard people say "well, I don't know if I can support that charity/organization/church because I don't know if I can trust them with my time/money/children/whatever."

And to me, that's sad. It's sad, but it's so true. And this is where I've fallen. I thought I was walking from these 3 1/2 years of an extremely wintry time in my life, but I'm still trying to figure out the snowshoes I have on.

It's annoying. Irritating. And it feels really good to get all this bottled up crap off my chest.